Luxury Family Holidays Handpicked for Parents

Monthly Archives: July 2014

The chain of Pig hotels across southwest England has been making waves since opening its doors in Brockenhurst, Hampshire only a couple of years back. Garden to table food philosophies, to-die-for interiors that totally redefine the notion of classic country house hotels and an overall air of informal elegance has been pulling crowds from all over the British Isles ever since. First there was The Pig hotel in Brockenhurst. Next came in The Pig in the Wall in Southampton; just three months ago we saw the fabulous Pig near Bath open and in June The Pig on The Beach flung its doors open. Located in Dorset’s heavenly village of Studland on the Jurassic Coast, it is causing more excitement than ever.

The Pig on the Beach exterior


Arguably one of the most idyllic villages in the country, Studland is famous as the summer bolthole of Enid Blyton who would book into legendary Knoll House Hotel and spend the warmer months writing. From the multimillionaire properties of Sandbanks (which seem a million miles away despite being up the road) one jumps on a chain ferry (which takes both passengers and cars) across to the magical Isle of Purbeck, a peninsular that is home to stunning Shell Bay, historical Corfe Castle and home of the latest Pig, Studland. The surrounding beaches are powdery, untouched and fringed with old-fashioned beach huts. Children can play in relative safety thanks to the shallow, very calm waters of the bay and the views across Harry’s Rock are the stuff of picture postcards. It is hard to imagine such places still exist in this day and age, but it is a slice of heaven. I am lucky enough to live here so I am, admittedly, biased though I count my blessings daily for ending up in such a spot.

The Pig on the Beach bedroom

The Pig on The Beach 

So, come off the chain ferry as it arrives at Shell Bay, follow the road up to Studland and you’ll find The Pig tucked along the edge of the sea with Isle of Wight views, just next to a local favourite, The Banks Arms. What was once a well-loved but slightly dilapidated hotel has recently been transformed. The whole village has been buzzing with the renovations that have been taking place in recent weeks. Small cottages dot the edge of the main hotel (totalling 23 rooms in all), a sweeping garden with wooden communal tables for drinks looks straight out across the water, and the dining room has both indoor and outdoor seating which, given the weather we’ve had recently, is being put to great use.

The Pig on the Beach dining table

Eating and sleeping

As with all The Pig properties, food is either grown on site or supposedly brought in from no more than 25 miles away. The usual meaty favourites feature, but there are expected seafood extras such as crab risotto and accompaniments of samphire, too. Children can enjoy a wonderful array of healthy choices on the kid’s menu or order anything off the adult menu in half portions if they wish. And as with all the others, The Pig on the Beach perfectly blends a stunning interior design that appeals to any self-confessed aesthete, while retaining an informality that makes it inviting for younger guests. The surrounding gardens and the beautiful culinary garden are rife for exploration, making this a particularly good option at lunchtime. They can run around until the plates hit the table and you can sit back and enjoy a chilled glass of Rosé in the meantime.

The Pig on the Beach bathroom

And while the idea of 23 intimate rooms in a small country hotel may not initially appeal with children, The Pig on the Beach is as family-friendly as the rest of the litter, and ideally located for a family trip. Between the surrounding beaches and wonderful walks, the inviting atmosphere of the hotel and the endless children’s activities in nearby areas, Studland may well become a top spot favourite for both summers and winters to come.

Be warned: the hotel is currently fully booked so if you read this and decide you want to go, be prepared to book ahead of time.

Read our review of The Pig near Bath here.

For more info visit the hotel’s website here.

Lola and I were recently lucky enough to spend four days aboard a beautiful Sunseeker on the stunning, totally turquoise water of Sardinia. We flew to Olbia, headed to the nearby marina and climbed on board. And while I was as reticent as any parent of a three-year-old can expect to be when staying on a boat with a child who can’t yet swim, what I didn’t need to worry about was sun damage. Donning either a swimsuit or a bikini by Sunuva, she looked good enough to eat. But better still, her skin was totally safe, because the swimwear itself has a sun protection factor of 50 actually built into the material.

Lola in Sunuva swimwear


All Sunuva swimwear is made from the highest quality UPF 50+ fabric, which blocks out more than 97% of the sun’s harmful rays and meets even the most stringent Australian and New Zealand UV guidelines. And, aside from being totally practical, it is also incredibly chic. After meeting and bonding over a mutual frustration of how little UV protective swimwear there was on the market, founders Emily and Sabrina launched Sunuva in 2007.

Sunuva top for boysSunuva boys' shorts

The 2014 collection

Inspired by a passion for global travel, this season you’ll find prints that feature beautiful Mexican embroidery, Chinese dragons, African Savannah animals and stunning Moroccan tile prints. Aside from the swimwear, Sunuva make adorable cotton additions, such as floaty dresses for girls and shorts for boys.

Boys will love the scuba divers, sea creatures and Mexican hot chilli peppers that adorn their shorts and t-shirts, while the girls’ collection is romantic and feminine, featuring pretty birds of paradise and butterflies. The range combines sorbet shades with hints of fluro that, in all honesty, I would wear myself if they made them large enough. And should you wish your children to match, the collection even features two sibling prints.

Sunuva girls' topSunuva girls' swimming costume

Where to buy Sunuva

Loved by some of the world’s most stylish mums including Victoria Beckham, Madonna, Claudia Schiffer, Gwyneth Paltrow and Gwen Stefani, you’ll find this fabulous and highly practical label in major department stores around the world including Harrods, Selfridges, Harvey Nichols, Liberty, Barneys New York, Takashimaya Japan and TSUM Russia, as well as many independent boutiques and international luxury resorts, such as The One & Only and the Four Seasons.

Sunuva girls' bikiniSunuva girls' top

For more info see

See our family-friendly guide to Sardinia here.

Let’s face it. When the weather is this glorious there are few places more blissful for the summer months than England. Forget airport queues, long haul flights and jet lag (all absolutely worth it for some of the fabulous places out there) but if air travel with tots isn’t floating your boat, then why go anywhere at all? Though I loathe the word “staycation,” the idea of holidaying at home works well for me if the sun is shining and I’ve the right place to lay my head at night. And The St. Moritz Hotel in Cornwall definitely appeals.

ST MORITZ - Apartment Sea View-1

The St. Moritz Hotel

Whether you train it or drive, Cornwall is well worth the journey for its dramatic coastline, gorgeous waters, infamous surf, fresh seafood and jolly locals. Parts of it seem unchanged for centuries – tiny port towns still top heavy with salty, roped lobster traps and thick, gooey cornish ice cream. It’s a place where a pub is still a proper pub – not a tacky gastro joint serving bad Thai food – and children can play until dark in a safe, communal place. And it is also a place of great luxury, which is where the St. Moritz comes in. A stunning property right on the edge of Greenaway Beach, the St. Moritz pays as much attention to its little guests as it does their parents. There are sweeping penthouses, apartments and villas to choose from (aside from the hotel rooms) that offer self-catering options, ideal if away as a family and not up for keeping children quiet in a restaurant every day. After an afternoon playing on the beach, you can all head back and flop out without dealing with the formality often associated with hotel stays. The contemporary accommodation is extremely inviting but, again, ideal if with children as there is nothing precious or delicate in the rooms (no antiques here). And if the weather does take a turn for the worst then the indoor pool will keep everyone happy for hours. The outdoor pool is delightfully adorned with beach huts and hammocks and there is a St. Moritz kids’ room with games, too.

Children surfing

Wavehunters Surf School

Children with a thirst for surf can enjoy lessons from the Wavehunters Surf School at nearby Polzeath Beach, which during summer holidays is also host to the hotel’s Beach Club for kids. (This is open to children of all ages but those under 6 must be accompanied by an adult). I spent several memorable childhood summers on the Cornish coast with a net in one hand hovering over the rock pools looking for crabs and mini shrimp. St. Moritz will take your children off and teach them all about the life of the rock pools on the surrounding beach and arrange beach games, as well as overseeing the junior surf lessons, of course.

Children fishing

And when your children reappear at the end of the day all salty and happy, you can rest assured that they will be extremely well fed before bed. The array of children’s canapés are delicious and extremely healthy, all washed down with one of the many children’s cocktails on offer (remember Shirley Temples?)

The Cowshed Spa

While the children are off making friends, there is a fabulous Cowshed Spa in the hotel, which absolutely cannot be missed. Born at Somerset’s Babington House, the latest Cowshed is no less fabulous with its array of facials, hot stone massages, and manis and pedis. There is a Signature St. Moritz Sun and Sea treatment made exclusively for guests of this Cornish beauty: this is a full body brushing followed by a deep exfoliation using sea salt immersed in peppermint oil and a deep sea detoxifying body wrap. Also included is a refreshing express facial and a relaxing full body massage. Not to be missed if you’re expecting are the newest pregnancy treatments, or the “udderly gorgeous body treatments” as they are so aptly named. Recognising the constant changes of the body during pregnancy and the special needs of those expecting, the treatments are gentle, relaxing and utterly nourishing. They even offer a “calm before the storm” package for expectant parents that includes a two night stay, massages for both mum and dad and breakfast in bed. Not to be missed.

Hotel exterior



So your trip is booked, the accommodation has been researched in painstaking detail and everyone is counting the minutes to take off. But for a lot of new parents there are endless worries and questions when taking young children to new climes. Changing weather patterns, new temperatures tiny tots aren’t used to and local medical issues can often put families off travelling, especially when considering more tropical destinations. There is no reason not to get away though. Professor Ricky Richardson, a Senior Consultant Paediatrician who sees patients at The Child and Family Practice, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust and Princess Margaret Hospital in Windsor chats with He gives us some great advice on how to stay safe and be prepared when travelling abroad with children.

St. Regis Mauritius beach

What are your tips for sun protection?

The sun is much more dangerous than you think for babies and small children.  It is a necessity that all small babies and children wear at least factor 30 sunblock. However, if your baby is fair-skinned, I would recommend factor 50 sunblock.  After sun exposure, please make sure to apply lots of moisturising cream to rehydrate the skin.  If a child gets sunburnt it becomes very painful for them to be in the water, whether it is hot or cold.  If you give them a shower they may even scream.  For small babies I recommend that they wear a long-sleeved t-shirt over their sun cream at all times.

How do you best approach an upset stomach?

It is not out of the ordinary to get an upset stomach whilst abroad, especially if you holiday in the Tropics.  And if is often uncooked foods like salads that can cause upset tummies.  The best treatment for this is Dioralyte.  You need one sachet mixed with 200ml of boiled and then cooled bottled water, repeated until the diarrohea has stopped. If there is blood in the diarrhoea then your child will need to be seen by a doctor, but most of these symptoms are self-limiting and will respond to fluid replacement with Dioralyte. Dehydration can be insidious and extra fluids are very important for children as they get dehydrated very quickly. Immodium is not recommended for children.

andbeyond safari holidays children on jeep

What is your advice when travelling to Malarial countries with children?

For information about Immunisations and Malarial protection, we suggest you go to the Travel Clinic at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases, as they have the latest World Health Organisation advice on malarial prophylaxis.

And how do you best deal with insect bites?

For insect bites simply use an antihistamine cream, which will quickly stop the itching. Use a mosquito net when possible as this will really help, also.

Any suggestions on really useful medicines to take on holiday?

We recommend taking a pack containing Nurofen, Calpol, Dioralyte, Malaria Prophylaxis (this changes in different parts of the world so, again, please check) plasters, and antiseptic cream. Antihistamines such as Zirtec or Piriton (this is an antihistamine taken by mouth) should be carried as an anti-mosquito bite treatment.

Le Royal Monceau

And any other thoughts?

Google where you are headed before you go away to find out where the nearest health facility is to where you are staying.  Make sure you get adequate health insurance that covers the country you are going to. And remember that the reality is that a significant number of injuries abroad are caused by road accidents, so make sure children know which way to look in another country when crossing the road. Always obey the local advice on beaches and adhere to the recommendations of local authorities.

The Child and Family Practice in central London offers a comprehensive range of services for children with emotional and behavioral problems, as well as their parents. Their large team of clinical experts include paediatricians, child psychiatrists, child and family therapists, child psychologists, nurses, speech and language therapists, physiotherapists and individual therapists. All team members maintain the highest level of professionalism, and practice as experienced experts in their specialist areas of work.


Why Mauritius?

Mauritius is synonymous with perfect waters, powdery, unadulterated sand and a stunning climate. Located about 2000 kilometres off the southeast coast of Africa, it does require a long haul flight but, as with all these things, the end result will make you glad of it. With a tropical climate, the current winter months of June to September make it an ideal time to travel with children – the temperatures are gorgeous but not too, too hot and humid as you would find in their summer season. The locals are lovely, the general ambience is totally relaxed and with the St. Regis Mauritius now open, you can expect the most heavenly fly-and-flop holiday imaginable.

St. Regis Mauritius exterior

Why The St. Regis Mauritius?

Basically, because it takes levels of luxury to new heights. As family holidays in Mauritius go, this is as decedent as it gets. After celebrating its official opening just last March, this stunning waterside property of 172 rooms and suites is situated on the untouched white sand of UNESCO World Heritage site, Le Morne. It is, quite literally, bordered by a turquoise lagoon, and should money be no object, then families will do well to book The St. Regis Villa – the largest and most exclusive private villa in all of Mauritius, which opened in November 2013. The Manor House is the very epicentre of The St. Regis, and around that is built the resort itself, which is designed to resemble an historical estate. There are no less than six fine dining venues, including Simply India by twice Michelin starred chef, Atul Kochhar.

St. Regis Mauritius beach

Want to totally unwind? Hit The Iridium Spa where you’ll enjoy an array of signature massages, beauty treatments, and hair care. Want to use the vacation to get fit? There is a full fitness centre and the Club Mistral Prestige luxury kite surfing school, should that take your fancy. Other highlights include afternoon tea, midnight supper, a 24 hour St. Regis butler service and the staple St. Regis turndown.

St. Regis Mauritius balcony

And for the kids?

Complimentary child care can be found at The Kite Flyers Club, which showcases a playroom, a pool, a kitchen and quiet room. The club’s schedule is packed with activities for children aged 4 – 12 years of age, open seven days a week from 9am to 8pm. A great deal focuses on the stunning natural surroundings of the resort so imagine nature walks, crab hunting and glass bottom boat trips.If they need some time out of the sunshine, the club offers arts and crafts, musical games, movies and cooking classes.

St. Regis Mauritius kids' club

Family Traditions is a programme offered at all the St. Regis properties and this stunner in Mauritius is no exception. Younger guests will adore the  special Mauritian welcome amenities and turndown rituals, including treats, child-sized robes, slippers, and a step stool for very small children. The resort team will gladly recommend and arrange a selection of recreational activities, excursions, dining options, childcare services, and anything else that parents or children may need.

St. Regis Mauritius pool