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Worldwide Resorts for Families
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Whether it’s the need for complete escapism from life back home, or just some down time at the end of a touring holiday, we check out the resorts around the globe that have that all important family wow factor.
Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru, Maldives
The name Four Seasons conjures up a whole world of luxury, and with its Maldivian location in the unspoiled waters of the Baa Atoll UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, Landaa Giraavaru is no exception. The remote jungle wilderness is straight from the pages of Robinson Crusoe, with lush tropical forests, tiny uninhabited beaches and dive sites that yield incredible varieties of undersea creatures. The island was practically designed for little explorers, with lagoon diving courses and interactive conservation activities to keep intrepid children occupied as part of the Passport to Adventure programme, featuring eight complimentary daily activities. For those who like to travel light the Four Seasons will also furnish your room with all the essentials – from strollers to baby monitors – to ensure that your stay is as comfortable as possible.
One&Only Le St Geran, Mauritius
There’s so much complimentary technology available in Le St Geran’s ample suites you’ll have a difficulty prising kids out of the room: multimedia entertainment systems, satellite television, super quick Wi-Fi and PlayStations are the norm. Outside the rooms, however, they’ll find mountain bikes, guided kayak tours of the lagoon, tennis, pedalos, water skiing, windsurfing, sailing, a games room and special snacks and drinks around the pool. Taking part in the Kids Only Club means they’ll get their own special backpack, with a holiday photo album to take home so they’ll have mementos to look back on before they’ve even left.
The thought of dropping oneself on a far-flung tropical island is usually quite appealing to most adults, but to children the idea of being marooned for a week or two is often met with trepidation. Not so at Niyama. At just a 40 minute flight from Male transfer time is minimal, and there are nine restaurants and bars to keep all ages entertained, from elegant overwater dining at Edge to outdoor grills and traditional Argentian asado at Tribal. There are 11 different accommodation options depending on the size of your brood and a ridiculous number of activities to choose from: the children’s club alone offers jungle safaris, circus days, beach cricket, cooking classes and its own amphitheatre for budding thespians. It’s no wonder there’s a nap room for daytime siestas – they’ll be exhausted.
Carlisle Bay, Antigua
It’s possible that the claim that Antigua has a beach for every day of the year contains a grain of poetic licence, but Carlisle Bay is situated on what is certainly one of the island’s finest beaches, swathing around a picturesque bay on the unspoiled south coast. The family friendly Beach and Carlisle Suites ooze cool, contemporary style with terraces or balconies overlooking the sea for that little bit of extra space. The Cool Kids Club is open seven days a week for little ones as young as six months, with activities as varied as lizard hunting to arts and crafts. There’s even a 45-seat screening room which shows movies every day, perfect for when the sun, sea and sand has worn them out.
Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort, Saint Lucia
Saint Lucia’s idyllic landscapes have long attracted families, but Sugar Beach is one of the best family properties on the island. There’s an excellent children’s club, which includes a huge range of activities from treasures to archery and coconut bowling, plus the Spice Club which is dedicated to entertaining older children with everything from watersports to table tennis and a sailing club, using the resort’s own fleet of Laser Pico sailboats. Away from the hotel Saint Lucia has many treasures to reveal on hiking excursions through the forests, while cultural tours of the island include visits to chocolate plantations or the charming capital, Soufriere.
Banyan Tree, Phuket, Thailand
Phuket is a riot of colour – emerald green bands of jungle, exotic flowers in every colour imaginable and a great expanse of sparkling cerulean ocean that’s jam packed with exciting marine life. Banyan Tree Phuket is rather like a technicolour cartoon brought to life, with starring roles provided by elephants and their mahouts on trekking adventures through the jungle – an experience not to be missed – or the resident wildlife living in the lagoon which can be spotted on a kayaking adventure. Dining can be taken in-villa, where the chef can whip up a mouth-watering outdoor barbecue for everyone to enjoy.
Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort-Al Waha, Oman
The aptly named Al Waha, meaning ‘oasis’, boasts swaying green palms and a patchwork of azure, freeform pools juxtaposed against the dramatic backdrop of parched mountains. Nestled in one corner of the Shangri-La’s secluded bay, Al Waha offers an enviable selection of activities to suit children of all ages. Youngsters will revel in the air conditioned Cool Zone and older children will gleefully tire themselves out at the Adventure Zone or trying one of the many water sports possible in the sheltered turquoise waters. A float on the lazy river is the inevitable conclusion to a day’s exertions, and as Oman’s only true family hotel, with all the additional benefits of the adjacent Al Bandar and its exceptional selection of restaurants, nobody will be left wanting.
The Mulia, Mulia Resort & Villas-Nusa Dua, Bali
Nusa Dua, an exclusive enclave of five-star resorts close to Bali’s provincial capital, Denpasar, is home to the Mulia Resort, set on one of the loveliest (not to mention safest) beaches in Indonesia. The villas are huge – perfect for extended families of different ages and even better for older children as they’re a little more spread out than other family properties. There’s an enormously diverse range of dining options, from traditional Cantonese and Szechuan to French pastries and High Tea, so adventurous palates are well catered to, as well as the usual International fare for fussy eaters.
Tivoli Eco-Resort, Bahia, Brazil
The 12km stretch of Bahia’s Coconut Coast is home to Tivoli Eco- Resort, not to mention a scattered coastline of deserted beaches, coconut groves and natural sea pools. It’s a riot of blues, greens and golds, shining with the colours of the Brazilian flag, and kids will adore the eight swimming pools that shimmer under the warming rays. There’s a whole wealth of activities to get involved in, from watersports to football, beach volleyball to environmental workshops and a sea turtle project that includes a trip to an ice cream parlour – what’s not to love? Adults will appreciate the onsite cachaça club, where you can sample the local firewater in a traditional caipirinha cocktail.
Rosewood Mayakoba, Riviera Maya, Mexico
A serene oasis set in the middle of a dewy emerald jungle, surrounded by a mile of soft white sands, at first glance the Rosewood Mayakoba is a grown-ups’ paradise on the stunningly beautiful Riviera Maya. And indeed it is: 650 acres of luxury accommodation nestled in a tropical utopia that beckons guests to unwind in private plunge pools, recline on spacious sun decks and sample the freshest local food. But dig a little deeper and you’ll find a host of activities to enthral youngsters, from snorkelling, cave swimming and discovering ancient civilizations, kids’ yoga, cooking classes and themed nights from pyjama parties to Mayan celebrations and educational trips with a biologist to learn about the resident flora and fauna.