Travel pre-children was a very different story. Backpacking round South-East Asia, swanning off on European city breaks at the drop of a hat, that time you booked a villa in Ibiza and forgot to come home at the end of the week… Yep, those were the days. You don’t have to spend long in Parent Land to work out that, unless you want to return home feeling like you need another holiday, some of that devil-may-care spontaneity is going to have to be parked for a few years.
Family holidays are different, especially when your children are young. You want to spend time together, have fun and make magical memories without having to wrestle a pushchair into a tuk-tuk. You want the small folk to have the time of their lives but not at the expense of adult downtime. You want sun, sand and food they will actually eat. We get it. Which is why we know that what you really need this summer is to silence your inner backpacker and book a family-friendly hotel (all-inclusive a bonus) in the Mediterranean (short flight time!) that combines child-friendly fun with grown-up appeal.
Looking for inspo? Together with Classic, we’ve picked out some of our favourite, family-friendly hotels below. Greece, Italy, Turkey and Mallorca are all covered, complete with kids’ clubs, babysitters and a sun lounger with your name on it.
HILLSIDE BEACH CLUB
Turquoise Coast, Turkey
Right on the beach, this five-star resort is a haven for families. Think heavenly views, activities galore, watersports, beach bars, evening entertainment and plenty of choice on the food front.
Book in a babysitter or pack them off to the brilliant Kidside kids’ club while you escape to one of the adults’ only beaches, relax in the spa or get stuck into a fitness class (zumba, yoga, tennis and archery are all on the menu).
As if the huge heated outdoor pool wasn’t enough, Hillside pulls out the stops with an activity-packed kids’ club for children aged four to ten and a Young Club with DJ sessions, sport and dance classes for 11 to 15-year-olds. High-quality childcare and babysitters are available for younger children and babies.
If the mood takes you there are plenty of interesting local excursions. Visit mountain tombs, hike secret trails or explore the beautiful coastline by boat.
Don’t want to lift a finger this summer? This is the place for you. The five-star Ikos Oceania is known for its cut above all-inclusive where nearly every detail – from à la carte dining to spa facilities to watersports – is included.
If you can bear to drag yourself away from the beach, there’s a fitness centre, spa, tennis courts and activities from diving lessons to windsurfing on offer here.
Making sure parents also get a holiday is key to the ethos here. There’s a créche (four months to three), kids’ club (four to 11) and Just4Teens club for children aged 12 and above. And there’s plenty on offer for family time to boot…head out snorkelling, join a mini football match or try your hand at beach volleyball.
The hotel is a short distance from Nea Moudania and local excursions and dining can be arranged (at no extra cost with the dine out experience).
The five-star Porto Elounda Golf & Spa Resort is as relaxing as family retreats come. Eight restaurants, swimming pools, a gym, tennis courts and an award-winning spa tick all the right boxes for a chilled out break en famille.
There’s childcare available for children aged four months to 11 years and plenty to keep teens busy too. All of which means you can make a bid for the spa, gym or a sun-lounger-with-service for some well-deserved time out.
Little ones are well catered for with sand pits and story-teling, while older children can get stuck in to tennis lessons, sports tuition, trampolining, gaming, watersports and good old-fashioned fun on the beach.
Discover the history and beauty of Crete with a trip out to discover its beaches, cuisine and ancient gods.
You’ll never be stuck for something to do at this award-winning resort based on a 47-hectare Sardinian estate. There are 21 restaurants for starters, along with 14 bars, a range of accommodation options, a swanky spa, sandy beach and plenty of activities and entertainment.
You’ll need some if you even try to keep up with everything on offer here. As well as the classic horizontal escapes (spa, snooze, sun lounger) there’s on-site shopping, evening entertainment, watersports, swimming and slick service throughout. Quality childcare is available for children of all ages.
The worry here isn’t whether they’ll have fun but whether they’ll want to hang out with you at all once they’ve discovered what’s on offer. Forte’s children’s wonderland includes a Mario’s Village, Barbie activity centre, Thomas the Tank engine locomotive, Fisher Price nursery, Creative Wonderlab, theatre, children’s restaurant and no less than three children’s pools.
There plenty to do at Forte without setting foot outside the resort but with the whole of Sardinia at your disposal a local excursion is worth putting on your holiday To Do list.
ZAFIRO PALACE ALCUDIA
A five-star all-inclusive on one of our favourite Balearic islands, Zafiro Palace Alcudia is spacious, well-equipped and pleasingly laid-back. Calm, shallow waters and a swathe of sandy beach make it a great choice for families, while five on-site restaurants, swim-up suites, pools, activities and quality entertainment ensure good times galore.
Head to the spa for a sauna, Jacuzzi or Turkish bath, relax by one of the many pools or de-stress at the gym while your children get stuck into the kids’ club action. Babysitting is also available for younger children.
A splash pool with a pirate ship and waterslides is the main event here. If you can tempt them out of it for more than a few minutes, there are kids’ clubs for children aged four to 15 offering art, craft, sports and performance activities. Up the family fun factor by hiring bikes, heading out snorkelling or going on a nature excursion.
There’s plenty to discover in Mallorca. Discover the island’s most beautiful beaches, head out on a hike or take a trip to Palma.