Luxury Family Holidays Handpicked for Parents

Monthly Archives: May 2014

So you’re all well aware of my love affair with Barcelona by now. I lived there. I loved it. I went back again recently. It’s as fabulous as ever. The food, the Gothic architecture, the all-night swinging bars and the wonderfully eclectic mixture of permanent art exhibits from the likes of Picasso, Miro and Dali slam this right on top of my ever-adored European hotspots. And if I were able to be there on June 12th, I absolutely would be. Why? Because the fabulous Hotel Arts Barcelona, an original leader of the luxury hotel pack in the Catalan capital, is hosting a tapas feast created by chefs with no less than 52 Michelin stars between them. No, that’s not a typo and it’s absolutely possible: 52 hard-earned, mouth watering Michelin stars cooking tapas for one day only.

Hotel Arts Barcelona pool

This one-off gala event sees the Hotel Arts Barcelona join forces with UNICEF to celebrate its 20th anniversary with Estrellas Solidarias. Led by acclaimed chef Paco Perez of the hotel’s own two Michelin starred Enoteca restaurant, he will spend June 12th preparing this unrivalled tapas feast in the gardens of the hotel, alongside the likes of Albert Adria (yes, that’s Ferran’s brother), Joan Roca, Adoni Aduriz, and Marc Gascons, amongst others. Each cook a favourite tapas dish from a cooking station for guests to try in the hotel’s beautiful gardens, all under the shadow of the hotel’s signature Frank Gehry ‘Peix’ (or, fish) sculpture that glistens on the edge of the sea. And proceeds will go to UNICEF Spain, so you can indulge without conscience because your enjoyment will help others.

You’ll start the day with a bang of Cava and Catalan wine, enjoy the opportunity to bid in the auction for a Chef White, signed by all the chefs in attendance, and then you can spend the rest of the day sashaying from one stand to another, meeting some of the world’s finest chefs and sampling the delicious flavours of Spain cooked before you. Dessert, should you still be hungry, will be created by the Hotel Arts’ very own pastry chef, Sylvain Guyez and there will be live music playing throughout the day. So that’s Cava, good tunes, Michelin-starred food and sunshine on the sea. Who still needs convincing?

Hotel Arts Barcelona UNICEF eventHotel Arts Barcelona UNICEF event

And should you be in Barcelona with your family there is no need to miss out on this just because the kids aren’t keen. The hotel’s restaurant Bites always has featured children’s items and their menu doubles as a drawing book. They can spend the afternoon enjoying the “hotel questionnaire” available at reception, which children have to complete (asking a waiter for an autograph, for example, is one such task) and, once filled out, they get a free ice cream. Of course, should they want to be outside there is the hotel’s inviting pool or the nearby sea and, if you’re able to play hooky for an extra hour, head from the gastronomic feast to the hotel’s Six Senses Spa, a leader in international spa awards with very good reason.

Hotel Arts has created an ‘Exclusive Experience’ package for the Royale and Presidential suites, the hotel’s most prestigious apartments located on the 42nd floor. In addition to tickets to the UNICEF gala event, the package also includes behind the scenes access, interacting with the chefs as they prepare their signature dish, as well as preferred reservation and VIP access for one year in the restaurants of Albert Adria and Paco Perez. The ‘Exclusive Experience’ package is available for €20,000 per suite, with proceeds donated to UNICEF and can be booked directly through the Hotel Arts.

See our family-friendly guide to Barcelona here.

St. Lucia

Ever wanted to tick St. Lucia off your list? Yeah, me too. And I now know exactly where I’m staying when that fine day comes. In July of this year, the Capella Marigot Bay Resort and Marina will reopen its doors with no less than 56 suites, most of which come with their own private Jacuzzi pools. The sweeping views across the bay, the scent that injects the gentle breeze coming from the surrounding tropical gardens and the seriously delicious beds in which to fall every evening pop this smack at the top of my travel bucket list.

 Capella Marigot Bay Resort and Marina

And though the notion of penthouse suites, golden sands and fine dining might sound more apt for a honeymoon destination, the Capella Marigot Bay Resort and Marina is extremely family-friendly. There are endless family packages available, fabulous activities both for parents and kids, and children have been considered in every detail. Need two or three bedrooms? No problem. The suites are enormous and offer a range of sleeping options; all come with a full kitchen so you aren’t stuck to dining in a restaurant every day which, let’s face it, isn’t always particularly enjoyable when you’re away with small children.

Keeping kids in mind

There are no less than three swimming pools, the requisite infinity pool (something I never tire of) and a lagoon pool. Best of all, there is a dedicated children’s pool strategically located in the shade, so they can happily splash about all day with no concern at all for the strong Caribbean sunshine.

Capella Marigot Bay Resort and Marina swim up pool bar

If you do venture out to enjoy the fabulous food on offer, there is the French Colonial style Boudreau Restaurant with dockside bay views, the Hurricane Hole Bar (which is very relaxed so ideal if your little ones aren’t up for sitting on their finest form) or you can enjoy snacks and cocktails at the swim-up Pool Bar. Food is available all day (again, useful for anyone who knows children don’t always want food at the same time as everyone else) and every taste is considered so they really can have whatever they want, when they want it.

And if the choice of pools doesn’t cut it beyond day three, the activities available for children are extremely impressive. From this summer, the Captain Jack’s Nautical Sailing Academy is destined to be a smash hit. Little ones learn how to sail with a crew of trained sailing teachers in, surely, one of the most beautiful bays about. Think you’ve more of a Michelin starred chef on your hands? The Capella Jnr. Top Chef Programme will have them cooking a Caribbean cuisine dinner and those aged ten and above are also welcome to go with the chef to the neighbouring markets to learn about local ingredients. Book a suite and they can invite the chef to their own in-room kitchen. With the Capella Cookie Monster Programme they will learn the art of baking, sign up for the Marigot Bay Youth Angler’s Academy and they’ll spend the day fishing, enrol in the Jnr. Master Gardener Programme and they’ll soon learn whether or not they have green fingers. You get the picture – anything they might be keen on, there is a dedicated activity headed by professionals so they’ll have a ball and you can totally relax knowing they are in more than capable hands.

Capella Marigot Bay Resort and Marina view

And fear not. There is plenty for you too if chilling in the sunshine isn’t appealing for more than a few days. Everything from ziplining to jungle mountain biking, island helicopter tours to kite surfing can be enjoyed. Thinking more along the lines of some pampering down time? You can indulge in a heavenly E’Spa facial in the Lapli spa, partake in Yoga, Tai Chi and Pilates classes or, if it’s all been getting on top of you, enjoy personal assistant services through the hotel. And the bit that excites me the most? The private water taxi service that can be arranged to local bars, restaurants and beaches. What better way to see a notoriously stunning island?

For more information view the hotel’s website here.


To book this hotel click here.



The magical Greek island of Mykonos has long held an extremely dear place in my heart. The location for many a teenage summer with my best friend from school, we would arrive on the island fresh-faced and ready for action, only to leave a week or so later exhausted and booze-soaked, but grinning from ear-to-ear. Gorgeous local Greek boys with mopeds became the target of instant adoration, lingering kisses were enjoyed on rocks that dotted the beaches under moonlight and we whirled annually onto the island at breakneck speed, ready for whatever that particular summer of love had in store.

Akon Villas Mykonos  sea view

Akon Mykonos Hotel and Villas

And so when Mykonos-related news crosses my desk, I pay attention. I’ve been wanting to revisit the ilsand for years (though I hear the gravel pathways we navigated on bikes are now highways and the island is busier than ever). One such place of interest to entice me back to this Greek gem, however, is Akon Mykonos Hotel and Villas. With views across to Deios from the bay of Agios Ioannis on which the Akon Villas sit, this hub of luxury and relaxation on the island’s southwest corner has me begging for a visit.

Family-friendly Mykonos

Extremely family-friendly, deliciously spacious and totally private, all villas (which come with three, four, five or six bedrooms) are replete with a private pool. And while your accomodation will afford you solitude and a home-from-home, you can still enjoy the pampering of a five-star hotel thanks to the amenities of the neighbouring Saint John Hotel, which guests are free to enjoy. The private pool of each villa means you can relax with an uninterrupted view of your children swimming and, should you book a villa, you’ll enjoy a chauffeured limousine service to any destination of your choosing (so none of the riding local buses of my youth). The hotel will particularly appeal to little ones, thanks to its fabulous playground and the beautiful private sandy beach on which they can make friends. You’ll love the infinity pool, the presence of an on-site first aid clinic (if you’re a worrier like me), and the gourmet restaurants. The Kalimera restaurant (which translates as “hello” in Greek) overlooks the stunning infinity pool and serves breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks throughout the day.  Should you fancy a break away from your villa or the hotel resort, there are private daytime excursions arranged that are perfect for families of all ages and, if you’re up for really unwinding, the quintessentially Greek named Aphrodite spa will sucker you in in seconds.

The Akon Villas may not afford me the whirly, heady days of my teenage years, but I’m absolutely fine with that. The private pool and classic, sharp blue and stark white surroundings of this gorgeous Greek isle will absolutely suffice.

Akon Villas Mykonos villa bedroomAkon Villas Mykonos  pool view

To view the website for Akon Mykonos Hotel and Vilas, click here.



What do you get if you mix a centre-of-town London location, inviting interiors, a restaurant headed by the sensational Jason Atherton and fun, family-friendly touches such as in-room tent beds for kids? The London Edition hotel, of course.

Family-friendly London Edition

This Marriot-owned property is in the heart of central London and beautifully blends classic architecture typical of Fitzrovia, with clean and crisp, but always luxurious, interior touches. Yet, despite being an obvious choice for those wanting to stay for corporate functions (there are rooms available specifically for such purposes), housing a restaurant headed by one of the country’s leading Michelin-starred chefs and a setting a stone’s throw from hedonistic Soho, the London Edition is surprisingly family-friendly. If you’re travelling en famille, the lofts and loft suites are spacious and perfect for guests of all ages. Both have complimentary connecting rooms (it’s rare not to pay for the privilege of a little privacy) and the hotel’s “Big Kid, Little Kid” treats include a children’s guide to London, a movie night and a London inspired in-room tent, which all children will adore.

London Edition Hotel Milk tray


Jason Atherton and Berners Tavern

Having been lucky enough to eat at Pollen Street Social recently, I can absolutely testify to the brilliance that is the food of Jason Atherton. The food is knock-out fabulous, but the atmosphere (as is the case with all his restaurants) is unstuffy, warm and not at all formal. It is sophisticated, absolutely, but it isn’t pretentious. Berners Tavern is no exception. The seasonal, British menu is ideal for families. There is the classic Sunday roast made with the finest Devonshire Ruby Red beef, and best of all, its extremely well designed for those with little children. Whether intentional or not, the front of the restaurant has a very informal Cafe air to it, thanks to the tub chairs that fringe each table, while the main dining area is defined by banquette seats which, as every parent of a toddler knows, makes ideal seating for those with tots.


London Edition Hotel bed



So whether you’re a Londoner already and want to check out the new smash hit that is Berners Tavern or you’re visiting London for the first time and stay at the London Edition, the hotel is perfectly located for a family day out. Local attractions include London Zoo, an array of gorgeous parks (in particular Hyde Park and Regent’s Park), and the fantastic shopping that comes with staying in central London. At the end of long day’s exploration, the hotel’s Punch Room is a top spot for much-needed cocktails (or fruit juice for little ones) and that sensational bedroom beckons only steps away. And at the time of going live, the restaurant still had availability for breakfast, lunch and dinner this coming Bank Holiday Monday.


London Edition tray


**In-room children’s tent is suitable for ages 3 – 8 years only.

For more information visit the hotel’s website here.






The 21st of June this year is a momentous date for Gstaad, as it sees the reopening of the city’s iconic Gstaad Palace Hotel, complete with refurbished Tower Suites. Located at 5,000 feet atop a mountain in the Swiss Alps, Gstaad itself is synonymous with luxury accommodation, fabulous shopping and a five-star lifestyle. The hotel’s exclusive facilities are spread over 1800 square meters and include eight treatment rooms, a unique hammam experience, a private spa suite, saunas and steam baths, relaxation areas with incredible views, both an indoor pool and outdoor pool with a Jacuzzi, a state-of-the-art gym and a pilates studio.

Gstaad Palace Hotel living area

Winter and summer fun

By winter you’ll find fine skiing; by summer the whole family can delight in endless outdoor activities, a world class spa within the hotel and delectable, local and, always seasonal, gastronomy.  You may not think of the Swiss Alps as a year-round, family-friendly destination, but there is enough here to keep everyone happy, each and every month of the year. Cold months present an unparalleled number of amenities including skiing, heli-skiing, hiking, snow-shoeing, indoor and outdoor pools, dog sledge and horse and carriage rides, and even a glacier experience with an Alpine coaster. By summer, you can enjoy river rafting, hiking, climbing, mountain biking, horse carriage rides, tennis, swimming, and the immaculate 18-hole golf course nearby. Or, you can chill in the spa but, of course, that depends on how active (or inactive) you feel like being.

Gstaad Palace Hotel view

The Maison Cailler chocolate factory trip

With a four night experience at the Palace, families will be invited to spend a day at Maison Cailler, the nearby legendary Swiss chocolate factory. Children will be mesmerised by the mysterious Aztec cocoa ceremonies, the scent of fresh chocolate that fills the factory through the different production stages, and the much-loved final tasting. You’ll even be given the chance to learn to make chocolates at the Atelier du Chocolat, under the guidance of an experienced Cailler chocolatier who will teach you and the children how to temper, conch and even ganache your very own edible souvenirs.

Montreaux Jazz Festival

Located on the shores of Lake Geneva, this summer sees the 48th annual Montreaux Jazz Festival, which those of all ages will enjoy. A short drive from the hotel, you’ll find lake-side jazz cafes and live music in one of the most picture-perfect spots imaginable. Not a wet tent in sight! (So this is totally our kind of festival).

The new Tower Suites

The mountain views from these spacious and sensational new suites are second to none. Designer Marina Nickels has created an understated, yet utterly elegant environ that feels more like a private residence than a hotel room. The Gstaad Palace Hotel is well regarded for its cosy extravagance and unparalleled service, so you can truly unwind and relax without lifting a finger.

Gstaad Tower hotel bedroom

Family-Friendly Gstaad Palace

Every year sees a new children’s program designed for younger guests between the ages of 5 and 12. (Children between 3 and 5 years may participate, but they must be accompanied by a family member or a guardian). Babysitters are available and The Gstaad Palace also has a playroom and a fantastic outdoor playground.

Gstaad itself is very welcoming of children and those under 9 years of age do not pay for any of the cable cars belonging to the Gstaad Mountain Rides. Aside from the children’s program offered by the hotel, children can go summer tobogganing either on the Glacier 3000 or on the Rellerli, high above Gstaad. Children will love petting and feeding animals at the “Stiftung Alpenruhe” or at the Berghaus Wispile, every village in the area has a playground and, in winter months, you’ll find ice rinks in Gstaad, Saanenmöser and Schönried. No less than eight different sled runs are available and there are mountain railways (also free for those under 9 years of age). These are extremely safe ski slopes and learning parks for children and beginners.

Family Summer

  • Four nights at the Palace (any double room category, junior suite or suite)
  • Day trip to the world-renowned chocolate factory Maison Cailler in Broc
  • Return train journey and factory tour
  • From 3,445 CHF / £2,335 for two adults and one child, including half-board and use of the Palace Spa (available from 21 June – 11 September 2014, subject to availability. Price for additional child 499 CHF / £338) 

Montreux Jazz Festival

  • Two nights at the Palace (including complimentary room upgrade)
  • First class train travel to Montreux and limousine return transfer
  • VIP day trip to the Montreux Jazz Festival, with VIP concert tickets included
  • Complimentary dinner at the VIP lounge (excluding drinks)
  • From 2,153 CHF / £1,459 for two people, including half-board and use of the Palace Spa (available from 4-19 July 2014, subject to availability)

For more information visit the Gstaad Palace Hotel website or to book click here.