Bring the whole family on a stylish getaway to some of the world’s most luxurious resorts. More and more properties are offering experiences revolving around families, from engaging children’s programming to exciting and unique adventures the entire family can come together and enjoy.
We cover 10 luxury properties and unique experiences that match your style when creating perfect family moments!
Family vacations don’t have to be just about the kids – mom and dad need to spread their wings, too! Rather than spending those carefully calculated and synchronised vacation days at a theme park or a zoo, bring the whole family on a stylish getaway to some of the world’s most luxurious resorts. More and more properties are offering experiences revolving around families, from engaging children’s programming to exciting and unique adventures the entire family can come together and enjoy. Consider some of these destinations and properties when you’re planning your next multi generational holiday to spend some quality time together. Grab the kids and bring the grandparents – and build memories to last a lifetime at these impressive spots.
WHERE TO GO: BAHAMAS
There’s nothing better than a beach vacation for the ultimate in relaxation. But there’s a lot more to the Bahamas than just soft white sand and sparkling turquoise waters. At this island paradise, your family can enjoy nature tours, afternoons on horseback, make friends with marine life, and explore some of the interesting sites scattered around the island.
At the Bahamian Heritage Centre, kids can learn more about the island’s culture while grandparents can reconnect with their own histories, browsing through some of the centuries-old artefacts on display. Stingray City gives everyone the chance to experience a first-hand encounter with rays – swimming, snorkelling, feeding, and more amongst these gentle giants. Or, get active at the Lucayan National Park with a kayak journey through an inland reef and a guided walk through the park’s caves.
WHERE TO STAY: ONE&ONLY OCEAN CLUB BAHAMAS • Inspired by the intricate gardens of Versailles, this beautiful estate has a rich history dating back to the 1930s. Today, the European-style property offers abundant entertainment for the whole family – diving, snorkelling, tennis, golf, and even complimentary bicycles for a little island exploration – and One&Only’s family package allows parents to customise the perfect multi-generational holiday.
Experience the Caribbean waters with a cruise on a luxury yacht sans the pirates or an expedition on a deep-sea fishing charter. The resort offers half-day to overnight trips where your family can explore the breathtaking reefs, cays, and coves that surround the island – and, if you’re lucky, catch an amberjack or a blue marlin. And, when you’re not off on a group adventure, the KidsOnly Club will keep kids aged four to 12 engaged all day long.
The elegant beachfront suites, with traditional Bahamian décor that inspires calm and relaxation, feature private patios where the family can enjoy some peace and quiet while taking in the spectacular view. Two-bedroom luxury suites provide all the comforts of home – steps away from a white sand beach.
WHERE TO GO: TURKEY
For an enriching experience, there’s no better place to go than Turkey. Your kids won’t even realise how much they’re learning as you explore the fascinating history and rich culture that can be found throughout the Turkish Mediterranean. From the Great Theatre of Ephesus to the underground cave cities of Cappadocia, there is plenty to discover – or, oat above this spectacular landscape in a hot air balloon.
Even with an extensive list of places to see and activities to indulge in, Turkey is also the perfect destination for a relaxing, laid back family holiday. With plenty of beaches, pools, and waterfalls, kids can splash to their hearts’ content, and grandparents will love the fresh air – fragrant with a blend of wild herbs, jasmine, and fresh citrus. Turkey is an extraordinary destination with glorious landscapes – even the Romans were compelled to create another capital here.
WHERE TO STAY: MANDARIN ORIENTAL BODRUM • Nestled in the idyllic and private Paradise Bay, in an area known as the ‘St. Tropez of Turkey,” this luxury five-star retreat caters to the whole family. Despite its size, the Mandarin Oriental provides unmatched privacy – in fact, you might even miss that you’re in a hotel. Despite a relaxed, easy-going atmosphere that kids will love, the resort is elegant enough for older guests to appreciate its sophistication.
More adventurous families can take advantage of the resort’s exclusive water sports centre, or even jet off on a helicopter tour of the Turkish coastline to explore the area’s majestic ruins and landscape. The resort’s catered lunch or candlelit dinner makes this multi-generational family experience even more memorable.
The resort’s babysitting services come in handy when it’s time to slip out at dusk and enjoy Bodrum’s legendary nightlife. A five-minute trip through the sea on a water taxi will get you to the upscale bars and fine dining of the nearby town of Türkbükü, where you can sample distinctive cocktails or soak up some live jazz before heading back to your secluded suite.
WHERE TO GO: INDONESIA
There’s plenty of adventure and fun to be had in family friendly Indonesia with regions like Bali, Java, Kalimantan or Riau all beautiful and all vying for attention. Over the years, as Bali has come to life as an independent international destination of choice, an epic family adventure here is much easier to plan. Don’t let the size of the island on the map give any pre-set notions of limited options. The island is diverse, and each district comes with its own flavours and energy. You’ll be able to get your adrenaline pumping the second you land in Bali and start exploring this incredible island. Bali Treetop Adventure Park at the Bali Botanic Garden has age-appropriate circuits where adults and kids aged four and up can zip through the canopies, up to 20 meters above the ground. Or, search for hidden treasure at Pirates Bay – kids can play in tree houses and even a replica of a pirate ship while the older generations of the family enjoy a great meal.
When you’ve had your full of excitement, head to the Pondok Pekak Library & Learning Centre in Ubud to learn about Balinese culture through interactive workshops – traditional dance, song circles, gamelan playing, and more. For the water babies, snorkelling or scuba diving in the Pemuteran Bay is a treat. Here is a hint – there are colourful fishes playing hide n seek amongst submerged statues inviting to be explored.
WHERE TO STAY: NIHI SUMBA ISLAND • Enjoy the Indonesian experience of a lifetime with a stay at this rugged, luxurious resort. Customized itineraries ensure that each member of your family has fun to their heart’s content, with activities ranging from sur ng to horseback riding.
Here, you’ll learn more about the unique island culture thanks to a friendly, welcoming, and predominantly Sumbanese staff. Bring the family on a tailored spa safari, which takes you right through a traditional Sumbanese village where you can meet the locals and purchase handmade crafts.
At the end of a busy day on this tropical paradise, relish the feeling of soft sand beneath your feet as your family reconnects over dinner at the relaxed, open-air Ombak (wave front) restaurant and bar. Then, unwind at the luxurious and family- friendly Mamole Tree House, which sits on stilts surrounded by ancient trees and features an elegant yet traditional Sumbanese décor. Kids will love the villa’s whimsical environment, while parents and grandparents will enjoy its privacy and spacious design.
WHERE TO GO: TANZANIA
This destination might seem ’out there’, especially for families with kids – but a trek to Tanzania with the ‘herd’ in tow offers a rewarding family experience. With spectacular wildlife, beautiful scenery, relaxing beaches, friendly locals, and consistently near-perfect weather, there’s no better place to build memories that will last a lifetime.
The animal-spotting in Tanzania is second-to-none. In sub-Saharan Africa, you’re almost guaranteed to see giraffes, elephants, and even lions. Wildlife reserves like Saadani National Park, Arusha National Park, and Ngorongoro Crater provide plenty of opportunities to spot animals roaming free on the open savanna, always a thrilling experience for all ages.
WHERE TO STAY: FOUR SEASONS SAFARI LODGE SERENGETI • If the need is to stay in a traditional safari lodge but with comforts that are closer to home, the Four Seasons Serengeti offers a sanctuary of familiar pleasures – allowing you to feel safe and pampered at the same time, while the family soaks in the thrill that is African wildlife. In fact, you can watch animals cooling off at the adjacent watering hole from the lodge’s exquisite infinity pool.
The family can venture out to explore the raw savannah wilderness with a game drive, hot air balloon safari, or a picnic in the bush – and return to unwind at the resort. Under the watchful eyes of the Maasai, the Kijana Klub gives kids the chance to create their own beaded jewellery, learn about tribal traditions, and even use remote camera traps to capture night-time photos of leopards and other elusive African wildlife.
WHERE TO GO: PORTUGAL
The mild year-round climate of Algarve makes this southern edge of Portugal ideal for a fun-filled family vacation. There’s a lot more to this beautiful destination than just beaches and water sports. Build connections with your loved ones and with nature while exploring the Portuguese coast, and some of the region’s most fascinating cities.
To experience the natural beauty of the Algarve’s North Atlantic coast, take the family on a cruise to sail with the dolphins, or explore the transition of water to land at Ria Formosa Natural Park by jeep. The region’s coast is home to stories of past exploits, sailors of ages gone by navigating the might oceans by stars and bringing in fortunes from the corners of the globe.
Portugal also offers plenty of thrills – theme parks, mini-golf, go-karts, delivering the much-needed adrenaline rush for the young at heart. A light version of a trek at Parque da Mina, a period set mining town themed park, is unique and bound to raise the curiosity level amongst the kids.
WHERE TO STAY: MARTINHAL BEACH RESORT & HOTEL • In one of Algarve’s least developed regions, a good thing, the Martinhal Sagres embodies a charming, informal atmosphere – but with stylishly designed villas that feel more like a vacation home than a hotel room. Complete with thoughtful family-friendly details, their villas are a comfortable escape for all ages. With the sand and sea within sight and open pools that signal splash-time, the mind goes to holiday-mode fairly quickly here.
The open sea invites the entire family to sail along the coast of Sagres for an impressive view of the spectacular landscape – and maybe even catch a glimpse of some of Portugal’s local marine life. Then, take to the skies with a VIP helicopter tour or a memorable hot air balloon ride over the rolling hills of the Algarve.
The menus at the resort are authentic and fresh, but still offer something for even the pickiest little eaters. With fresh seafood beautifully presented alongside high- quality, local produce, Martinhal is the perfect destination for families looking to appreciate the delicious local cuisine – all prepared using traditional methods. Meals are also served with wines from the region’s vineyards, which parents can savour while the kids play on the nearby trampoline.
WHERE TO GO: COLORADO, USA
The United States spoils one for choice when it comes to outdoor activities, and there’s no better destination than Colorado to get the ball rolling. With four stunning national parks, this state offers some of the most breathtaking scenery anywhere on earth.
Parents and grandparents can soak in the world’s largest natural mineral spa at Glenwood Hot Springs while the kids have a blast on the waterslides. Or, get everyone out for some thrills at a theme park, like Elitch Gardens, Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, or Heritage Square. There are museums, hiking trails and dude ranches – as well as fantastic resorts for the ultimate family ski trip. Kids can pick up Junior Ranger activity booklets at each visitor centre to make their exploration a little more exciting.
WHERE TO STAY: RITZ-CARLTON BACHELOR GULCH • Just two hours from Denver in the quaint mountain village of Beaver Creek, the Ritz-Carlton’s luxury lodge evokes the spirit of the American west – but in the atmosphere of a five-star resort. Here, families can enjoy unmatched ski-in, ski-out access to Beaver Creek Mountain, as well as a high-speed chairlift to bring you high into the mountain peaks. The hotel even provides a photography concierge, to capture your holiday memories.
When you’ve had enough of the powder for one day, head inside to warm up by the re before retreating to your elegant suite, where the kids can spend the night in a luxury tee-pee. Recharge with a private “Peaceful Practice” excursion that the whole family will love – a guided hike through the mountain wilderness followed by kid-friendly yoga, complete with fun animal poses.
The Ritz Kids club keeps the young ones engaged while the grown ups check out some of the hands-on craft workshops, like Lager and Leather working. Travel back in time to the Wild West as you indulge in a flight of Colorado microbrews and learn to stamp leather.
WHERE TO GO: AUSTRIA
The Austrian Alps provide another ideal destination for a family ski vacation – but this spectacular landscape is a great place to visit any time of year. The crisp mountain air, jaw-dropping views, and maybe even a little adventure makes Austria an all-season holiday destination for the family.
The Tyrol region is home to theme parks, more than 30 lakes and hot springs, and a variety of wildlife parks. The grandparents might be more interested in the area’s heritage, with an excursion to the preserved castles that dot the countryside. Winter sees families enjoying more than 3,000km of expertly groomed mountain slopes complete with state-of-the-art lifts and cable car systems.
WHERE TO STAY: SPA-HOTEL JAGDHOF • This traditional five-star hotel features the same rustic ambience you’ll find throughout Tyrol, but includes many luxuries exclusive to guests – an award-winning spa, well-stocked wine cellar, cuisine showcasing locally-sourced ingredients, and friendly, attentive service.
Family holidays are a hallmark of this resort, and particular attention is paid to ensure that even the littlest guests are entertained and enjoying themselves. The Stubai Valley is home to spectacular snowy peaks, clear mountain lakes, and plenty of ice – and your family can explore the glacier with a hike through this incredible landscape. You might even spot some traditional Alpine huts along the way.
During Christmas, you’ll be treated to an extra-special holiday: with gently falling snow, cosy decorations, and the aroma of fresh gingerbread, Spa-Hotel Jagdhof invites guests to celebrate local traditions through a festive family experience. Sip on mulled wine and guide the kids through an enchanting Christmas market before strolling to the village square for some festive carolling – building magical family memories along the way.
WHERE TO GO: GREECE
Only a short distance from Athens, the Peloponnese coast is one of the most popular tourist destinations on the Greek mainland – all year long. Visitors of all ages will love visiting some of the most important archaeological sites this historic country has to offer, like Olympia, Mycenae, and Epidaurus.
The beaches here are second to none, with sea surrounding the region on almost all sides. Many of these beach towns boast a spectacular medieval heritage, with impressive architecture that makes for a nice change of pace compared to more traditional seaside hotspots. With sandy coves, crystal water, and limited tourist facilities, the Peloponnese coast is the perfect destination for a relaxing family holiday.
WHERE TO STAY: THE ROMANOS • Immerse your family in traditional Greek architecture – marble, mosaic tiles, and traditional white columns – while you enjoy the many luxuries of this exceptional resort, including two signature golf courses, authentic cultural experiences, adventurous leisure activities, and more, set against the spectacular backdrop of the Ionian Sea.
Each generation of your family will love teaming up with local Messinia women to prepare traditional Greek dishes – learning recipes you’ll be able to create again and again back at home as you relive this authentic experience. With the “Messinia Wild Experience,” your little ones won’t even notice how much they’re learning as an experienced handler helps them interact with local birds of prey. It’s the perfect opportunity for the whole family to nd out more about the stunning Peloponnese coast – and the people and creatures that call it home.
Then, breathe in the sea air aboard one of the resort’s exclusive yachts. Accompanied by an experienced crew, the whole family can head out for an afternoon cruise or spend a couple of days discovering the secrets hidden beneath the ancient sea’s sparkling waters – surrounded by understated Greek luxury.
WHERE TO GO: UNITED KINGDOM
A family vacation in the UK is certainly most enjoyable during the summer months, in particular for families who hope to take advantage of the open countryside and outdoor activities offered in the Hampshire area. Traditionally, this region has been enjoyed as a short-break holiday spot for locals, but there’s enough to keep families entertained here for longer stays.
With the grandparents and the kids in tow, visit some of the many historic sites and museums located in this area – including the Royal Naval Museum
in Portsmouth, Porchester Castle, the Intech Science Centre in Winchester, Milestones in Basingstoke, and Manor Farm Country Park near Southampton. For nature lovers, the New Forest National Park provides 600 square kilometres of beautiful woodland, and is especially spectacular in the autumn.
WHERE TO STAY: CHEWTON GLEN • For an authentic experience in the English countryside, treat the family to a stay at this impressive manor, a property that expertly enhances classic elegance with touches of contemporary luxury. Despite this resort’s sophisticated atmosphere, children are warmly welcomed – in fact, kids stay free during school holidays.
Guests of all ages will delight in the spectacular treehouse suites, which offer a private hot tub where mom and dad can indulge while the kids hide out in their secret loft bunk room. From your private getaway in the sky, you’ll enjoy panoramic views of the canopies and under- oor heating to keep the treehouse cosy through the cool forest nights.
The landscaped gardens of Chewton Glen provide an ideal venue to try out traditional English country pursuits, like archery, croquet, or falconry. The area is also the birth place of the noble sport of fly fishing, and with the help of the resort’s fishing guide, you might just snag yourself an Atlantic salmon.
WHERE TO GO: FINLAND
Give your kids the most magical Christmas vacation imaginable with a trip to Finland, a winter wonderland that will encourage your family to build unforgettable holiday memories – complete with elves, reindeer, and even Santa Claus himself.
A surreal sleigh ride will take families gliding through the heavy snow, and with the Northern Lights sparkling overhead, you’ll feel like you’re about to take flight. After the ride, be sure to give your reindeer guides a little snack as a thank you. Use another large carrot to decorate a life-sized snowman with the family, and watch the kids zip down speedy ice slides.
Warm up with a hot chocolate or cider at the Christmas markets that can be found in cities and towns all over Finland, enhancing the festive atmosphere and providing a unique experience all on their own.
WHERE TO STAY: ARCTIC TREEHOUSE HOTEL • Experience SantaPark and the Arctic Circle in unrivalled luxury at the Arctic Treehouse Hotel – the perfect place to call home while your family indulges in Christmas spirit and endless winter fun. The modern suites offer stunning views over the snowy treetops, and feature cosy interiors that blend Lappish heritage with contemporary Scandinavian design.
After you’ve taken the kids to meet jolly old St. Nick and experienced the magic that is Santa Claus Village, ride the Santa Express bus to the winter capital of Lapland, Rovaniemi, to get a better appreciation of Lappish culture and life in the Arctic.
Or, let the family experience it first-hand by exploring the forests around the resort on a husky safari. You’ll be able to drive your own dog sledge through the Lappish wilderness, admiring the view from this unique ride. The kids will love the enthusiastic dogs, and you’ll be able to experience the thrill of successfully mushing a team of fluffy huskies. ◼
© This article was first published in Aug-Sept 2017 edition of World Travel Magazine.
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