EUROPE'S TOP 10 FAMILY RESORTS
Perfect Resorts for Children AND Parents
Ah, the “perfect family resort” - that elusive beast. Go too far one way, and you’re locked in a hideous Groundhog Day of forced fun, foam parties and Agadoo.
Too far the other way and the honeymooning couple is casting withering looks at your children across the candlelit restaurant.
You want to share the joy of travel with your sprogs and see the manic grins on their sticky chops. But you don’t want your holiday to be a glorified (and expensive) softplay trip, leaving you needing another holiday afterwards.
Our carefully curated list of Europe’s Best Family Resorts strikes the perfect balance to ensure that everybody is happy.
Creta Maris Resort, Greece
If Disney, Instagram and God conspired to create a flawless, sprawling Greek village, festooned with scarlet bougainvillaea and Ficus, palm and olive trees providing dappled shade, plus private sandy beaches and crystal, turquoise sea, Creta Maris Resort would be it.
This five star all inclusive is a family oasis disguised as an immaculate, Greek village. There is something for everybody. Children can play in the five kids' pools or the resort’s dedicated water park, while adults relax around one of the six adults' pools or private, Blue Flag beach.
There are seven, exceptional restaurants, ten bars, multiple snack points, a luxe hammam spa, imaginative children’s entertainment, Kid’s and Teens Club and Europe’s biggest outdoor cinema.
Their luxe, waterpark is neatly tucked away from those who don’t want shrieking, ice cream-fuelled children and colourful slides on their break. And for those who do (our family loved it) there are water towers, twisting rides, multi level aqua tower pools, splash playgrounds and river rapids as well as more relaxing pools and smaller slides for little ones.
Creta Maris, Navarchou Nearchou, Limenas Chersonisou 700 14, Greece
Port Lympne Reserve, Kent
For the most thrilling, family wildlife experience in the UK, head to this beautiful pocket of rural Kent, where you can sleep with animals including tigers, lions, monkeys, rhinos, giraffes and wolves.
Lion Lodge offers the chance to get up close and personal with African Lions, Kamari and Hussani. It’s a once in a lifetime experience in the safety of a luxury, Manhattan loft-style building within their habitat, where you can enjoy a bath with a majestic lion’s nose pressed against the window, a whisker away from you.
For a cheaper option, there’s the Pinewood glamping huts, which are close enough to experience the thrill of snoozing to a pride of lions' roars. Other overnight stays include the flamboyant mansion, Rhino Lodge, Bear Lodge, Giraffe Lodge, Wolf Lodge, Hog Deer Creek, Leopard Creek and an assortment of huts, treehouses and forest hideaways that let you experience the animals as they creep out under the safety and serenity of darkness. Each stay means you have the park to yourselves after closing time, whizzing about in your personal golf buggies.
During the day, you can also enjoy a truck safari and even feed animals including giraffes - read our giraffe feeding review here - gorillas and lions. And you get the satisfaction of knowing that your dosh has helped The Aspinall Foundation’s successful efforts to save and repopulate endangered species. Boom.
Book now Port Lympne Safari Park, Aldington Rd, Lympne, Hythe CT21 4LR
Foxhills Country Club & Resort, Surrey
You don’t need to brave a plane to find the perfect balance of child-flavoured fun and adult luxury.
The multi-award-winning Foxhills Club & Resort is nestled within 400 acres of tranquil Surrey and is bursting with experiences - and more than 200 activities a week - to keep everybody happy.
The resort’s designated family building, The Pavilion, is home to a soft play area, role play high street, a games room, two pools for family swim - plus three for grown-ups - and a football net on the green.
Enjoy food and drinks overlooking the outdoor pool, or refuel at Flo’s Deli, open all day with fresh smoothies, craft beers and wonderful children’s menus, from Belgian waffles and pancakes to mini breakfasts and a wide range of dinky lunch options to appease even the pickiest eaters. Activities include wellbeing classes, outdoor sports, fitness, and indoor cycle classes for parents/teens and a host of activities for tots, like arts and crafts, lawn games and even mini ballet. Foxhills’ woodland adventure playground provides the perfect space for young guests’ imaginations to run wild, complete with zip line, obstacle course, balance beams and a group swing. And the resort’s woodland trails and orienteering course offer a fun way to enjoy the area’s abundant nature as a family, that’s if you can tear yourselves away from the vast, two-bedroom, luxury family suites.
Foxhills Country Club & Resort, Stonehill Road, Ottershaw, Surrey, KT16 0EL
Undeniably one of Europe’s most stunning resorts, Anassa’s tiered terraces tumble down the secluded Paphos hillside towards the unspoilt, sandy beach of Chrysochou Bay, tucked within an area of outstanding, natural beauty.
The elegant, white Mediterranean buildings, lush gardens and infinity pools recreate an idyllic, Cypriot village, with a square complete with Byzantine chapel.
The luxury, five-star oasis ticks every conceivable box for grown-ups and children. The kids’ club is on another level and includes zoo trips, self captained boat trips, baking or pottery lessons and even spa treatments. And there are thoughtful touches, like early dinner sittings for families.
Their ingenious Baby Go Lightly service takes the stress out of travel, enabling you to prebook everything, from car seats, potties, training seats, high chairs, carriers, buggies and bottles to baby walkers, baby baths, nappies and toys.
There are also cultural experiences for the whole family - every week, the hotel hosts an evening of entertainment in the village square, with a Cypriot buffet, folk dancing and live music. And a weekly barbecue is held on the beach.
There are four restaurants, plus the ‘village square’, where the focus is on fresh produce from local farms or from the hotel’s gardens.
Special mention for the achey, weary, pamper-hungry parents of Anassa’s extraordinary, Romanesque-style Thalassa Spa, complete with stunning pool, saunas and steam baths.
Anassa, 40 Alekou Michailidi Road, Neo Chorio, 8852, Cyprus
Bohinj ECO Hotel, Slovenia
Located in the heart of Triglav National Park - one of the world’s most outstanding areas of natural beauty - hugged by the sparkling Julian Alps mountains, this resort is the perfect marriage of wellness, family and relaxation. Children will lose their tiny minds over the aquapark, indoor pools and onsite bowling alley.
And parents can pamper every fibre of their beings with the hotel’s exceptional wellness offerings, which include a top-floor pool with a panoramic view of the shimmering mountains, steam baths, Finnish saunas and massages. The resort is on the doorstep of this stunning alpine playground, 10 minutes from the renowned Lake Bohinj and the majestic Julian Alps and just 15 minutes to Lake Bled. A range of activities are available, from cycling on guided tours to beauty spots like Bohinj Lake, Savica waterfall, Mostnica Gorge and the world famous Bled where visitors can learn the rich heritage of Bled Castle. Designed with nature at its heart, this hotel is one of the most eco-friendly hotels in Slovenia, fuelled by sustainable resources and innovative energy-saving technology.
Bohinj ECO Hotel, Triglavska cesta 17, 4264 Bohinjska Bistrica, Slovenia
Valamar Tirena Hotel, Dubrovnik
Croatia’s behemoth hotel brand, Valamar launches the shiny, new Maro World at their Dubrovnik resort, Valamar Tirena Hotel in June 2023.
The 1,800m2 children’s entertainment centre will be themed around their Maro crab mascot and will encompass nine interactive areas, including an innovative play area, specially designed playrooms, a softplay zone, playground, theatre, family lounge, two games lounges and an outdoor trampoline and adrenaline zone, all under the watchful eyes of the expert entertainment team. But fear not, mum and dad will enjoy the peaceful, natural surroundings of the Babin Kuk peninsula, beneath a leafy canopy of trees a 10-minute walk from three different beaches, plus a luxury beach club with cushioned loungers and sea-view bar terrace. Relax by the spacious outdoor pool with water slides and taste the traditional Dalmatian and international dishes in the Mediterranean buffet restaurant or grill restaurants and swim up to the bar for cocktails.
Valamar Tirena Hotel, Ul. Iva Dulčića 36, 20000, Dubrovnik, Croatia
Amada Colossos, Greece
Tucked along the eastern coast of Rhodes, the five-star Amada Colossos boasts an Insta-worthy, seafront spot, overlooking the gorgeously golden Kallithea Beach.
This glossy resort captures the essence of laidback, island living and ensures all guests are catered for, by providing adult and family zones, as well as Kids Clubs, swimming pools and luxury rooms. The complex features one main pool, a relaxation pool, activity pool and waterpark, which includes splash pools and a selection of waterslides. Younger guests will love the Kids Clubs, with various options available for children from four months to teens. Play areas for children include the aquatower with slides, the frog slide and mini octopus slide. The entertainment team also offers a full activity programme and additional entertainment includes pool obstacle courses, beach volley, tennis, archery and watersports at the beach. There are even private beach cabins and swim-up family suites, which come with all-inclusive access to all four restaurants - the buffet hotspot plus the à la cartes, which include a gorgeous Greek taverna.
Amada Colossos, Kallithea Main Street, Rhodes, Greece 851 00
Hillside Beach Club, Turkey
This sun-kissed utopia is hugged by pine-forested cliffs, nestled on a private, Blue Flag and white sanded cove surrounding by sparkling, emerald water.
And despite its pristine and luxurious appearance, it is designed for families.
There are six restaurants, two spas and an extraordinary schedule of entertainment, from DJing sessions for tweens, piano lessons for primary schoolers, plus sailing, diving, ebiking and tennis for kids and drumming workshops, jazz yoga, live music on the beach and on a floating stage for adults.
The chalets are cut into the hillside and family suites have adjoining rooms with shared terraces.
There is also a ‘baby park’, an amphitheatre with daily shows and events, baby strollers and a babysitting service. Hillside Beach Club Turkey, 48300 Fethiye, Muğla Province, Turkey
MarBella Elix, Greece
This unique, 5 star hotel presides over the Ionian coast, where the citrus-scented pine forests meet the ocean and the pristine landscapes offer a rare glimpse of an unspoiled world.
The private boat transfer there across the Mediterranean, past caves and coves is the perfect start to a family holiday. And children will delight in the funicular, which swoops you down to the peachy Karavostasi beach and luxury, Azure restaurant below.
Thoughtfully, the hotel provides everything from buggies to baby monitors. And a London creative events company arranges unique children’s entertainment, which maximises the location and culture and includes Greek mythology games and star gazing. There are four restaurants, including traditional Greek restaurants Saffron and Pearl, the beautiful a la carte Indigo - overlooking the infinity pool - and the soft, sandy floored beach restaurant, Azure.
There is also a dinky toddler's pool as well as a vast infinity pool with stunning views.
MarBella Elix, Karavostasi, Sivota, 461 00
Porto Zante, Greece
This hidden gem promises privacy, perfection and a luxurious, parent’s paradise.
Nine, stunning villas stud Zakynthos’s green hillside, stocked with Bulgari soaps (and children’s versions) Casa and Bang & Olufsen with teak sunbeds and banana yellow parasols around each pool, which come with baby pool seats and armbands.
Suitcase-saving is a top priority here, so every child-shaped need is provided, from stairgates and cots to highchairs.
The sand on the beach is kept immaculately swept in neat lines and children will find everything waiting for them, from diggers, wheelbarrows and buckets and spades to pedalos, paddle boards and sea canoes.
As with everything at this ultimate escape, everything is carefully thought out, including the excellent kids’ club, which provides mini Zumba classes, smoothie and dance parties, art and crafts and treasure hunts.
The restaurant experience can even be brought to your villa, within monitor range, on a white linen covered table beneath the pergola.
Or Porto Zante’s babysitter can take care of the children, while you sample Greek and Mediterranean cuisine at the Club House Restaurant and or watch the sun sink into the sea at contemporary Asian fusion restaurant, Maya, in a spectacular beachfront setting. Expect fresh fish and lobster straight from their fisherman’s catch, and a fine meat selection accompanied by local herbs and organic products from the estate.
Porto Zante, Tragaki, 291 00 Zakynthos, Greece
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