Sunshine and a slew of spring flowers, lush green lawns and child-luring chocolate displays in the shops can only mean one thing: Easter is nearly upon us. We’ve dusted off our egg-collecting baskets and gathered up a selection of our favourite short-haul family hotels for Easter – all with availability over the long bank-holiday weekend – so you don’t have to rely on the big bunny to sort your break out. Here are eight for starters…
BOVEY CASTLE United Kingdom
What? Outdoorsy British beauty
Where? Dartmoor parkland, Devon
This is where the outdoors is truly great: Scottish-feeling Bovey Castle near Dartmoor (pictured top and right) has waxed jackets and wellies at the ready for all moorland adventures. The kids’ club is excellent, so you can cheerfully pack your Bovey Ranger off to build campfires while you linger over lunch or go for a leisurely spa treatment. There’s also ‘Nfanga – Angel Bliss for children’, designed to improve your kids’ sleep quality. And did we mention the Lego room service menu?
From £359 a room a night.
Small print Based on two adults and one child sharing a Superior Castle room; extra bed, £20 (free cots for under-4s).
BARCELO LA BOBADILLA Spain
What? Palatial five-star finca
Where? Remote rural estate, Granada
Andalusia for Easter? Sí, por favor. Here in the hills, you can fly falcons, ride horses or quad bikes, lounge poolside or lose yourself among the olive groves. The fine-dining restaurant, La Finca, is one of Granada’s most respected, on account of Antonio Organero’s creative flair: we’re talking outstanding wine cellar, and a whole mini-menu dedicated to gazpacho soups (lobster, say, or eel and dill), alongside Andalusian and Mediterranean dishes such as tomato jelly with vegetable ragout and baby calamari. Tearaway tykes get a pool and a playground; teens even have their own bar.
From £290 a room a night.
Small print Based on two adults and one child sharing a Deluxe room; extra beds, £55 (free cots for under-4s).
FELLAH HOTEL Morocco
What? Artistic family farmstead
Where? Between Atlas and Marrakech
Just a 20-minute trundle to the sense-assaulting souks of the medina, Fellah Hotel in Tassoultante offers a calm countryside getaway far from the madding crowd. Muck in around the kitchen garden, dive into the pool, live life alfresco or tackle the Atlas Mountains an hour to your north: whatever you do by day, this modern-art-adorned Moorish manor guarantees your brood blissful dreams by night.
From £173 a room a night.
Small print Based on two adults and one child sharing a Superior Castle room; extra beds, £25 (free cots for under-4s).
ASIA GARDENS Spain
What? Zen-fusion fun spot
Where? Sierra-side, near Alicante
When you’re looking for luxurious family-friendly resorts with gorgeous grounds, impeccable Far Eastern style and that elusive combo of superlative spa and all-day kids’ club, the Costa Blanca isn’t the first place you’d look, but (surprise!) it’s where you find Asia Gardens hotel. The grounds are a jungly labyrinth, there are pools aplenty, the playground’s pirate-themed, and there are Blue Flag beaches a short drive away.
From £338 a room a night.
Small print Based on two adults and one child sharing a Deluxe Superior room; extra beds, £80 (free cots for under-2s).
What? Ivy-clad villa
Where? Winery wonderland, Brescia
With soul-stirring views and lush surroundings, L’Albereta is a decidedly grown-up family escape: the spa’s superlative and the wine flows freely. Take a dip in the family-friendly pool in the Bellavista Tower or lounge by the adults-only pool in the spa area – they’re both indoors and heated. The shores of Lakes Iseo and Garda are within easy reach, for watery pleasures great and small.
From £311 a room a night.
Small print Based on two adults and one child sharing a Superior room; extra beds, £25 (free cots for under-4s).
THE GROVE United Kingdom
What? Town-in-country spa retreat
Where? Well-heeled Hertfordshire estate
The Grove’s Ofsted-rated crèche, pretty walled gardens and outdoor ‘beach’ zone make it super-fun for kids; for the grown-ups, there’s an award-winning spa, a tip-top golf course and a very short drive from London. If you’re lucky enough to get a bit of the sunny stuff, this is the perfect easy-access downtime destination.
From £405 a room a night.
Small print Based on two adults and two children sharing a Deluxe Room (West Wing); extra beds, £12.50 each (cots free).
MEMMO BALEEIRA Portugal
What? White and bright boutique hotel
Where? Sunkissed Atlantic-coast Algarve
The wind’s fresh at Easter time, but the sun is bright, the sky is blue and Sagres’ south and west coasts were made for walking, biking, boat trips, beach-combing and surfing. Memmo’s clifftop location and huge windows let the light shine in: the perfect spring pick-me-up for anyone in need of a little Vitamin D. It’s great value, there are lots of family-friendly restaurants, and reasonably priced flights into Faro airport, 75 minutes’ drive away, are plentiful.
From £200 a room a night.
Small print Based on two adults and two children sharing a One-Bedroom Memmo Suite Land View (with sofa-bed).
THE MAGDALEN CHAPTER United Kingdom
What? Chic mini city stay
Where? By cathedral and quay, Exeter
Plot up en route to Cornwall (although this is a good expedition base in its own right) and potter around Exeter’s gargoyle-garlanded cathedral (ring ahead and reserve an activity backpack, with binoculars, puppets, puzzles and books). There are beaches and forest parks within a 20-minute drive in either direction, but you may not get that far: the hotel’s Ren spa, heated pool and garden games will keep you gently entertained for a few days.
From £235 a room a night.
Small print Based on two adults and one child sharing a Feature Room; extra beds free for under-12s.