Luxury Family Holidays Handpicked for Parents

Monthly Archives: January 2015

Down here in deepest Dorset the sun is shining today and, as I sit typing away from my kitchen table, it looks almost like spring outside. Almost. Rewind three hours as I stepped out on the school run, I wondered how it hadn’t snowed down here given the arctic temperatures and my frozen eyelashes. But we are next to the water so snow comes harder in these parts and it is that very same water, lapping against my garden (yes, we are that close) that enables my mind naturally wander to warmer climes. I know I’m freshly home from a hot weather holiday but, quite frankly, it’s left me wanting more. And here’s where I’m day-dreaming of today….


Rosewood Little Dix Bay poolRosewood Little Dix Bay palm tree and poolRosewood Little Dix Bay beach


The British Virgin Islands (BVI) are not just a piece of paradise best suited to savvy sailors and loved-up honeymooners. Oh no. They are hands-down family-friendly, loaded with beauty, and dotted with stunning, luxury family hotels. Before you step off the plane you’ll be begging for a bikini and a beer (or, in my case, a Bellini) thanks to the laid back Caribbean vibe and crystal-clear water. Endless water activities are available for the kids and you are guaranteed maximum tranquillity. Lying east of Puerto Rico, and dubbed ‘nature’s little secrets,’ the BVI are a cluster of over 50 stunning – we mean stunning – islands and cays. Their lure is exclusive seclusion and, in choosing a shore-side hotel or villa, with a view of twinkling, turquoise waters and pristine white sands, you have absolutely no choice but to slow right down.


Rosewood Little Dix Bay bedroomRosewood Little Dix Bay living roomRosewood Little Dix Bay bathroom

The Rosewood group are resolutely dedicated to luxury. And this beachfront beauty is no exception. This resort magically pulls off the very tricky balance of being, at once, extremely tranquil and elegant, but also child-friendly, and it does so with utter grace. Every last detail has been considered to make sure babies, children and parents feel deliriously pampered. From babysitting to bottle warmers, there is nothing they haven’t thought of and, should your little ones feel too tired by the end of the day to walk to the restaurant for supper, the resort’s golf buggies can be arranged through the concierge to collect you from your door.

The rooms, suites, villas and beach cottages are divine, all adorned as they are with a sumptuous blend of natural wood, local stone and pale linen furnishings. The views jut out across the half-crescent bay and the resort’s private beach; the water is shallow and protected, so it’s 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. Girls will covet having their own mini robes and slippers on arrival, and even their own range of toiletries. You get the picture – there will be no cries of boredom here.

And for you? Well, babysitters are on tap should you want a night off to enjoy an intimate supper in the delightful Sugar Mill restaurant. And by day, you’ll adore the cliff-top Sense spa where you can indulge in blissful botanical treatments with vast views over the BVI.



Regular followers of the kodomo blog will note our slight obsession with Heidi Klein swimwear at the moment, and so it was with great excitement we learnt about the collaboration between the sensational swimwear designer and Rosewood Little Dix Bay. Recently launched, the chic ten-piece collection is out in time to mark the resort’s 50th anniversary. The exclusive line of swimwear and cover-ups named after Little Dix Bay comprise of easy-to-wear bikinis and a stylish one-piece, a bandeau maxi dress, a beautifully soft gathered batwing dress and a pin tuck shirt.  A blend of deliciously bold Ikat prints in the resorts’ signature blue and white, the collection is reflective of Heidi Klein’s signature look. Boosting in the right parts, smoothing down in others, the collection showcases the usual sexy but sophisticated look of Heidi Klein that we know and love. Speaking of their latest collaboration, co-founder and designer Heidi Gosman explains ‘the beautiful setting, elegant evenings, and Rosewood Little Dix Bay’s glamorous history provided all the inspiration needed for this collection.’ Yep, one of these swimsuits and a private villa at Rosewood Little Dix Bay would suit me fine. Now, back to my coffee and multi-layers here in Dorset…..

Heidi Klein for Little Dix BayHeidi Klein for Little Dix BayHeidi Klein for Little Dix Bay


For more luxury family hotels in the BVI, click here.


When I awoke this morning to jet black skies and heavy rain (it was very, very early as my three-year old is jet lagged), I was in high spirits. The air may be damp, the days still short, and my bank account on the dry side, but after three weeks of natural Vitamin D from dense sunshine, papaya breakfasts and massages that cost less than a Starbucks, I’m immune to winter weather. Smug, I hear you say, but we all know the world of difference a tropical getaway makes in piercing the heart of a long English winter. Long haul flights and jet lag with tots may not appeal but, take it from me, it is well worth every penny so, next winter, get booked up. And if you need some inspiration, Thailand has it all.


After an eleven-hour flight, I wasn’t elated at the idea of a further three hours in the car but Hua Hin, a town southwest of Bangkok on the mainland, is a haven of fabulous spas, elephant sanctuaries (the good kind), luxury hotels and sensational local food. The Thais couldn’t be more family-friendly if they tried, so adoring are they of children we had many pulling out iPhones and simply snapping shots of our daughter in the local market; the fact that she was a stranger didn’t see to bother them. They found her adorable and it’s easy to see they feel that way about all little people. As such, there isn’t a five-star hotel, a restaurant or even a bar that doesn’t welcome families with open arms.

Six Senses, Hua Hin pool

Now, we stayed in a private house deep in the divine confines of Baan Ing Phu, but I highly recommend the Six Senses Evason if you head to Hua Hin. A luxury resort of villa residences, every home-from-home on the property has lovely touches, such as a private balcony and 24-hour room service, while the hotel itself can arrange a car with a driver or a private boat ride, should you want one. There isn’t much they won’t do for you and the setting is one of the most beautiful, located just outside of the Hua Hin itself in Pranburi, which perches delicately on the Gulf of Siam amongst 20 acres of tropical gardens. (The town of Hua Hin itself is useful but it’s far from pretty so don’t worry about not staying within its centre). The beauty of this area lies in the fact that it sits next to a national park at the base of Black Mountain (home to the SoutheastAsian PGA course) and this particular Six Senses beauty is stunning. The Earth Spa is a must for parents, while kids will adore the Just Kids! Club, which comes complete with its own swimming pool. You’ll rest in peace knowing that professional supervisors arrange everything from Origami to model-making, Thai lessons to mobile-making and, should the kids want a real break away, supervised sleepovers are organized nightly, giving you a lovely lie-in.

Six Senses, Hua Hin bedroom


Lola and I, admittedly, spent a lot of time by the pool. She loved donning her armbands; I adored reading in the glorious sunshine and recovering after another battering Christmas of too much wine, too much food and too little sleep. Between stints, we strolled to collect Frangipani, read and talked about all we do together in 2015. Her father played endless rounds of golf; we ventured to local animal sanctuaries. There are a few “sanctuaries” in the area, but some of them are far from humane. We recommend the Hua Hin Elephant village just on the outskirts of town. The elephants there have plenty of room to roam, they are extremely well-loved and children will adore feeding them and washing them (all supervised by volunteers, of course).

Lola and elephantLola with bananas for elephants

The Centara Grand Beach Resort located in Hua Hin itself is a gorgeous old 1920’s building that came about thanks to the introduction of the railway line that connected Hua Hin – then a sleepy fishing village – with Malaysia. The topiary is sculpted into elephant, deer and bird shapes (which delighted Lola), they serve delicious ice cream alongside the large pool area and the birdcage seats that dot the beachside are fabulous. Whether you stay there or not, it’s well worth a lunchtime or afternoon tea visit.

Thai FrangipaniLola on the sea in Hua Hin


The Bubble is a restaurant located in the residential area of Baan Ing Phu, a short drive out of the main town towards Black Mountain. It is open to everyone though and the food is, by far, better than anything else we have had there (and we’ve been back a few times). The cuisine is incredible – whether you order the yellow crab curry, chicken satay or rice dishes – you can have everything as hot (or not) as you wish so it’s perfect for children, too. A garden of greenery sits adjacent to both eating salas so children can play freely (and safely if they are really little as there are no nasty steps or areas of hard terrain) and the staff all adore children so they’ll happily whisk small tots off for a cuddle while you sip on your G&T at sunset.

The Bubble restaurant, Hua Hin


This was the first time I was lucky enough to wear swimwear by Heidi Klein and I loved it. My body hasn’t quite bounced back after childbirth the way I had hoped, but the gorgeous design of my bikini boosted me in the right places, sucked me up in others, and left me feeling far more confident in a two-piece than I have done since wiggling about with a big baby bump. Lola adored her one-piece, which features in the new collection of Heidi Klein girls’ wear, a stunning blue creation donning white anchors and gorgeous frilled-lining that left her good enough to eat, as far as I was concerned.


Heidi Klein blue dressLola poolside in Heidi Klein


What with Kate and Keira sporting baby bumps, 2015 seems to be the year to have a little one. But what about being pregnant on foreign shores? Travel writer, contributor, and ex-pat Gabriel O’Rorke discovers what it’s like having a baby aboard abroad…
“Oye,” a man is waving at me from further down the queue. “You’re pregnant?”
I nod.
“What, and the guard didn’t notice? Come in here, you shouldn’t be standing in line!”
I move forward into the space in front of him. I’m 24 weeks and my bump is finally beginning to show, bringing to the surface a whole new side of Chileans. From the 18 year-old lad at the Sunday fruit market to this 30-something guy in the queue now behind me, Chileans simply love a baby bump.
I have lived in Chile for two years. My husband and I moved here after several years working in London, looking for somewhere new, somewhere different, somewhere Spanish-speaking. Chile fit the bill.
Gabriel O'Rorke and husband
When we announced the incoming member of our family, the reaction from most was: “So when are you coming home?” Having a baby abroad was never something we proactively planned to do, but nor is it something we want to avoid. Especially when we are doing it somewhere as safe and stable as Chile.
As a first-timer at all this, I’ve never experienced baby-bearing under the NHS (although I do sign up for their very good weekly emails). However, one ex-pat friend who had her first baby in London and the second in Santiago, described the Chilean version as “like having your baby at the Ritz,” so I suspect I may be able to handle it. I must add here that we are lucky enough to have private healthcare – needless to say there’s no NHS in Chile – so the comparison may be an unfair one.
Speaking of the Ritz, however, as a passenger aboard a travel writer this little bump is already rather well travelled. In the first four months alone we ticked off the U.S.A, England, Scotland, Morocco, Argentina and Chile, including a gnarly Che Guevara-worthy road trip on Patagonia’s Carretera Austral.
But the truth is, I’ve been incredibly lucky health-wise and able to continue life at, pretty much, a normal pace. I still ride around Santiago on my bike – causing many a Chilean to stop and stare in disbelief – and we are planning a cruise to Cape Horn for week 30 of my pregnancy.
My experience with morning sickness is limited to being sick three times on a plane to the Atacama Desert in Northern Chile, a one-off incident that I suspect was the work of a dodgy airport breakfast rather than anything maternity-related. Our main stumbling block has been pregnancy vocabulary and, so far, we’re learning the hard way. When we turned up for our 8-week scan, we waited patiently like well-trained Brits for three hours before realising we were in the wrong queue. On the upside, the word for scan (“ecografia”) is now etched in my mind for all eternity.
And now, as I trot towards week 25, we have just signed for a new flat so the next few weeks involve moving, investigating baby furniture and working out how to survive 34 degree heat without ten ice creams a day. Oh, and signing up for maternity yoga is on my to do list (most likely another stretch for my vocab, as well as my limbs), while investigating the rumour that Chile has a very high number of Caesarian births, and how to avoid one myself, if at all possible. I’ll keep you posted….