Can’t quite believe we are about to embark upon another Yuletide season but we are and, while there is something reassuringly gorgeous about cold, bracing air and dark afternoons that envelope around us far, far too early, the promise of sunshine splashed across the back on December ain’t bad either. If you’re not booked to bomb off either over the 25th of December or just after, here’s our selection of top three hot Christmas holiday spots for the end of next month.
With orange, fig and pomegranate bulging from delicate garden trees, there are pockets of Marrakech that are peaceful, tranquil and very, very beautiful. But like most Moroccan cities, it consists of an old medina with modern neighbourhoods bordering that. And with that set up comes a torrent of excitement, noise and a lot of heckling. This makes for a cultural bubble of amazing food, smells, sights and new experience that will thrill children. But it can get exhausting, so choosing the right luxury family hotels outside the medina is highly recommended. We are light on places to eat because smoking is still allowed in public but embrace Marrakech for all its wonderment.
We love: La Mamounia.
La Mamounia reopened several years back after a huge refurbishment but it has, for over a century, always been revered for its gilded, gold and beautifully ornate floors, gigantic Moroccan lanterns that swing seductively from ceilings and bedrooms, so utterly luxurious, you’ll want to unpack forever.
The spa makes its worth a stay in itself. Most spas in Morocco offer the traditional “Hammam” and La Mamounia is no exception. One day, two day and weekly spa passes are available and, aside from wellness treatments, there is a beauty parlour. Breakfast of fresh fruit by the large outdoor pool is a wonderful way to start the day, a tranquil and peaceful few moments, which will be greatly appreciated once you step out into the chaos of Marrakech’s inner city limits. The chaos is wonderful in its own way, but the tranquility of this hotel both at the start and finish of your day, made it a leader in travel awards every year.
Board games are available at the business center for families to borrow and children are constantly offered ice-creams by the outdoor pool. The gardens can only be described as perfect, and being spread over 8 hectares, they are instant natural playgrounds for little ones. A children’s menu is available in all four restaurants (Le Marocain, Le Francais, L’Italien and le Pavillon which is located pool-side). And of course children’s food is available with room service. Horse-riding and quad excursions can be arranged for children and there are babysitting services.
To book this hotel, click here.
British Virgin Islands
At a glance, you might think The British Virgin Islands are a piece of paradise best suited to savvy sailors or loved-up honeymooners. But do consider them for a seriously luxurious family holiday. The BVI ticks the boxes for a luxury family holiday thanks to its laid back Caribbean vibe, endless water activities for the kids and maximum tranquillity for frazzled parents. Lying east of Puerto Rico, and dubbed ‘nature’s little secrets,’ the BVI are a cluster of over 50 idyllic islands and cays. Their lure is exclusive seclusion. By choosing a shore-side hotel or villa, with a view of twinkling, turquoise waters and pristine white sands, you have no choice but to slow right down.
We love: Rosewood Little Dix Bay.
A resort that’s tranquil and elegant yet still ultra child-friendly will always get a big thumbs up from families. At the long-established Rosewood Little Dix Bay, every last detail has been considered to make sure babies, children and parents feel deliriously pampered. From babysitting to bottle warmers to golf buggies that pick you up for dinner (in case little legs can’t manage the walk to the restaurant,) a call to the concierge can sort it.
The rooms, suites, villas and beach cottages are lux, adorned with plenty of wood, natural stone and pale linen furnishings. The views out across the half-crescent bay will impress, too. Down on the private beach, the water is shallow and protected, perfect for splashing and paddling with babies and toddlers. Older children will love the complimentary kayaks, floatables and snorkelling gear, all available at their disposal.
Hire a babysitter, book a waterside table, and work your way through the taster menu in the fine dining Sugar Mill restaurant; it’s upscale and hugely intimate. At the cliff-top Sense spa you can indulge in blissful botanical treatments with views over the rest of the BVI.
Children’s Grove houses the kids’ club, which organises everything from treasure hunts to shell collecting, nature walks to art projects on a daily, fun-filled basis. Children will also adore their own mini robes, tiny slippers and in-room toiletry range.
To book this hotel, click here.
Love the idea or balk at a UAE desert vacation, there is no denying that Dubai has it all for families and guarantees serious latherings of sunshine. And never has a city been built so specifically with luxury family holidays in mind, as Dubai. This glittering desert hotspot is undoubtedly one of the most luxurious and glamorous travel destinations in the world and it has something for the whole family: children will have a ball discovering the desert but keeping cool splashing in the endless waterparks, swimming pools and, of course, the sea. It is a shopping mecca, where fast cars, rejuvenating spas, gourmet restaurants and family-friendly day trips on dune buggies will take your breath away. Whether you want to relax and unwind or take in the city’s endless activities, Dubai is a must.
We love: Atlantis The Palm.
Built on reclaimed land, Atlantis The Palm is, quite literally, a city-sized hotel that rose from the sea. This alone will capture your kid’s imagination, and that’s before they’ve had the chance to swim with dolphins in Dubai. Every hotel room and suite boasts spectacular views of either The Palm and Dubai skyline, or the Arabian Sea. 90% of rooms are interconnecting so perfect for families. Offering one of the best buffets in Dubai, a spotless beach and a huge aquarium, Atlantis, The Palm is the ultimate family friendly holiday spot.
With 27 treatment rooms and ‘his’ and ‘hers’ separate sections or sessions when needed, the ShuiQi Spa and Fitness centre is a great escape for stressed parents. 20 restaurants, bars and lounges with food by world-renowned chefs means you can have a romantic date in Dubai every night without even leaving Atlantis, The Palm. The Nobu High Brunch is a treat, and, should you be interested, there is a helicopter service to fly elsewhere across the city in style.
The Atlantis Kid’s Club offers new adventures every day for kids aged 3 to 12 with everything from underwater safaris to cooking classes and creative activities on the beach. There are Wii, Xbox 360’s and PlayStation 3’s in the Command Centre, as well as climbing walls in the Play Zone. Club Rush provides teens aged 13 to 18 with an exclusive hangout. No parents allowed. If the children are keen on swimming with dolphins, don’t miss a trip to Dolphin Bay.
To book this hotel, click here.