Not something we can all stretch to all of the time, luxury family holidays may be a once-in-a-lifetime splurge – which makes it all the more important to consider your options carefully and choose wisely. The past few years has seen an explosion in the number of luxury resorts and hotels catering to the lucrative family market. Definitions of luxury vary widely, but at the top of the pile you might be able to surprise your kids with your own private stretch of beach or a villa on stilts over the ocean, and to enjoy daily maid service. Many places offer the likes of in-room Playstations, kids’ pools, playgrounds and screening rooms.
Resorts tend to be preferable since you’ll generally want to use some degree of childcare to take advantage of adult offerings such as spas, sports facilities and swanky restaurants. Good establishments have officially accredited childcare with English-speaking staff.
Investigate whether a hotel really is family-friendly. Many advertise themselves as such while also catering to wedding parties and honeymooners, and if so you may feel awkward having kids with you. Or the décor may be so chi chi, you’ll be worried about causing damage. Read widely across review sites for other parents’ experiences.
Check childcare hours and age limits to ensure it’s adequate to your needs, and establish if it needs to be booked at the time of your trip, to avoid disappointment. Find out if there is evening baby-listening or babysitting. If you bring a baby monitor, don’t rely on a standard model – Bébétel, which works via mobiles and landlines, is a surefire option.
Doublecheck what’s available in-resort. You can normally travel light since most practicalities will be taken care of, but if specific products such as nappies or formula are needed, you need to bring or have them delivered by a company such as Bebebel.
Before booking a family room, consider whether you really are happy to share space for a week or two. Interconnecting rooms or a suite with some kind of partition tend to be more successful, or go for broke with a luxury in-resort villa allowing greater space and freedom.
If you’re hoping to eat alone in the evenings, or if the hotel restaurant looks too formal for your kids, find out about children’s eating arrangements such as high teas, early suppers or room service.
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