Smith & KidsStylish family travel: child-friendly hotels, family holiday tips and insider guides

Qasr al Sarab infinity pool and dunes

From the far-flung turquoise waters of the Indian ocean to the great dunes of the Liwa desert, our latest batch of child-friendly hotels is for the intrepid, the adventurous, and the downright lazy too. We’ve rounded up six of the best parent-approved pads, including a genteel Wind in the Willows hall and a perfectly formed Tuscan retreat.

Soneva Fushi jungle villa Maldives

JUNGLE-TUCKED VILLAS

Soneva Fushi Baa Atoll, Maldives
Style Barefoot Idyll
Setting Palm-fringed lagoon
Best for Babes-in-arms and over-5s

You won’t need shoes, phones, or an ounce of worry at this mega-luxe private island resort in the Maldives. Days here call for little more than flopping on a sunlounger, some intensive pampering at the world-class spa or the occasional dip in the azure waters – and with treehouse bunks, a pirate ship in the kids’ den and a whole house reef to explore, your little Smiths will be thrilled too.

Just for them Dreamy kids’ club and on-demand ice-cream
Just for you Starlit dinners and a Six Senses spa

Qasr al Sarab resort in the dunes of the Liwa desertSUN-BAKED ADVENTURES

Qasr Al Sarab Liwa Desert, United Arab Emirates
Style Desert Palace
Setting Limitless Liwa dunes
Best for Over-5s

The edge of the world’s most inhospitable desert might not seem like the ideal place for a holiday, but it’s this rare setting that makes this cool and calm Arabic palace a really special stay for families with a sense of adventure. Lounge poolside with incredible views of the sandscape, ride camels, kick up a sandstorm in a 4WD, then book a babysitter and sneak off for an unforgettable dinner for two under the canvas of a Bedouin tent and a canopy of desert stars.

Just for them Camel treks and giant dunes
Just for you Free drop-in kids club and guaranteed sun

Domes of Elounda infinity pool Crete

CUT-ABOVE CRETE

Domes of Elounda Crete, Greece
Style Perfectly rounded resort
Setting Peaceful Mirabello Bay
Best for Splashers and swimmers of all ages

This indulgent Greek retreat has beachside luxury covered. We’re talking an impossibly decadent spa, a manicured sweep of private sand and three top-tier dining rooms. What’s extra-refreshing are the riches laid on for kids: mini bathrobes and slippers, Disney-themed bedrooms, plus tennis tuition, sailboats and snorkels. Add an Ofsted-registered crèche, free kids’ club sessions and warm clear waters for family beach fun, and your holiday can actually be spent holidaying.

Just for them Watersports and minotaurs
Just for you Private beach and adults-only bar and spa

Horse riding at La Bobadilla hotel in AndaluciaAUTHENTIC ANDALUCIA

Barceló La Bobadilla Andalucia, Spain
Style Palatial five-star finca
Setting Remote rural estate
Best for Babes-in-arms and over-5s

You can’t all-out flop with restless tweens in tow, right? Wrong. The never-ending to-do list at this Andalucian estate includes activities from falconry to pony rides, and goes way beyond the standard ‘pool and playground offering’. Yes, it’s a family holiday, but with fine-dining, well-appointed suites and the house brigade of babysitters, there’ll always be room for romance amid La Bobadilla’s acres of olive groves.

Just for them A properly cool pool and teenagers’ bar
Just for you Moonlit fine-dining

Fowey Hall hotel in CornwallCROQUET ON THE COAST

Fowey Hall Cornwall, United Kingdom
Style Comfy country château
Setting Salty south Cornish coast
Best for Water babies of all ages

Play the Wind in the Willows card at this grand-old Cornish hotel that inspired Toad Hall. Perched above a charming coastal town, it offers some brilliantly British old-school fun, with walled gardens, high teas, croquet and canoeing. Factor in babysitters so you can sneak away to the spa, toddler-proofed interconnecting rooms and hi-tech baby-monitors that will have you sighing blissfully over your first candlelit dinner since the birth, and Fowey Hall might just become your favourite new holiday-home-from-home.

Just for them Beaches and gardens to explore
Just for you Baby monitors and body pamperers

Castiglion del Bosco infinity pool Tuscany ItalySUN AND SANCTUARY

Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco Tuscany, Italy
Style The grape escape
Setting Verdant Val d’Orcio
Best for Kids who love culture

Ferragamo’s 800-year-old estate is Tuscany in miniature, with its cypress trees, frescoed chapel, Brunello di Montalcino winery and Etruscan ruins. There’s an impressive roll-call of family-friendly activities (bike and horseback excursions, junior cookery and art lessons, astronomy, gastronomy and garden tours); and with an extended-hours supervised kids club, you’ll be free to savour the spa and the perfectly poised infinity pool crowning the estate.

Just for them Archery and pony rides
Just for you Cookery school and winery

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