Sure, it's great to be spontaneous, do things last-minute, shoot from the hip and all that.
Unless, of course, you want a stylish getaway with your brood at the very height of summer. So our customised search tools will help you find the best child-friendly hotels with available rooms and suites, week by week, through July and August. Alternatively, fill in this quick questionnaire and we’ll get back to you with a few personalised suggestions.
If you'd rather speak to a human, just give our family travel specialists a ring on 0330 100 3180. Not only can they find the best hotel for mini Smiths and their parents, they might be able to swing some preferable early bird rates, too. See? Sometimes it pays to plan ahead.
South-east Asia specialist and mother of one
Long-haul expert Julia is a senior consultant in London and knows Thailand’s luxury family hotels and our Indian Ocean resorts like the inside of her changing bag… Her top family travel tip? ‘Direct flights and short transfers are my new priorities!’
Americas expert and mother of two
A Brit abroad, Jasmine is the motherlode of all Stateside knowledge; but before joining our NY office, she'd travelled the length and breadth of Europe, spending summers snorkeling off the coast of Crete. A parent to two fussy eaters, her top travel tip is: ‘Never underestimate the importance of a good children’s menu.’
Our globe-spanning collection of luxury family hotels includes plenty of high-ranking stars, but this pick of lesser-known European escapes includes those fabled ‘hidden gems’ you’ve always dreamed of discovering. From rural retreats with child-friendly pools and boutique hotels with truly great kids’ clubs to beach-edged resorts that break the mould, these are the holiday memory-makers you’ll want to return to time and again…
This minimal Balearic-island beauty lures relaxed families with its nearby sandy beaches
Low-cost luxe and the best of both worlds: sweet apartment-suites with kitchenettes give you independence; a restaurant and babysitters to give you freedom. With the island’s prettiest shore just a 10-minute stroll away, Mediterranean island life couldn’t be easier…
Restful rural retreat with kitchen-equipped suites in Maremma’s coastal countryside
Set in a green and verdant patch of Italy, next-door to an Alain Ducasse eatery and close to beaches, this is just what the doctor ordered for city-frazzled parents. Whip up your own take on Tuscan cuisine, try out the excellent kids’ club or flop beside the child-friendly pool.
Five family-run finca apartments in the middle of a Mediterranean island
With a relaxed restaurant for breakfast and dinner, these simple private lodgings in colourful rural Sineu are a peaceful proposition: days here are spent idling by the pool, exploring the area or packing up towels and swimwear for the beaches half an hour away.
Pools with a view on Santorini’s unspoilt sister island
This little-known Greek getaway in Aegean offers life less harried and holidays less hassled: the infinity pool has panoramic views; the babysitters are friendly; and spacious split-level Family Pool Suites are perfect for bigger broods.
Family-friendly neo-classical winery on Bergerac’s Route des Vins
With a plaudits-earning restaurant that welcomes kids, and a talented chef who’s happy to whizz something up for baby, this is a dream holiday spot for Francophile foodie families. Play tennis or golf, lark about in the sandpit or playground, or lounge by the pool. Vive la France!
Cosy Kefalonian coastal retreat with pools, playground and pretty pebble beach
Potter down to endearing Emblissi Bay, just five minutes’ walk away: Emelisse enjoys a coast-side plot, but with an onsite spa, three pools, a tennis court and playground – even an open-air cinema – there’s plenty to entertain your tribe back at base.
Hardworking parents know the value of quality downtime for the whole family – and so do we. We’ve selected the finest luxury family hotels from our worldwide edit of stylish child-friendly holiday spots, to bring you a taste of the truly outstanding. These no-holds-barred high-end hideaways roll out the red carpet for you and your children: inspiring kids’ clubs, parent-pleasing spas, gourmet restaurants with baby-friendly menus – they’ve got it all…
Packed with parenting paraphernalia, these large family villas dot cliff-hugged coastline
A glittering infinity pool above the bay sets the tone at Daios Cove Luxury Resort & Villas, where watery pursuits are the order of the day. As well as sprawling villas with private pools, there’s a sandy beach, plus sailing, snorkeling and water-skiing for water babies of all ages.
This Unesco-protected wine estate near Siena seduces families with food and fun
With a Brunello di Montalcino winery, private golf course, spa and impressive roster of family-friendly activities, this 4,000-acre Ferragamo family estate is as Italian as they come. Extended hours at the kids’ club help parents carve out time for romance, too.
Former party party pad turned family-focused pleasure palace, with Minimec-designed kids club
Here on a sandy stretch of Marbella’s Golden Mile, a hotel with a storied heyday is enjoying a renaissance thanks to an amazing spa, pro golf and tennis and world-class equestrian centre. The beautifully designed kids club will make you want to move in: all bleached Scandi style and enviable activities, it’s a wonder parents can drag themselves away.
India Mahdavi interiors and 1920s swagger: this playful family resort is jetsetter catnip
Star attraction here (besides unparalleled people-watching) is the man-made ‘beach’ – stationed on a platform stretching over the rocks below, packed with sunbeds and cabanas. Water-skiing is available for over-sixes, there’s an extra-safe stretch of the Med for paddling, and an infinity pool for stylish teens and tweens to lounge glamorously around.
Secluded spa escape set on a glittering, mountain-backed bay: unwind and explore together
Miles from the madding crowds of summer, this away-from-it-all resort has a grown-up atmosphere, but there’s never a dull moment at Anassa (unless you want one): try a father-and-son fishing trip followed by a mocktail mixology class in the bar; ride bikes, hire catamarans or go hiking; retreat to the award-winning spa; or go scuba diving to spot turtles…
Pizza-making, gelato-tasting, animal-tracking with the gamekeeper… this is aristocratic Italy unedited
The infinity pool at this sprawling Tuscan estate has one of Tuscany’s most impressive views: the countryside surrounding Castello di Casole is a vintner's and farmer's idyll dotted with Tuscan Renaissance gems, including Siena and San Gimignano. Go exploring, eat everything, and fill ‘spare time’ with child-friendly activities from kids’ yoga and art classes to storytelling sessions.
Great-for-golfers gourmet getaway with child-friendly distractions galore
Adults-only fine dining and a pool just for grown-ups balances fun-filled days at the Beach Club, family-friendly swimming spots and a summertime kids’ club at this renowned resort between Marbella and Sotogrande. Check in, check out the spa, and you’ll find you have to check you’re not dreaming…
Family-friendly suite set-ups, golden sands, spectacular tennis club and a Six Senses spa
The recent recipient of a multimillion-pound makeover, super-spa-endowed Puente Romano Beach Resort & Spa Marbella rivals royal palaces in scope, scale and offering: sprawled along the sun-soaked Golden Mile, it may be big, but its village-y layout and cosy family atmosphere set it apart from neighbouring beachfront behemoths.
A just-for-kids pirate-themed playworld, plus a parent-pleasing menu of eateries: perfection
Kitchens fitted, barbecues on hand: tranquil Terrace suites are designed for discerning, flexibility-seeking family holidaymakers. Pick a patch of beach to call your own, leave the children to explore the epic 7,000sq m kids’ village, and spend the afternoon deciding which of the eight restaurants to dine in…
Olga Polizzi-designed palazzo with more than a mile of private coastline
This refined Rocco Forte resort takes parents in hand and proffers sun-drenched relaxation, tip-top golf, holistic spa pampering and summer-holiday kids’ clubs. Add moreish Med-flavoured cuisine and day-trips to archaeological wonders and you’ve a memory-packed holiday in the making.
If you like your holidays far-flung or planned further ahead, these exotic escapes promise tropical views, natural thrills and good value during the summer holidays. If you can’t stand the heat, push back trips to the Middle East or Morocco until the October half-term – come November, it’s also spring in the southern hemisphere, when the ever-sun-drenched Maldives see few of the brief tropical downpours that keep summers mellow, and south-east Asia beckons with longer days of sun.
Activity-crammed days on pristine shores plus fully equipped pool villas for families
This polished patch of island idyll offers winding white-sand beaches, ocean-view pools, a golf course, a spa and aquatic adventuring from the on-site boathouse. Your thatch-roofed villa’s kitchen and private garden make for easy family dining, but there’s a choice of child-friendly restaurants, too.
Sublime beachside retreat tucked in among palm trees and infinity pools
Slope off to a swinging bench among the palm trees, and enjoy some Thai-flavoured downtime – this blissful beach base is a stone’s throw from Bophut bay, there are more watersports to do than there are days in your holiday, and the Full Moon restaurant has views of the Gulf of Thailand.
Perfect bleach-white sand; impossibly-hued sunsets; and a stand-out play-centric club for kids
Kick off your shoes and surrender your phone: this driftwood-luxe desert-island resort is best enjoyed with bare feet and a castaway spirit. The just-for-kids Den has secret passageways, a slide-accessed pool, a pirate ship, ping-pong hut, zip line, and swings hanging from the trees in the botanic garden.
Extraordinary eco-resort with luxe trappings and back-to-basics desert-island ambience
A cluster of villas perched above a stretch of unspoilt Sumbanese coast, Nihiwatu feels on the edge of the world – unplug and explore acres of luxuriant valleys and world-famous surfing breaks. Book with Smith, and you’ll be treated to a family outing by open-top jeep to swim at the idyllic Lapopu waterfall.
La vie en rose – where beaches are pink, gardens manicured, staff obliging and children delighted
This may be Britain’s oldest colony, but this fashionable resort with four stylish swimming pools, an action-filled seasonal kids club, golf course and pro-staffed tennis courts will confirm that you are, in fact, thousands of sunny miles from home. A 10-minute tram ride transports you from poolside to private beach club, where conditions are perfect in early summer.
Otherworldly Omani village oasis hugged by the rugged Hajar Mountains
Can't face another boring transfer, trapped in a taxi with the kids? The only way you'll get into Zighy Bay is: (a) in a 4x4 over rocky gravel tracks carved into the cliffs, (b) on a speedboat from another country, (c) by jumping off a cliff strapped to a paragliding instructor.
Chic-en-Flacq headland setting; never-be-bored to-do list; and a floating bar for sunset drinks
Don’t let the low-key bungalows deceive you: this is high-end family luxury with a boutique feel. You and your kids will have the run of the place – from the beryl waters of the Indian Ocean and its wave-lapped beaches to the stilted lakeside suites.
The resort that pioneered barefoot luxury dishes up family-friendly indulgence
An award-winning spa, 12 beaches to choose from and a mind-boggling array of fun stuff – including a diving centre and a climbing wall – makes this a luxury family holiday with the volume turned up. Then there’s the excellent kids club, which has a fondness for pirates and parties (don’t we all?).
The life aquatic reigns supreme at this Como Shambhala spa-enhanced dream of a desert island
Dolphin-spotting cruises, night-time snorkelling trips for over-7s, seaplane transfers, over-water villas, learn-to-surf sessions – if you’re not a fan of the water, this isn’t the place for you. On the other hand, the glorious views, beachside sashimi and tension-melting spa treatments are enough to convince a mermaid to move up top…
Our experts can give you the inside scoop on the hottest summer stays and most welcoming family-friendly hideaways. Just answer the questions below and we'll get back to you with personalised suggestions for your perfect holiday. You can also call the team anytime on 0300 100 3182 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.