The summer holidays are fast approaching: our top packing tip? Buy all those ‘last-minute’ essentials well in advance. We bring you family holiday inspiration, and Alexa Till (one half of the husband-and-wife team behind online kids’ fashion boutique Alex and Alexa) picks out the essential pieces to pack for easy-breezy holiday style… CORNWALL, UK
Where? Watergate Bay Hotel
Why? Cornwall’s always a great getaway for families: there’s no shortage of fresh, open stretches of beach to absorb active children’s energy. Watergate Bay is bang on the beach, which takes the hassle out of getting buckets, spades and toddlers to the sand. Interiors are fresh and contemporary, and wide windows make the most of the ocean views.
Family-friendly highlights Interconnecting rooms and family suites are available, and they’ve really thought about how to make the hotel a perfect stay for adults as well as children: clever childcare options allow you to relax and enjoy the spa, bar and restaurants. Then there’s the watersports centre, kids’ club, outdoor playground and indoor infinity pool…
Don’t forget… your buckets and spades! A soft rubber Scrunch Bucket (£6.99) can be rolled up and squished into a corner of your suitcase.
Alexa’s style tips
‘This anchor-print dress (£83, pictured above) by British designer Rachel Riley is the perfect nautical style for a seaside escape. Grab a good pair of jelly shoes for seashell searches in Cornwall’s rock pools: these blue Hugo Boss sandals (£38, right) look good enough to eat. A pair of versatile, easy-to-wear shorts can be smartened up for dining at the hotel, or worn with a simple T-shirt for daytime exploring: try these cute Ralph Lauren seersucker shorts (£55).’
Where? Finca Cortesin
Why? This palatial Marbella resort pulls off that rare trick of being all things to all guests; it’s a real destination hotel, and brilliant at accommodating families. It’s beautiful too: the Castilian frescoes, Moorish hangings and surreal trompe-l’œil tiles will inspire serious decor envy, and the nearby beach club is a super all-ages hangout.
Family-friendly highlights The kids get a free, activity-packed mini club during the summer months; the grown-ups get one of the best spas in southern Spain. You don’t need to worry about having enough space, either: Finca Cortesin’s smallest suite is a sprawling 52sq m, and if you need even more room and want to self-cater, the sumptuous four-bedroom villa is ideal for group stays and has a kitchen.
Don’t forget… swimwear, sun cream, and a pop-up sun tent for babies and toddlers, so you can explore the region’s beaches and have shade on demand.
Alexa’s style tips
‘Make a splash at the resort’s outdoor infinity pool with a fun swimming costume; thrill your little lady with a pretty statement print Dolce & Gabbana swimsuit (£156, pictured above). Pop a dress over it for an instant cover-up at the kids’ club; or add sandals for sightseeing: this embroidered Melissa Odabash sundress (£60, right) is so sweet, and exclusive to Alex and Alexa.’
Where? Ekies All Senses Resort
Why? This great-value resort’s private beach allows kids to splash about in the warm water while you flop on to a towel on the sand (there’s no elbow-jousting tournaments with fellow sunbathers here).
Family-friendly highlights The lifeguard-manned pool, snorkelling and boat trips liven things up when beach lounging gets too low-key for the kids’ liking, and there’s an indulgent polka-dotted eco spa. We love the space-age twist on traditional blue and white Grecian interiors, re-imagined with Matisse-esque dabs of colour.
Don’t forget… to go exploring: Ekies is perfectly placed to make family forays to some of the prettiest beaches and most interesting spots on the peninsula.
Alexa’s style tips ‘This Grecian-style dress by Stella McCartney Kids (£86, above) is a cool option for breezy boat trips across to Mount Athos and around Vourvourou Bay. Some comfy, cute sandals are a summer-holiday essential for sightseeing and exploring. I love Pom D’Api’s Tan Yapo sandals (£54.50, right) – they’re leather, but with slip-proof soles.’
Where? Borgo Egnazia
Why? This vast Italian estate feels timeless; it’s refined and rustic in style, with sun-bleached walls, weathered Doric columns and a really laid-back, fun atmosphere.
Family-friendly highlights The rooms and private villas are alabaster-hued dens with plenty of space for kids, and there are four pools and two beach clubs on site. The free kids’ club is a Technicolor dream space filled with toys and games, where children aged 3–12 can take part in a range of crafty workshops, and there’s even a special restaurant just for kids.
Don’t forget… to book in your spa treatments and kids’ club spaces before you go.
Alexa’s style tips ‘This Burberry romper (£86, above) in the label’s signature Nova check is perfect for the upscale ambiance here. And for when you’re lounging by the pool, there’s a cute matching cotton hat (£35), to protect against the sun.’
Where? Fellah Hotel
Why? This fashion-forward boutique hotel – quirky art installations pop up throughout and rooms are moody, mod and Moorish – immerses guests in Moroccan culture just outside Marrakech. The rooms are enormous, with beautiful views over the desert and the Atlas Mountains.
Family-friendly highlights A small farm, treehouse, spice stall, well-stocked library and street-food café offer kids a bite of the Berber lifestyle; and boxing and DJ classes, donkey rides and pastry-making are all part of their unique kids’ programme (on offer in the school holidays and on request at other times; check before booking).
Don’t forget… something arty to keep the kids busy and give you downtime at dinner; beautifully illustrated, Anorak magazines for kids (above right) are ideal.
Alexa’s style tips
‘This Crayola-coloured Missoni zig-zag dress (£283, right), will fit right in with the arty atmosphere at this cutting-edge boutique hotel. Brighten up boys’ pool time with a pair of colourful trunks like Dad’s: Orlebar Brown swim shorts (from £95, above) are fun. Kids will love wearing this Hackett straw trilby (£55); pair it with the shorts for DJ lessons at the kids club.’
Alexa Till is one half of the husband-and-wife duo who founded Alex and Alexa, the online department store selling the world’s best luxury kids’ brands. Having two children under the age of five, Alexa and her husband, Alex Theophanous, loathed the stress of family shopping trips, and decided to create a stylish online shopping destination for parents. With a background in the fashion industry, Alexa knew exactly which brands would hit the style high notes while keeping kids comfy.