What’s your family’s idea of paradise? For us, it’s sparkling waters to splash in, a beach with swaying palm-trees and as much playing and lazing as you can fit into tranquil, sun-kissed days. This month, we’ve hauled ourselves off our sunloungers and dug up a tropical treasure trove of child-friendly hotels for Smith & Family: two breezy retreats in Bali, a hill-perched bolthole in Phuket, a sophisticated resort in Mexico, a sporty escape in Anguilla and the ultimate kids’ playground in the Maldives. Phew. Pass the coconuts.
Karma Kandara Bali, Indonesia
Just for them: Dedicated kids’ pool and endless Monkey-Club fun
Just for you: Clifftop views and hip beach club
Kids who like to duck and dive will fall in love with Karma Kandara, a smattering of whitewashed pool villas perched on a hill above the Indian Ocean. There are golden sands to run around on, and safe snorkelling and kayaking in the reef-fringed lagoon. The free kids’ club keeps little Smiths busy with all the beach larks, dressing-up games and Balinese puppet- and mask-making they’ll ever need, leaving you plenty of time for a spot of pampering in the wow-worthy Karma spa.
Kayumanis Jimbaran Bali, Indonesia
Just for them: Hair braiding and pool toys
Just for you: Chocolate-flavoured pampering and Seminyak shopping
There’s no need to let luxury slide just because you’ve got the children in tow: Kayumanis Jimbaran’s thatch-roof villas sit within manicured gardens sprinkled with frangipani trees and coconut palms. There’s an alluring timber-decked pool of your very own (staff will happily set up a safety barrier if you’re worried about straying toddlers) and a butler service to satisfy your every whim. Getting cabin fever? Freewheel through the buzzing fishing village of Jimbaran by bike, work up a scent at the local perfumery or spoil your little splashers at the water park nearby.
STYLISH SPORTS HAVEN
Viceroy Anguilla Caribbean
Just for them: Action-packed resort with clubs for teens and kids alike
Just for you: Sophisticated design and sports mecca
Ever bounced on a giant ocean trampoline? Neither had we until we’d visited this luminous pearl of a family-friendly resort. Yes, there are soft white sands to stroll on, cosseting cabanas to lounge in and a pretty special oceanfront spa to luxuriate in, but a stay here can be action-packed, too. Experience the life aquatic by snorkelling, paddling or boogie boarding at the watersports centre, or blow off some steam with a spot of tennis, rock-climbing or basketball. At Viceroy Anguilla, a sophisticated fun-packed stay is very possible – even with the sippy-cup set in town.
Esencia Riviera Maya, Mexico
Just for them: Chocolate baths and scuba lessons
Just for you: Free babysitting and yoga classes
On a quiet stretch of Mexico’s Caribbean coastline, this former estancia has colourful Spanish and Mayan interiors and awe-inspiring views of enticing turquoise waters. Set within gorgeous exotic gardens, the two-storey private cottages are perfect for families seeking a secluded luxury retreat. Try the temazcal steam ritual or treat your sweet-toothed kids to a chocolate massage treatment at the Riviera Maya’s first organic spa. Add free babysitting, yoga, cooking lessons and on-site scuba diving – we might just have found the perfect Caribbean getaway.
Trisara Phuket, Thailand
Just for them: Beachside kite-flying and coconut bowling
Just for you: Six-handed massage and private plunge pools
Take all the comforts of a family home, place them carefully on a tropical headland, add an inviting private plunge pool and a sprinkling of emerald-sea views: this is Trisara, a child-friendly resort of luxe suites and villas set along Phuket’s less-developed north-west coast. Mini-mes can enjoy much of what adults do, from outdoor showers to gentle massages and swimming lessons in the beachfront lap pool. Further afield, sample the thrills of dramatic Phan Nga Bay or elephant rides through lush rainforest – but with snorkelling, tennis courts, muay Thai lessons and a free kids’ club on site, we suspect you won’t stray far from basecamp.
Six Senses Laamu Maldives
Just for them: Chocolate and ice-cream rooms
Just for you: Glass-bottomed tubs and over-water villas
A jungle-nestled cinema, bottlenose dolphins at large, ice-cream on tap and night snorkelling: young fun seems to be at the forefront of Six Senses Laamu’s mind. Bleached-wood jetties lead out to rustic-chic thatched huts hovering over the crystalline lagoon. Drop your kids off at the dreamy Den and take some time out: try a massage therapy class, a dive in the kaleidoscope of underwater life or just a nap in a netted hammock, swaying gently above your own private water garden.
Need more lounging-and-splashing inspiration? Check out Smith & Family’s full collection of family-friendly hotels.
*Copy compiled by Helena Stibbard