Luxury Family Holidays Handpicked for Parents

Monthly Archives: January 2014

Hotel Traube Tonbach

Germany’s Black Forest is high on my list of must-visit places. With its mountainous landscape and ethereal expanses it has long been noted to me by German friends as one of the country’s utmost beautiful spots. But, while the wooded areas may be notoriously gorgeous, that still doesn’t inspire me to camp; and now I’ve learnt about the Hotel Traube Tonbach, I can whisk Lola off with me and leave any thoughts of a tent firmly at home (not that I own one, admittedly).

This five-star beauty has been a favourite in the area since the 1950s (though the building itself dates back to 1789) and it’s as welcoming to adults as is it is their children. Parents will love the cooking school that hosts lessons on site (with the hotel’s sommelier recommending accompanying wine depending on what is cooked during that seminar). The spa offers a fabulous array of treatments, though your children will love joining you in the family sauna with its panoramic views of the surrounding area (clothes are required, of course). The outdoor salt water pool is heated year round so you can take in the unrivalled Black Forest enclave that surrounds the hotel, while indoors you’ll find saltwater and freshwater swimming pools, four whirlpools and a children’s pool. Don’t fancy dressing for lunch? Don’t need to. The poolside bistro serves delicious salads, snacks and fresh juices.

Hotel Traube Tonbach

The local golf and hiking are, as one imagines in such a location, incredible. But if your children don’t want to join you, the hotel has more than enough on offer to keep them happy. An excellent and highly qualified childcare team arrange activities daily for children aged 3 and up. From pancake-making to arts and crafts, torchlit walks through the forest to billiards, local farm visits to story time, your little ones will be more than occupied if you want some time to enjoy the hotel’s more adult amenities. The Traube Kids’ Court is an epic playroom full of endless toys and games, and it’s also where children meet daily for lunch and the ever-popular kids’ dinner.

And fear not: language need not be a barrier. While the majority of children who visit are German, there are ever-increasing numbers of English-speaking guests so the fun and games are offered in both languages. So, lashings and luxury and fantastic choices for Lola? I’m in.

For other German destinations and hotels recommended by see


The Landmark Exterior entrance

I was lucky enough to enjoy a night at The Landmark hotel, London back in 2010 and, though it was a mere 24 hours (if that) that I languished in a gorgeous room, ate to my heart’s content in the hotel’s restaurant, 222, and relaxed in the hotel’s stunning spa, I’ve not forgotten a second of it since.

That was before having a child, when I could strike 24 hours out of my life for a press visit without a thought for school runs, bed times and my own maternal need to see Lola everyday. So it was a joy to read this week of the half term deals at the Landmark, a hotel I had thought of as ideal for couples in the capital. The Landmark is, it turns out, extremely family-friendly and strikes me as an ideal getaway for those seeking a last-minute break in the upcoming half term holidays. (For readers outside the UK this is obviously too far to come for a few days but we highly recommend you look into this hotel when visiting London with children).

So location-wise this is astonishing. You’re a stone’s throw from London Zoo, a glorious place loaded with memories for most who grew up in this city. Regent’s Park, with its secretive winding gardens, tennis courts and endless stretches of greenery, is also only a brief walk away. And those after retail therapy with their children on board will love the fact that the retail meccas that are Oxford Street, Regent Street and Westfield Shopping Centre are just a brief taxi ride away.

In terms of accommodation, The Landmark offers large and luxurious family rooms, which can sleep two adults and two children under 12, with ease. There are also adjoining rooms available if you want something that feels more like an apartment.

The Landmark hotel's winter garden

222 and The Winter Garden, (a stunning open space in the heart of the hotel that is indoors despite what the name might suggest) both offer children’s menus with as much variety on offer for kids as for parents. (This makes a refreshing change from the usual few requisite kids’ items added lazily to the end of adult menus, don’t you think?)

And the stunning aforementioned spa? Well, that considers children as much as parents with special kids’ times in the swimming pool at the Spa and Health Club, meaning you can relax during a massage safe in the knowledge that they are happily occupied just feet away. And if your tots are too tiny to leave unaccompanied, fear not, because the hotel’s concierge will gladly arrange a babysitter or nanny for you.

This half term holiday may only be weeks away but the hotel still has a few precious family rooms available that start at £414 per night.

See other London hotels featured in our guide to the UK on


italy skiing

Tantalizing gourmet food, perfect powdery skiing and a heavenly spa you can enjoy with your kids? That is what I’ve recently been enjoying in Alta Badia snow paradise resort, which rises high at the heart of Italy’s pinkish Dolomites mountain range. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, I highly recommend the hotel Ciasa Salares for your accommodation, a beautiful 4-star property nestled close to the picturesque village of San Cassiano.

The wood-floor rooms with panoramic terraces overlooking the snow-capped peaks are cosy, warm and ever so inviting. The spa is simply divine: after a day skiing, treat yourself to an Alpine Healthcare Bath with straw blossoms and juniper, while the kids play in the pool or in the hotel’s playground under the supervision of professional babysitters.

And the best bit is that there is no need to plan much ahead, because family-friendly, luxury tour operator Powder Byrne delivers a client-tailored service according to your exact needs. From your driver to local guides, skiing instructors for the kids to baby crèche managers for toddlers, there is nothing that can’t be arranged for you.

Ciasa Salares, Alta Badia

The Yetis snow camps for 3-9 year olds will turn them into little ski champions in no time, while Snozone (for those aged 10-14) gives older ones an adrenaline fix at the Snowpark and Funslope freestyle courses.

And while you might find yourself at 1,600 meters altitude, the delicacies on offer in the hotel’s three restaurants are unrivalled. Leading the pack is Michelin-starred La Siriola, the helm for one of Italy’s youngest chefs, Matteo Metullio.

The Wasabi mayo and trout caviar may be too sophisticated for your kids’ palates but you will, no doubt, love it; the cheese-filled ravioli and white chocolate will keep them extremely happy. Matteo is happy to satisfy any request, whether it comes from you or the little ones. Wine flows in abundance, too. (After all, the region produces some of Italy’s finest). The cellar of the hotel, Cantina de Stefan, boasts a fine selection built up over the past 25 years.

One thing not to be missed is “powder snow breakfast” at the Las Vegas Lodge: a snow cat will take you up early in the morning to 2,000 meters altitude where you can begin the day with local, home-made fare. You’ll then be free to enjoy the thrill of skiing on virgin snow before all lift facilities open for the day.

Lunchtime is just as well considered. In between ski lessons, hungry little stomachs will love the “Slope Food,” a sort of alpine version of Street Food for skiers. It’s not just an adult-thing: the Col Alto refuge serves a delicious venison cheeseburger with french fries and BBQ sauce, while Moritzino serves sweet, mouth-watering, almond-crusted prawns. Dotted around the slopes lie 14 mountain huts, each showcasing a special treat created by a Michelin-starred chef and based on a mixture of traditional, local Ladin cuisine and modern favourites. This is foodie heaven whether you love to ski or not and, with so much for the kids, the Dolomite region of Italy caters to every possible family-friendly skiing need, no matter what the age of your children.

Ciasa Salares, Alta Badia

Prices start from £1,760 per person sharing a superior twin room on half board for a 7 night stay. This includes return flights from the UK, transfers and the Powder Byrne resort service.

Powder Byrne also offer Luxury Ski Weekends, starting at £1,179 per adult for 4 nights from 20th March on a half board basis. Price includes return flights, transfers and concierge service.

Kids’ skiing programs are an average of €450 per week, with some including meals. 

Skiathos Princess Hotel

We all know the craze around yoga and its health benefits. I start every new year with the resolution that yoga will, somehow, infiltrate itself into my weekly schedule and, each year, fail wholeheartedly on that. So if, like me, you struggle to do yoga on a regular basis, you might be intrigued by the option of doing it on holiday alongside your children. You’re only committing to doing it for a week or two, rather than all year round, and you couldn’t be doing it in a more beautiful place than Skiathos, Greece.

Simple, relaxing, and as good for them as it is for you, yoga for young ones is a rapidly growing trend and the fine folk at the Skiathos Princess Hotel are more than aware of that. They launched the immensely successful YOGAqua last year and, so popular was it amongst guests, that they are reintroducing it again this year. Only, this time around, it won’t just be available for parents but YOGAqua for Kids launches, too. The resort reopens in May this year, at which time little ones will be able to learn YOGAqua alongside their parents in the warm, calm, and very beautiful waters surrounding the hotel.

Available until October 2014, class sizes are delightfully small (they are limited to a maximum of six at a time) and last for an hour. Originally out of LA (no surprise there), this new trend blends Yoga with the water (hence the name) and focuses on a combination of traditional Yoga exercises and Stand-Up Paddle-Boarding. Take part and you and your children can learn how to use a Stand-Up Paddle-Board and perform different Yoga poses, with guidance from the instructor of the course. This is extremely interactive – you and your child will work together – so, not only is it fun and healthy, but it is bonding, too.

Skiathos Princess Hotel

Classes start on the beach where young yogis learn how to perform different poses while becoming comfortable with the boards before taking to the water. Throughout each YOGAqua for Kids session, the instructor will ensure that each child and parent receive additional guidance by making their way around the class to assist with poses and answer any questions so, if you’re not fluent in the ways of paddle-boarding or yoga, you won’t be left to fend off your child’s questions alone.

These classes may not make you the perfect yogi yourself, but they are fun, relaxing and a wonderful way to introduce your children to tried-and-tested mental and physical well-being. And being at the Skiathos Princess Hotel you couldn’t ask for more stunning surroundings…

YOGAqua costs €20 per person, per session and is available to children aged 7 and up.

Book this hotel now.

For other suggestions in Greece, click here.

The Peninsula Hong Kong

January 31st is the date that Chinese across the world will be celebrating New Year and the incoming year of the horse. And, no matter where you are in the world, I highly recommend you grab the kids and get involved. As a child in London I was taken annually by my parents to the hubbub of coloured lights, wiggling dragons and sensational food smells that filled Gerrard Street in London’s Chinatown. From the dumplings to the music, the masks to the excitable crowds, your children will adore it with every passing year.

And if you are lucky enough to be in the East, then you really have no excuse. When pregnant, I was lucky enough to indulge in an authentic, and seriously memorable Chinese meal to celebrate the New Year in Kuala Lumpur. If I could spend every new year in Asia I would and, this year, it would be at The Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong.

Dating back to the 19th century, The Peninsula Hotels are one of China’s original luxury hospitality brands and remain a place of decadent luxury, amazing service and immense family-friendly facilities. There line up this year spares no expense.

Outside, the stunning hotel will be covered in red lights and matching, red paper lanterns. Inside, traditional lion dances, drums and cymbals will fill the hotel’s corridors, while children wish their parents and older relatives a good year ahead on the first morning of the New Year, following strong Chinese tradition. In turn they will receive “lai see” (lucky money), in red envelopes, courtesy of the hotel. The bedrooms are just as considered: festive delights including tangerines, melon seeds, dumplings and chocolate coins (all representing prosperity) are found on arrival, the latter being an obvious hit with kids.

The Peninsula Hong Kong

Food is, of course, is a major player in the whole event, (as it does so much in Chinese culture) and, as such, you can expect a serious array of food to choose from. After feasting on seemingly endless and delectable Chinese delicacies, you’ll end the night with firecrackers to drive evil spirits away.

Now, whether you’re at The Peninsula Hotel over Chinese New Year this month, or not, it should be seriously considered next time you’re in Hong Kong with the family. All Peninsula Hotels boast ‘Academy Programmes,’ which are unique to each property and focused very much on local culture. There are delightful children’s versions of these programmes and, in Hong Kong, they have ‘A Little Pastry Chef’s Adventure: Magical Children’s Cooking Class.’ This two hour class welcomes children into what is, arguably, one of the most prestigious kitchens in Hong Kong, allowing them to explore pastry-making and decorating with professionals.

You’ll have Dim Sum masters on your hands in no time…..

Book this hotel now.