By Cass Chapman, the founder and editor of luxury family travel website, www.kodomo.com
As the years roll by, despite travelling more and more, my endless wish list of places I want to visit grows ever longer. New, sensational hotels and villas continue to open the world over, lots introduce new programs that sound
heavenly with children and, despite being lucky enough to continuously tick places off my travel bucket list, my sense of wanderlust only grows. And this summer is no exception. If money were no object (and hotels weren’t, as is now often the case, fully booked), I know exactly where I would be packing up my family and going.
The Nam Hai in Vietnam
The five-star Nam Hai is spread over 35 hectares of tropical gardens along the pristine shoreline of Ha My Beach, Hoi An. Catering to every imaginable need, one will rest very well in any of the 60 one-bedroom villas and 40 pool villas on site. The bathrooms boast outdoor rain showers, sea views and private butlers so there is literally no need to lift a finger during the entire stay. And while parents are unwinding in style at the spa, children are just as well taken care of. The hotel boasts a dedicated ‘Kids’ activity villa’ in which they can enjoy everything from Hoi An lantern making to Vietnamese lessons, conical hat painting to coconut leaf art, shell art and sand picture making, yoga, and boat racing or excursions off resort. And if children are demonstrating green fingers, they will love the hotel’s herb garden where they are provided with a hat, apron and gardening tools to get stuck in themselves. (Staff are, of course, available to offer guidance on how to plant herbs and vegetables). Divided into two age groups (4-6 and 7-12 years of age), children are entertained by English-speaking child carers so, while they are busy playing, parents can get on with doing absolutely nothing in, arguably, one of the most beautiful parts of the planet…
The Viceroy Anguilla
Heading to the other side of the world, specifically to Anguilla in the Caribbean, you’ll find the Viceory Anguilla which is another property giving as much thought to its young guests as their parents. After flying into St. Martin, guests hop to the island of Anguilla by either a small plane or boat. This might sound like an unbearable trek with children on board, but I would absolutely endure the long haul flight for the gem that awaits the other side. Spread out over the 3,200 feet of soft, powdery beachfront and bluff-top cliffs on Meads and Barnes Bay, Anguilla has fabulous snorkeling spots, no less than 33 beaches to explore and even boasts a swim-through grotto between the bays with phosphorescent fish and coral. The five star villas are all beachfront and come with a private butler, which makes it worth the flight time from my perspective, while Lola would adore the fabulous kids’ club called ‘Generation V.’ And this summer the hotel is showcasing some wonderful evenings, such as the family beach BBQs and the Bamboo family night (fresh pizza, warm milk for the kids and cocktails for the parents in front of a movie). And bigger kids lucky enough to be there in July will love the basketball camp being hosted by Chicago Bulls NBA player, Carlos Boozer on the hotel’s NBA court. The camp will be free for Anguilla’s resident kids but will be open to children staying at the hotel for a daily donation of $100. This can be paid using their offer ‘Summer Give Back, Daily $100 Resort Credit’. All proceeds will go to the Anguilla Youth Foundation.
The Grand Hotel Tremezzo in Lake Como
Thinking a little closer to home, I have always adored Lake Como and The Grand Hotel Tremezzo has to be one of the most decedent and historic hotels on those stunning shores. One of the oldest hotels on Lake Como, this Art Nouveau classic offers unrivalled views of Bellagio and the Grigne mountains. It was recently reopened after renovation works and it’s better looking than ever. Despite the cascading luxury and decadence, the thought put into families is immense and it’s extremely welcoming of even the smallest guests. Vast, peaceful and very much in their own Tremazzo oasis, the hotel’s two largest family rooms are made up of two apartments with two bedrooms each and a double bathroom so there is more than enough room for everyone, no matter how many of you there are. These family rooms are located on the upper floor of Villa Emilia, which is adjacent, though directly connected, to the hotel; the Villa Emilia’s ground floor hosts the “T Kids” recreation area and TV room. There are no less than three pools, though a swim in the lake itself is a must.
The Pig near Bath
If you’re keen to avoid plane travel (and, let’s face it, with lovely weather this summer there can be no finer place to be than England), then the opening of The Pig hotel near Bath is a fabulous option. Having resolutely redefined the definition of a classic country house hotel, the Pig is beautifully designed, serves fabulous food (we’re talking garden to table in the most literal sense) and is extremely welcoming of families. The up-to-date and effortlessly cool way in which The Pig has redefined the classic English country house hotel is a breath of fresh air. The rooms are stunning with a wonderful mix of silky smooth wooden floors, beds that you have to tear yourself out of and sweeping bathrooms. The hotel garden is the spot from which anything green on your plate will have grown, though everything is sourced from within a 25 mile radius of the property so low in food miles for those conscious of the food’s footprint. The adjacent deer park is a delightful spot for an afternoon wander and the resident pigs will thrill children. Whether you visit for a long weekend or a serious stay, you’ll leave more than well rested, not to mention well fed.
Daios Cove comes up time and again as a leading resort with kids when you want some seriously luxurious touches and it thinks of everything whether you travel with tiny babies or teens. With over 300 rooms, suites and villas, this fantastic resort is set against a rugged mountain backdrop with views over a sheltered, private bay on the island of Crete. The decor is a gorgeous blend of glass, natural stone and handcrafted furnishings and the two and three bedroom villas, each with their own pool, are perfectly sized for the family. Features such as safety fences around the pool and temperature-controlled water make them ideal choices for a stay with babies and small children and this is an excellent option if travelling abroad for the first time with a small baby, as you only really need to pack your clothes. All the essentials such as pushchairs, stair gates, highchairs, potties, bottle warmers and baby phones are provided. The hotel’s highlights for adults include weekly yoga and pilates classes and there is a resident watersports instructor on-hand. Babysitters are bookable if you fancy a night off or, if you want to dine as a family, the extensive kid’s menus in each of the resort’s three restaurants will delight even the fussiest of young eaters. A comprehensive kid’s club means tots from just four months are entertained with age-appropriate activities. There’s a fantastic outdoor playground, organised pool games and tons of beach toys for the children to use. There’s even a teen gaming room for older children. This place literally ticks every single box.