Q&A: Where can we take our baby (no children's clubs, please)?

The Independent Parent: Your questions answered
Click to follow
The Independent Travel

Q We are exhausted first-time parents with a six-month-old baby, looking for a relaxing holiday abroad. Having investigated a few "family-friendly" package holidays we have decided to avoid resorts with children's clubs as we know we have plenty of years ahead of us for that! Our preferred choice would be an independent hotel in Europe by the coast, which would offer high chairs and a baby-listening service, while we eat in their excellent restaurant. France and the Balearics are of particular interest. What do you suggest?

Q We are exhausted first-time parents with a six-month-old baby, looking for a relaxing holiday abroad. Having investigated a few "family-friendly" package holidays we have decided to avoid resorts with children's clubs as we know we have plenty of years ahead of us for that! Our preferred choice would be an independent hotel in Europe by the coast, which would offer high chairs and a baby-listening service, while we eat in their excellent restaurant. France and the Balearics are of particular interest. What do you suggest?

J Finn, Cheshire

A Mallorca, the largest and most diverse of the Balearic Islands, is trying to rid itself of its cheap and cheerful image and gain a reputation as an upmarket retreat – partly due to the new eco-tax being imposed on all holidaymakers from this summer. The island has long had a good supply of small and intimate luxury hotels. This, combined with a vast number of flight options, great food, reliable sunshine and a stunning coastline makes it a sound first choice. One good company to try if you're keen to take a "non-children's-club approach" is Alternative Mallorca (0870 754 4545; www.alternativemallorca.com). It features accommodation predominately in small, independent hotels in picturesque locations. The company can also provide information on everything from which hotels provide high chairs, to child- friendly restaurants.

One property that seems to suit your requirements is Bon Sol, a beautiful hotel set high on a clifftop, only a five-minute drive from the capital, Palma. The hotel is surrounded by towering pines and luxurious gardens and has its own small, private beach. It provides a baby-listening service, which means you will be able to enjoy (hopefully) uninterrupted meals in the hotel restaurant or in the neighbouring small town of Genova. The Bon Sol also offers tennis courts, a sauna, a pool and a children's play area. A seven-night trip for all three of you, including accommodation on a B&B basis, flights and transfers, starts from £986 in low season and £1,512 during high season. The cost of the same holiday without flights in July would be around £959, if you would prefer to take advantage of some of the no-frills flights to Mallorca. Go (0870 60 76543, www.go-fly.com) flies to Palma from Stansted from £83 return and Bristol from £78 return, while easyJet (0870 600 0000, www.easyjet.com) flies from Liverpool, Luton and Gatwick from £80 return. Children under the age of two not occupying a seat fly for free.

If you elect to organise your own flights, then another company that might be of interest is Reis de Mallorca ( www.reisdemallorca.com), an association of independent Mallorcan hotels. You will also be interested to learn that excellent Mallorcan cuisine is an integral part of each member hotel's menu. Of the 27 hotels in the collection, two particularly suit your needs: Ses Rotges (00 34 971 563 108, www.sesrotges.com) on the north-eastern coast and Palacia Ca Sa Galesa (00 34 971 715 400, www.palaciacasagalesa.com) in Palma.

The former, Ses Rotges, is an intimate hotel with only 20 rooms which makes it an ideal base for a tranquil and relaxing holiday. It is a five-minute walk from the beach at Son Moll. It also has a Michelin-starred restaurant and is able to offer parents a baby-listening service. Double rooms start from €42 (£30) per person per night plus a charge of €18 (£11) per night if you require a cot.

Palacio Ca Sa Galesa is another child-friendly hotel housed in a restored 17th-century palace in the heart of Palma. The city itself is around a 15-minute drive from the beach. However, the hotel has an indoor swimming pool and an outdoor children's pool on the terrace. Double rooms cost from €125 (£78) per person per night, including breakfast; cots are provided at no extra cost.

Southern France has plenty of excellent baby-friendly hotels along its coast. French Expressions (020-7431 1312, www.frenchexpressions.co.uk) is a specialist in tailor-made holidays and offers 11 hotels on the Côte d'Azur in its brochure. One of the most suitable for your family is L'Ermitage du Riou in Mandelieu-la-Napoule, five miles from Cannes. The hotel has its own stretch of private beach and offers a baby-listening and baby-sitting service should you wish to disappear for a romantic dinner. You can even sample wines produced by the owners' vineyard. Seven nights costs from £925 per person in high season, which includes return flights to Nice and car hire. Your six-month-old travels and stays free of charge.

Comments