Luxury Family Holidays Handpicked for Parents

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Chloe and Marina of Marloe

Marina Sevier and Chloe Riddell launched Marloe London in November 2015 and their luxury scarf blankets are sold in stores worldwide, including Selfridges. They recently collaborated with Chloe Delevigne and the Lady Garden Campaign. Marina has a three year old girl called Uma and a one year old son, called Leo. Chloe has a four year old boy, Rufus and two year old Cosmo. They met as teenagers but reconnected in West London, where they both live, with their children in tow.

Q: What is your first childhood memory of travel?

M: I must have been four or five years old. As the taxi pulled off from Tel Aviv airport, I realised I’d left my beloved teddy on the plane. After raising the alarm, it was a matter of minutes before heavily armed guards reunited me with my bear; a surreal experience and a dramatic start to ex-pat life in the Middle East!

Q: Where have you had your best holiday to date? 

C: Before becoming parents, my husband and I used to regularly escape for weekends glamping in Wales – cosy and back to nature and an escape from the pace of London life. I miss being able to go for long walks pre-children.

M: I have always loved going to Tresco in the Scilly Isles. It is such a special place with or without kids. As a one off, my favourite holiday was my honeymoon in Cuixmala on the Pacific coast of Mexico. It is an eco-paradise. Perhaps for the golden wedding anniversary, I might be lucky enough to return!

Q: Where was the first place you went with a little one in tow? How did it go?

C: We went to my mother’s house in Zakynthos, Greece. The flight was delayed by 12 hours and I definitely did not bring enough supplies as was not expecting this together with a nappy explosion on our return flight during a period of turbulence or what my husband now refers to as ‘turdulance’. I ended up having to use my Marloe as a sarong as my jeans were so toxic!

M: We went to Paxos, an idyllic island off the coast of Corfu. Train, plane, car, hovercraft and a further car made for a long day of travel with a little 4 month old baby! We were woken at 5am every morning but it was worth it. FYI: Gro-Anywhere black-out blinds are a must for any holiday.

Marloe wrap

Q: How do you find the experience of travelling with children generally? 

C: I always expect the worse and often I am pleasantly surprised. My four old is definitely easier than my two year old, who will not sit still. I don’t know how our parents managed without iPads!

M: The idea of being on a train or plane without my children would be a holiday in itself! Travelling with two under three is full on – there are always highs and lows and it is always wonderful to arrive and breathe.

Do you ever travel with your children for work?

M: We went to a textiles show in Paris when we were both pregnant with number 2. By the end of the day, we were so shattered we fell asleep in the station and nearly missed the Eurostar! But because our Marloe scarf blankets are made in England we don’t tend to do much travelling abroad. 

Q: Where was your best holiday with your child?

M: For the last three years we’ve had family holidays in Cornwall. It is the best of British and timeless family fun. Ice cream for breakfast, sandy sandwiches for lunch and cream teas. The Marloe really came into its own as a wind-breaker on Polzeath beach!

Q: And your worst?

C: Any scenario when we are all sharing a room because it often results in no one getting any sleep.

M: The day before our flight we had to pull out of a holiday to Spain because of chicken pox.

Q: What is your must-have travel accessory when away with children?

C: Our Marloe London luxury muslin scarf blankets are like a swiss army knife for mothers and children. The list of uses is endless.

Marloe shawl

Q: And top tips for travel with kids?  

M: I think it is always good to be well-prepared and pragmatic. A stash of snacks and an iPad are invaluable. I always have a dummy and bottle for a flight, lots of baby wipes, spare clothes and a Marloe.

What made you launch Marloe in the first place? What was the inspiration behind the designs?

M: We wanted an accessory that was both beautiful and practical. They are hand dip dyed in England and all have our signature scallop stitch edging. They are extra large and soft and make the perfect gift for mother and baby. Each one comes beautifully giftwrapped and can be personalised with name, date or initials.

With summer coming up, what is your must-have Marloe product that you feel would make travel that little bit more comfortable for parents and children?

C: Genuinely, a Marloe London scarf blanket is the most useful item you can have – it’s a blanket, shawl, beach towel, sarong….

Can you tell us a little more about the Lady Garden Campaign and how you got involved?

M: Mother of two, Chloe Delevingne is fronting our collaboration with the Lady Garden Campaign. We have launched a limited edition Marloe especially designed for mothers and daughters, to raise awareness and funds for gynaecological cancer. The idea of the campaign is to empower women to talk openly about their lady parts and not to be embarrassed about going to the doctor to discuss symptoms. Early diagnosis makes all the difference. During April, 100% of profits went to The Gynaecological Cancer Fund and from now onwards 25% of profits will be donated to the charity.

Chloe Delevigne and The Lady Garden Campaign


Tom Laing is a freelance travel writer currently based in Santiago, Chile. He grew up in Sussex, spending his summers jumping in freezing rivers in the Scottish Highlands and trying to light fires in the drizzle. A self-confessed travelaholic who has visited close to 80 countries (and counting), he now focuses on passing on his wanderlust to his 18 month old son, Joshua. He writes about his recent trip to the the Shangri-La Le Touessrok Resort & Spa in Mauritius and why it mustn’t be missed when planning family holidays.

Tom Laing and Joshua

It’s hard not to be wowed by the arrival at the Shangri-La Le Touessrok Resort & Spa in Mauritius. A long driveway winds through palm trees before opening out to reveal the cobalt ocean beyond the onsite helipad. Pulling up at the entrance, a beaming porter hands you a damp towel to scrub off the journey before escorting you along a walkway over a fish-filled pool, which sweeps you into the cool, airy lobby.

Unfortunately my entrance wasn’t quite this smooth, disrupted somewhat as we crossed the pool. Our 18 month old son Joshua, still holding the plastic spade that he’d carried with him from the UK, picked his moment and lobbed it at a passing carp. The spade ricocheted off the floor and disappeared under the walkway, agonisingly out of my reach even whilst sprawled sheepishly on my tummy, arm reaching into the slimy depths below whilst Josh peered over the edge above me, chattering excitedly at the fish. The damp-towel porter got a bit damper in the retrieval, handing the spade back to Josh with an extravagant bow before departing to change his trousers.

Shangri-La Le Touessrok Resort & Spa in Mauritius waterway

We make a beeline for Le Touessrok’s main beach, a stretch of white powdery sand facing a little island and a sheltered lagoon of clear blue water. A waiter patrols the beach on a Segway, delivering fruit and cocktails to scattered sunbathers. The flight seems an age away as we stretch out on towels, Josh industriously shifting sand between buckets as the waves lap at his feet. Just above the beach, the main pool is as warm as a bath and one end is just as shallow – ideal for little ones to splash around in whilst Mum and Dad sprawl in the sun. The other pool, over at the Frangipanni wing, is adults-only for those looking for a more sedate experience. 

The hotel has a children’s centre known as the T-Club, which puts on children’s activities every day if they want a change from the bucket and spade; line them up for a table tennis competition or let them loose on the climbing frame. There are even giant tortoises to hunt in the garden.

Shangri-La Le Touessrok Resort & Spa in Mauritius beach

Children’s meals can be organised for lunch and supper – T-Club staff accompany the children to the main restaurant leaving Mum and Dad to sample the smarter options elsewhere. Try Saffron, an Indian restaurant that serves up Southern Indian dishes such as tandoori salmon or Mauritian classics (there’s a strong Indian influence on the island) such as chicken and prawn curry, or Kushi, a Japanese restaurant with its own sushi chef.

Shangri-La Le Touessrok Resort & Spa in Mauritius pool

We wander in to the T-Club late our first evening, disorientated after the flight and looking for some pasta and cheese sauce for Josh. Supper duly delivered, we stick around, trading jokes with the older kids whilst Josh throws penne on the floor. There’s nothing to make you feel old like being asked to tell a joke to a 6 year old and receiving a withering “I’ve heard that one before” when you deliver your killer punchline.

 Shangri-La Le Touessrok Resort & Spa in Mauritius pool and beach

“What do you call a round apple?” our new friend Milly asks, launching into a joke of her own. “A face!”

I confess I didn’t get it, and Milly must have seen it in my expression.

“Because a face is round, like an apple!” Milly explains, knowingly. Perhaps you had to be there, I mumble in response.

The next morning, my wife and I go in search of the spa – we might as well take advantage of the babysitting on offer, after all. The 90 minute couples’ massage draws our attention, so Josh is safely deposited, making the most of the special rate on the 4-hour block so as not to rush that blissful post-spa feeling. If weary parents start wondering why they brought the terrors on holiday in the first place, there’s even an 8-hour option.

Shangri-La Le Touessrok Resort & Spa in Mauritius beachfront 

Alternatively, you can take them along with you and make the most of the children’s spa menu – how about a family body painting session to introduce the little nippers to the joys of holistic wellness? Inspired by body painting traditions of the rainforest and involving a body scrub, mud painting and a soothing body balm massage to finish, it’ll be sure to raise expectations for all future family holidays. 

After a couple of days spent digging up the various beaches, we venture further afield, catching a boat from the hotel’s jetty to the hotel’s private island of Ilot Mangénie just off the coast. Ringed by soft white sand, we spend an afternoon exploring this forested islet before tucking into some lobster and shellfish under the trees.

Our next stop is Trou aux Biches, on Mauritius’ North West tip. The beach villas stretch along the length of the hotel’s long coastline, each with its own private plunge pool. They’re well equipped for youngsters – we find a cot pre-made in the spacious room, and a baby bath and children’s loo seat and potty ready in the bathroom, whilst a highchair can be delivered by room service.

Shangri-La Le Touessrok Resort & Spa in Mauritius palm trees 

Across the hotel, other swimming pools and gardens offer plenty of little areas for Josh to chase birds and hunt lizards in the shade. The beach, of course, is only metres away – ideal for toddler tumbles although as I discovered the soft fine sand is structurally unsound from a sandcastle-building perspective. Josh seems unperturbed, more inclined to collect pieces of coral from the water’s edge whilst I work on my Caernarfon replica undisturbed.

Behind the beach, a palm-thronged promenade winds its way through the trees in front of the villas. A golf buggy laden with drinks and snacks patrols up and down, stocking up thirsty sunbathers with refreshments and met, on each lap, by an excited “Ice cream!” by Josh.

Having developed a taste for it at the Shangri-La, we go to check out the Bob Marlin kids’ club, planning another pampering in the spa sans-child. A big paddling pool and playground quickly catch Josh’s eye, and various activities, ranging from collage-making and face-painting to cooking classes and treasure hunts promise to keep the little ones distracted for hours.

The place really comes into its own after dark. Thousands of lights illuminate the walkways and line the pools, connecting the clusters of villas to the hotel’s 6 restaurants and bars. With Josh safely tucked up in bed, we venture out one evening to the Thai restaurant Blue Ginger for a civilised supper of pad thai and prawn skewers – meals with Josh invariably descend into a food fight or hunger strike, depending on his mood. The meal is interspersed with quick dashes towards our room as the range of our brand new baby monitor doesn’t quite reach our table. Heaven’s knows what our fellow diners think, seeing us sporadically leave the restaurant only to pause halfway across the lawn, peering at a screen and nodding to ourselves with satisfaction before returning to the table. Still, it’s a small price to pay to enjoy a glass of wine without fear of small hands hurling it across the room.

Shangri-La Le Touessrok Resort & Spa in Mauritius Tom, Abbie and Joshua

Our final stop takes us back to the East coast, just up the shoreline from Le Touessrok to the Lux* Belle Mare. Boasting the largest pool in Mauritius, a grand sweep of water overlooked by the main restaurant and bar on one side and sun-loungers on the other, the Belle Mare is one of three Lux* properties on the island.

By this stage Josh is an expert, heading directly for the pool and not breaking a stride as he calls for his buckets over his shoulder. Mummy and Daddy follow obediently with towels, hats, and suncream, and all the other paraphernalia that accompany a little person on holiday.

The next morning they lay on a special breakfast on the beach. The tide slowly crawls up the sand towards our feet as we eat fresh fruit, and eggs and bacon under the cover of a big umbrella, the warm breeze hinting at another hot day to come. Josh slurps on mango juice and tucks into a huge plate of watermelon, whilst waiters fuss around bringing him crayons and paper, and an extra bucket and spade. After a week in Mauritius, he’s certainly made himself at home.

Our last evening we book a babysitter for an uninterrupted supper at the Indian restaurant Amari by Vineet, run by Michelin star chef Vineet Bhatia. We start with the chicken tikka trilogy – 3 different flavours of chicken tikka, one coated in malai-pine nuts, another marinated in chili-lime and the third covered in black spices, followed by lobster with a macadamia chili crust and a lentil sauce; absolutely delicious.

Exhausted by a day paddling in the sea, and not much of a curry fan at 18 months, Josh is bathed and sleeping long before our supper time. The babysitter arrives once he’s already down, so we leave her to sit in a dark room for 3 hours whilst we pop out.

Mauritius is made for family holidays, and it seems a shame to tear Josh away from the beach to head home. The only downside is that he seems to have grown a little too accustomed to the service – I haven’t delivered the watermelon he just ordered and he appears to be calling for the manager. 

Fact Box:

Susie Freeman Travel offers the following packages:

Seven nights half board in a Deluxe Ocean View Room at Shangri-La Le Touessrok Mauritius from £1500 per person including return flights in economy and return private car transfers.

Seven nights half board in a Junior Suite at Trou aux Biches Beachcomber Resort and Spa from £1825 per person including return flights in economy and return private car transfers.

Seven nights half board in a Junior Suite at Lux* Belle Mare from £1500 per person including return flights in economy and return private car transfers.

www.susiefreemantravel.com

Tel: 01488 668821


The half-term holidays are heaven in this house. Everyone is shattered, overworked and the kids are usually snotty (let’s be honest) with the ever-changing outdoor temperatures. Lola sleeps late and I revel in not doing the school run. But if we aren’t jetting off it’s lovely to inject a little culture amidst the sleepy, sofa-filled afternoons and blustery beach walks we all so love. And this half term that’s easier than ever. Best of England, which launched with the aim of providing a carefully curated portfolio of independent businesses throughout the country (think pubs, restaurants, vineyards, places to stay, antique treasure troves and family days out), have come up with their top English favourite family-friendly museums, which we thought we’d share in case you need a little inspiration……

The Jerwood Gallery, Hastings

Jerwood Gallery Hastings

The Jerwood Gallery is a modern building located in the utterly charming and historic old town of Hastings. Home to the Jerwood Collection of modern British art, the gallery is fabulous for art fanatics, but it is also suitable for less experienced visitors and families visiting with younger children. There’s even a children’s trail to help you explore the gallery, its collection and exhibitions so they won’t feel they’re being dragged around a grown up exhibition and are much more likely to get involved with what they’re seeing.

The Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne

The Towner Art Gallery Eastbourne

The Towner Art Gallery is an award winning contemporary art gallery and museum in Eastbourne. Every summer, they present a major exhibition, with recent shows including Eric Ravilios, John Piper and Peggy Angus. Open since 1923, The Towner collection now numbers over 4,000 art objects including oil paintings, watercolours, works on paper, etchings, prints, sculpture, wood cuts and ceramic objects and is one of the most significant public art collections in the South East. The museum is very welcoming to kids and families with regular activities and workshops to keep the little ones busy. There is a cafe on the top floor with views over Eastbourne and entry is free. (Note the gallery is closed on Mondays).
Pallant House Gallery, Chichester

 Pallant House Gallery, Chichester

Pallant House Gallery is located in the historic town of Chichester, tucked away behind East and South street. It may not have the reputation of The Tate but this gallery holds one of the most significant collections of Modern British Art in the country. Aside from its exhibition programme, it also offers an array of talks, workshops for both children and adults, tours, a specialist on-site bookshop and an on-site restaurant with courtyard garden.

The Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft, Ditchling

The Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft, Ditchling

Situated in the attractive town of Ditchling, The Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft is an unmissable stop for those on the art trail in Sussex. The Museum has a fantastic collection of local artwork and artifacts that focus on showcasing Ditchling’s finest artist’s work. In 2012 the buildings were part of a massive renovation project and have been beautifully finished. The Museum also has a large open café and shop, serving delicious locally sourced cakes and drinks. As well as exhibitions and galleries the Museum also hold a variety of workshops and events including regular art clubs for young people.

The De La Warr Pavillion, Bexhill

The De La Warr Pavillion, Bexhill

The De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill-on-Sea has become a modernist icon on the South Coast and provides a fantastic program of contemporary arts, renowned musicians and learning activities. The building was the result of an architectural competition held in 1934 and, as well as browsing through the art work or watching live music, you can enjoy some delicious food in the Café Bar, which overlooks the beautiful coastline. A large veranda is gorgeous on summery days and, as family days out go, this is a fabulous option.


Culinary Backstreets got its start in 2009 as the blog Istanbul Eats, founded by Ansel Mullins and Yigal Schleifer. Taking on its present form in 2012, it has expanded beyond Istanbul and into several other cities worldwide. In Istanbul and elsewhere, the goal is always the same: to introduce travelers and locals to a city’s best unknown traditional eateries and to celebrate the food makers keeping these places alive. Yigal Schleifer is Culinary Backstreet’s Editor-in-chief and chats to kodomo.com about this fantastic, family-friendly business.

Culinary Backstreets Kostas

So what exactly is Culinary Backstreets’ Eatinerary?

The Eatinerary is a food-focused custom travel itinerary that we developed after realizing two important things: firstly, finding great local and authentic places to eat and avoiding tourist traps is one of the most stressful parts of travel and, secondly, more and more people now are structuring their travel days around where they eat, making the search for those great food spots all the more important (and, again, stressful). So, we decided to make it easier for travelers by crafting for them an itinerary that guides them to all those vacation-defining, special places that they might not have found on their own. The final product is a PDF document that can be either printed out or used on a mobile device that serves as an indispensible travel companion.

How does is work?

The Eatinerary is created using a client’s taste and Culinary Backstreets’ on-the-ground expertise. To get started, someone goes to our site and fills out the online Eatinerary survey, which asks them a series of questions that gives us a good sense of how and what they like to eat and what particular cravings they may have. We then send that survey to one of our local correspondents who gets to work on creating the guide. Depending on the profile, we’ll send you to the best backstreet dive bar, the busiest lunchtime joint or a romantic place to impress your beloved. We’ll also advise you on eating with kids, the best options for vegetarians or what to avoid if you’re on a particular diet. And, whether it’s someone’s first or fiftieth time in a particular city, we’ll be sure to send them only to the spots that we’ve tried and tested ourselves.

Culinary Backstreets steamed buns

How can travelling families use the Eatinerary?

This service is really ideal for families, who have an even harder time when it comes to finding those perfect places to eat while travelling. As we all know, travelling with kids can often limit our options for what to do and where to go to eat, but we don’t think family travel should mean the end of eating really well. With our Eatinerary, for example, we’ve directed families to the best local spots in Barcelona that also serve dinner before bedtime, exceptional kebab joints in Istanbul that just happen to have kid-friendly museums nearby and to friendly Shanghai noodle houses where the staff will happily listen to your request to hold the spicy chili oil. Of course, with the Eatinerary we can also send a family to a city’s best traditional ice cream spots or its top chocolate makers, places that will leave the kids giddy with delight. We see our job as making sure our clients – and that includes the little ones – have the gastronomic holiday of a lifetime.

Culinary Backstreets child eating

Can you tell us a bit more about what else Culinary Backstreets offers?

The global guide to local eats, Culinary Backstreets covers the authentic food scene and offers small group culinary walks in several cities around the world. We got our start in 2009 as Istanbul Eats, a blog devoted to exploring Istanbul’s best local eateries, and soon after started offering food walks that took visitors off the typical tourist map and into neighborhoods and little restaurants they typically wouldn’t have gone to. In 2012, we expanded beyond Turkey, bringing our model of telling the story of a city through its food and the people who make it, to several other locations worldwide. Today, we are working in nine different cities and offer several different walks in each place we work in. Along with our reviews, walks and Eatineraries, we also help people explore our cities with guidebooks and an app that we’ve developed.

Where are you currently offering your Eatinerary service?

Eatineraries are available in every city that Culinary Backstreets works in, which currently include Athens, Barcelona, Istanbul, Lisbon, Mexico City, Rio, Shanghai, Tbilisi and Tokyo. But, we are always in the process of adding more cities to our roster, so stay tuned!


We spend a lot of time hauling little ones around with us, determined not to make leisure pursuits 100% ‘kid-friendly’ and lose all pre-kid identity. But, sometimes, the most relaxing thing to do is to just give over and head somewhere that caters for your family’s every need. Cue New Park Manor in the New Forest.
New Park Manor exterior
The phrases ‘family friendly’ and ‘luxury hotel’ aren’t instantly harmonious in my mind. It’s hard to appreciate the finer things in life when your (or, worst still, someone else’s) toddler is having a melt down or singing Frozen songs at maximum volume. However, once my mindset about luxury hotels (serene, chic, boozy, romantic) had readjusted, (welcoming, enthusiastic, helpful, homely) I realised that New Park Manor offered something pretty special – time away as a family, where everyone gets a proper break.
New Park Manor spa
On a recent road trip to the West Country we stopped off at New Park Manor in the New Forest – the closest property to London, nestled in the heart of one of the UK’s most family-friendly national parks. Just two hours from our front door, we drove up to an unassuming 17th century manor house surrounded by polo fields with pretty gardens and a hefty but complimentary modern extension. After a whirlwind tour we realised killing time at New Park Manor wouldn’t be a problem – several dining rooms, a snug, playroom, cinema room, creche, spa, outdoor pool, indoor pool, chicken coup, mini football pitch, trampoline and tipi were all at our fingertips.
New Park Manor pool
Our family suite was tucked away in the attic of the old house, where two cosy bedrooms and a huge bathroom were well kitted out for a weekend away. Travel cots, a baby monitor, creche details and even milk delivery and a cleaning schedule were all in place – reducing faff considerably. More time for lunch and exploring the hotel…
With so many kids on site, lunch at New Park Manor was a little more lively than anticipated. Tables were set up for kids as much as they were for adults with high chairs, plastic cutlery and huge plates of spaghetti bolognese in view at every turn. It wasn’t until the evening that I realised that dining at New Park Manor is a tale of two halves. At lunch and tea kids rule the show (between 4.30 and 6pm the hotel lay on a very convenient kids tea); after 7pm it’s all about the grown ups – seriously fine food, wine and candlelight with not a beaker in sight.
New Park Manor kids
The activities on offer at New Park Manor far outstripped our 24 hour visit, although our toddler did his best to tick them off – football, horses, tipi, chickens, trampoline, making ice cream sundaes, cartoons, painting and swimming; (that’s about a month’s worth of activities in the space of four hours). During this time, my husband and I managed to sneak away from the creche for full body massages and a wallow in the outdoor Jacuzzi – a magical spot overlooking the fog-filled forest.
If you can drag yourself away from the hotel (2 hours a day of complimentary creche time make it hard to do so), the New Forest is a haven of family-friendly fun. Gentle cycling paths and walking routes weave across wild heathlands filled with roaming deer and horses. Activities on the doorstep of the hotel also provide year-round entertainment, including numerous wildlife parks and the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu. For simple pleasures, Brockenhurst is home to wonderfully old-fashioned tea rooms and sweet shops. For seaside fun head to the pretty harbour town of Lymington for fish and chips and boutique shops and to the huge beach at Milford on Sea for big waves and Solent views.
To book this hotel click here.
For other UK family-friendly hotels click here.