Where children are guests, not pests

Once upon a time, the most stylish accommodation was always the least child-friendly. No longer. Europe now has plenty of chic hotels for all ages

What's the attraction?

Gone are the days when hotels merely tolerated smaller guests. An increasing number have cottoned on to the fact that parents don't want to compromise on comfort or style and prefer not to be corralled in the furthest corner of the dining room. With Easter looming, there are plenty of family-friendly options in Europe. A good hotel will offer a kids' club, family-friendly rooms that are child-proofed to keep toddlers safe (no sharp corners or expensive, breakable objects), children's meal times, baby listening services, babysitting and, for older children, plenty of facilities and chances to find new friends. It makes all the difference.

A little luxe

The British chain of Luxury Family Hotels (luxuryfamilyhotels.co.uk) strikes a balance between providing everything for a stress-free stay, with a bit of style for the grown-ups. Having sold the collection seven years ago, its founder Nigel Chapman recently regained control and is giving two new properties – New Park Manor, in the New Forest, and Thornbury Manor, near Bristol – the LFH makeover. Until they are finished, the most recent addition is The Polurrian Bay Hotel (01326 240 421; polurrianhotel.com) on Cornwall's Lizard Peninsula. Doubles start at £145, B&B. Children under 16 sharing with parents can stay for free (maximum two).


Beach babes

Spread over a sprawling reserve and fringed by five miles of shallow seas, the Sani Resort (sani-resort.com) on the Kassandra Peninsula in Halkidiki, Greece, consists of four hotels. The Sani Beach Club is aimed at families and there is an impressive array of services including the Ofsted-registered Melissa's crèche (starting from €28 per session) and complimentary kids' clubs, as well as beach buddies who will take care of children on the beach while you go for a dip. New for this year is a range of activities including bird-watching. ITC Classics (01244 355 550; itcclassics.co.uk) has a week for four from £2,299, half-board, with flights.


Ciao bambini!

Chia Laguna Resort has a warm welcome for children (chialagunaresort.com). The hotel is set on the stunning Dunedi Campana Beach on Sardinia's south-western coast. There are four options for accommodation, including the five-star Laguna and the Village, a good choice for families. The resort lays on children's clubs from May to September; there are tennis courts, sports, playgrounds and a "Bimbi" restaurant for children. A Baby Welcome Kit includes a stroller and a changing table. Just Sardinia (01202 484 858; justsardinia.co.uk) offers seven nights' half-board for a family of four from £1,794. Flights extra.


High-altitude adventures

Kinderhotels is a well-kept secret outside Austria (0845 082 2422; kinderhotels.co.uk). The hotels combine all-inclusive stays with childcare and activities in 36 family-owned properties throughout the Alps and beyond. This year there are three new properties, including the Moar-Gut Hotel with 35 family suites in Alpine style and set in the Grossarl region, not far from Salzburg and close to the Hohe Tauern National Park. There is a kindergarten, plus the option of staying overnight in its alpine lodge. Rooms sleeping two adults and one child start at €115 per adult and €38 per child on a full-board basis. Packages for single parents are available.


Easter bunnies

Martinhal Beach Resort & Hotel, on the lesser-developed western edge of the Algarve, has been a popular choice since it opened in 2010. An egg hunt, dozens of activities and five children's clubs catering for infants from six-month-olds to teens are among the options awaiting families staying over the Easter holidays. Between 1-15 April, Western & Oriental (020-7666 1230; wandotravel.com) is offering a price of £999 per adult for seven nights' accommodation in a two-bedroom self-catering garden house with lunch or dinner each day and up to two children staying free with one meal per day. Some activities also included. Flights extra.


Irish eyes

Kelly's Resort Hotel & Spa (00 353 53 913 2114; kellys.ie) in Rosslare, County Wexford, is an Irish institution. Overlooking a five-mile beach on the south-east coast, this family-run hotel, which opened in 1895, prides itself on its warm welcome. Children aged four and upwards can be supervised at the Kid's Pirates Club, offering dressing-up and musical games. Diversions for teenagers include quad-biking and a water sports camp, plus there are two swimming pools. There is also an impressive art collection with works by Picasso and Miró. Doubles start at €170, including breakfast. Children under three are charged at €25 per day.


Hotel villas

Resorts that offer villas or apartments with hotel services are a good family option. Overlooking Turunc Bay on Turkey's Lycian Coast is the Pinyar Villa Hotel. This family-owned property has 10 two-bedroom villas, each with its own pool. Exclusive Escapes (020-8605 3500; exclusiveescapes.co.uk) offers seven nights for a family of four from £2,500, including flights and B&B.

In Crete, the luxurious Daios Cove (00 30 284 106 2600; daioscovecrete.com) has introduced new two- and three-bedroom family villas near Agios Nikolaos. Two-bedroom villas start at €960 (£804) per night, for a family of four, B&B.

Built to resemble a traditional Puglian village, Borgo Egnazia is a swanky resort hotel that offers rooms and townhouses in its white-washed "borgo". Scott Dunn (020-8682 5040; scottdunn.com) offers seven nights for four from £8,300, half-board in a townhouse, including flights.

Aphrodite Hills Resort (00 357 26 82 8000; aphroditehills.com) overlooking Paphos Bay in Cyprus has a large choice of apartments and villas from €190 (£159).

And Aquapura (00 351 256 66 0600; aquapurahotels.com), in Portugal's Douro Valley, is a historic mansion turned luxury hotel with 21 villas. A three-night B&B break in a one-bedroom villa starts at €585 (£490) per adult, €430 per child.


Who said that?

"The most effective kind of education is that a child should play amongst lovely things" – Plato.

"The pursuit of truth and beauty is a sphere of activity in which we are permitted toremain children all our lives" – Albert Einstein

"The best way to make children good is to make them happy" – Oscar Wilde


Insider information

"Find out if a hotel is genuinely family-friendly by asking if it offers any of the following: family rooms or suites, children's menus and meal times, childcare and babysitting, family activities or kids' clubs. Assess safety issues, such as proximity to busy roads and whether pools are fenced off." William Gray, author of 'Travel with Kids' (Footprint guides; £19.99) and 101familyholidays.co.uk.

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
Life and Style
fashionAngelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
Alexis Sanchez, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Mario Balotelli
footballRadamel Falcao and Diego Costa head record £835m influx
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Arts and Entertainment
Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint kiss in Doctor Who episode 'Deep Breath'
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Arts and Entertainment
Danish director Lars von Trier
tvEnglish-language series with 'huge' international cast set for 2016
Life and Style
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Marketing Executive / Member Services Exec

    £20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...

    Sales Account Manager

    £15,000 - £25,000: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for ...

    VB.NET and C# developer (VB.NET,C#,ASP.NET)

    £30000 - £45000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET a...

    Business Development Manager / Sales Pro

    £30 - 35k + Uncapped Comission (£70k Y1 OTE): Guru Careers: A Business Develop...

    Day In a Page

    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

    US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
    Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
    Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
    Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

    The big names to look for this fashion week

    This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
    Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
    Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

    Neil Lawson Baker interview

    ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
    The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

    The model for a gadget launch

    Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
    Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
    Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

    Get well soon, Joan Rivers

    She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
    Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

    A fresh take on an old foe

    Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering