Kodomo.com was recently launched by freelance luxury travel and food journalist, Cass Chapman. Created with the specific aim of providing parents well-researched recommendations on where to eat, stay and play across the world with children in tow, kodomo.com means you need not forego the luxury and pampering you’re accustomed to just because you are travelling with little ones.
Kodomo.com gives you specific information on everything from spa hotels to ski weekends, Italian villas to Sydney hotspots, and all with family-friendly facilities in mind. Cass Chapman gives us her top five destinations for the upcoming winter holidays.
CLOSE TO HOME
Bovey Castle, Devon
Nestled in the gorgeous Devon countryside is the luxurious and very family-friendly Bovey Castle. If you’re travelling with a large family, the three en-suite bedroom country lodges on the 4000-acre grounds of the castle are ideal, offering privacy with enough room for high-energy tots to run around freely. All housekeeping services are available, just as they are in the main house, and the self-catering lodges sleep up to eight people. (If you don’t fancy coking, however, there is a full lodge service menu so you can order whatever you want, at any time, and it’ll be delivered just like room service).
The SUNDARI spa is fabulous and offers almost every treatment imaginable. Golf-lovers will adore the 18-hole championship golf course while outdoor-loving parents can throw themselves into almost every activity imaginable, from hot air ballooning to falconry and cider or sloe-gin making. Little Lego lovers will be thrilled by the LEGO Room Service on offer. Literally, everything from DUPLO to LEGO Star Wars is delivered in-room. Bovey Rangers’ for 7 -14 year olds is incredibly well curated and includes photo orienteering, apple pressing, archery and hands-on sessions with reptiles and owls, all under the watchful eye of supervised event-leaders. Little ones aged from 3 – 7 have the Bovey Castle Playroom available for their enjoyment, which is loaded with dressing-up boxes, painting materials, books and even baking facilities.
A EUROPEAN VACATION
Le Meurice, Paris
Le Meurice in Paris is known as ‘The Hotel of Kings,’ and with good reason. This globally renound five-star hotel is ideally situated on the stunning Rue de Rivoli in the 1st Arrondissement, between the Concord and the Louvre, just opposite the beautiful Tuileries gardens so there is plenty, both inside and outside the hotel walls, to keep guests happy, no matter what their age.
Weary parents can happily unwind in the hotel’s Spa Valmont, or enjoy a lavish afternoon tea in Le Dali. Foodies need not look far as the hotel has a three Michelin-starred restaurant. Smaller guests are welcomed with their own personal child-sized robes and slippers and complementary cookies.
A treasure hunt is organized within the hotel and, should you visit again during warmer months, you’ll have access to a wooden boat to sail in the pond at the Tuileries. The hotel also offers child guests a special passport to take with them on their visit of Paris, as well as two tickets to ride the legendary Carousel at the Tuileries.
The Niseko Company, Hokkaido, Japan
Japan may not immediately jump out as a skiing destination but there are some amazing slopes to explore, should you be open to a long-haul flight. Hokkaido is well loved by those in the know as a superior Asian skiing destination. Niseko is the name given to a group of village ski resorts clustered around the base of Mount Niseko Annupuri, on Hokkaido, Japan’s north island.
Most slopes have a view across to Mount Yotei and the conditions are considered close to perfect for some serious slope action. Hirafu is the most vibrant of the three villages and has a delectable range of Japanese and international restaurants.
The Niseko Company has several smart chalets and apartments in the village, which range from traditional to minimalist in design. Now, the accommodation may be self-catering, but that doesn’t mean you have to lift a finger. A team of concierges will happily arrange every minute of your day should you so desire, from ski schools, pottery classes and snow-mobile rides, to Japanese cookery lessons and tours of local Onsen (hot spring baths). A personal chef can prepare every meal, all served lovingly onto Snoopy dining sets for the young ones.
Welcome packs for kids are handpicked by local mothers and the majority of homes are stocked with board games, family DVDs, toboggans and the latest videogame consoles so, should the skiing not knock children out at night, there is plenty to keep them occupied without a consideration for television.
The Six Senses Evason, Hua Hin, Thailand
The Thai’s are wonderfully welcoming people and jump at any reason to celebrate. New Year’s Eve is no exception and, in the lovely coastal town of Hua Hin, the party goes on for days. A two-hour drive south of Bangkok, Hua Hin is enveloped by Black Mountain (a stunning summit that happens to be home to the Southeast Asian PGA Tour’s golf course) and endless acres of jungle, roaming elephants and a protected National Park.
Hua Hin is synonymous with luxurious hotels and resorts and the Six Senses Evason Hua Hin is a leader of the pack. Located just outside of Hua Hin itself in Pranburi, which perches delicately on the Gulf of Siam amongst 20 acres of tropical gardens, it is brushed with the excellence of all Six Senses properties in one of the finest locations imaginable.
Despite being such a hotspot of luxury and pampering, it is surprisingly family-friendly, too. Every villa has lovely touches, such as a private balcony and 24-hour room service, while the hotel itself can arrange a car with a driver or a private boat ride, should you want a family day out.
The Just Kids! Club is adored by youngsters and boasts its own swimming pool; professional supervisors arrange everything from Origami to model-making, Thai lessons to mobile-making. The best bit is that supervised sleepovers are organized nightly, which gives parents a real sleep in.
The Four Seasons, Buenos Aires
South America is fabulous at any time of year but, seeing as their summer clashes with our winter, why not head far south either before or after your Yuletide celebrations? Located in the exclusive La Recoleta district, The Four Seasons Hotel, Buenos Aires offers 116 large and luxurious guest rooms and 49 luxury suites, plus seven ultra glam suites in the adjacent belle Ã©poque-style mansion.
The Four Season brand is defined by exceptional service and it’s as good here as at any other. The concierge team can organize an array of tours and day trips for families of all ages or, if you’d rather fly and flop this winter, simply laze around the stunning outdoor pool. Mums and Dads will love the Porteno Tango signature massage in the spa, which is choreographed to the beat of tango music, while children adore the milk and cookie turn-down service in-room at bedtime.