Two poolside Moroccan gems, two couldn’t-be-more-different lodges and one regal redbrick retreat in Exeter: this month we’ve rounded up a scattering of child-friendly hotels in rugged Morocco, windswept France, rugged Spain and good old Blighty. Whether you fancy clambering up to a treehouse, steaming yourself floppy in a hammam or sliding your way down the sunny side of the slope, we have just the family getaway for you.
ART LOVERS’ PAD
Fellah Marrakech, Morocco
Style Engaging artistic escape
Setting Poised between mountain and medina
Part Berber dwelling, part modern-art installation, this quirky design den may not seem like an obvious choice for a family holiday, but its desert location makes it well-suited for firing up your little Smiths’ imaginations: teens can draw inspiration from the hotel’s red-sand setting during scriptwriting classes, and for mini cowboys there are campfire kebabs and cows to be milked. With all the outside-the-box activities on offer at the kids club, you’ll be free to relish the views from the cactus-flanked pool.
Just for them A treehouse to climb and donkey-cart rides
Just for you Mint-tea cocktails and a Vietnamese spa
Jardin des Douars Essaouira, Morocco
Style Kasbah à la française
Setting Riverside hilltop oasis
You’ll never find trappings of the wireless, beepy, touch-screen variety at Jardin des Douars. It’s all about sunny idle living: there’s a sunlounger here, a hammam there, and glorious flowered gardens everywhere. Loose tribes of children gather by the jade-green pool for short-but-sweet friendships under the North African sun. Beyond the walls, there’s a stretch of unspoilt Maghreb to explore: just ask the hotel’s knowledgeable staff for the best windswept dunes, surfing hotspots, well-mannered camels or souk bargains.
Just for them A pétanque pitch and their very own pool
Just for you A marbled hammam and your very own pool, too
CHIC CITY STAY
Magdalen Chapter Exeter, United Kingdom
Style An eye for detail
Setting By cathedral and quay
Once an Edwardian eye hospital, this reincarnated redbrick retreat now houses a sleek Ren spa, an all-weather pool and a restaurant overseen by chef and author Simon Hopkinson; it’s family-friendly without foregoing all the grown-up grandeur. With an imaginative children’s menu, in-room iPads and a kids cookery club, your little ones will be catered for, too.
Just for them Mini-me afternoon tea and a cooking club
Just for you An award-winning spa and celebrity chef talks
BREEZY AND BEACHY
Le Lodge Kerisper Brittany, France
Style Castaway chic
Setting Portside perch
This breezy lodge is made for laid-back lounging. Spend your mornings lazing by the pool, then take the tots in tow and meander to the beach. There’s a thoughtful array of family-friendly amenities (bikes kitted out with kids’ seats, fresh milk for bottles, and even French teddy bears to befriend and take home); when all the low-key relaxation leaves you feeling recharged, hire a babysitter and steal away for the evening.
Just for them Bikes for hire and a secret garden
Just for you Reflexology and a roaring fire
El Lodge Sierra Nevada, Spain
Style Gingerbread chalet
Setting Sunny Spanish slopes
The smattering of pine trees and dusting of icing-sugar snow on the rooftops may give it a deceptively Alpine feel, but this ski lodge, in the heart of Andalucia’s Sierra Nevada, is still very much Iberian, with mandatory sunshine, siesta and fiesta at hand. Once you’ve gathered and dusted the snow off your little ones, retreat to this family-friendly pine-clad nest’s terrace and magnificent pool.
Just for them Wood sledges and a games room
Just for you Après-ski cocktails and a bijou spa
Tempted to run for the hills with the kids? Check out Smith & Family’s full collection of family-friendly hotels.