Luxury Family Holidays Handpicked for Parents

Monthly Archives: January 2016

We spend a lot of time hauling little ones around with us, determined not to make leisure pursuits 100% ‘kid-friendly’ and lose all pre-kid identity. But, sometimes, the most relaxing thing to do is to just give over and head somewhere that caters for your family’s every need. Cue New Park Manor in the New Forest.
New Park Manor exterior
The phrases ‘family friendly’ and ‘luxury hotel’ aren’t instantly harmonious in my mind. It’s hard to appreciate the finer things in life when your (or, worst still, someone else’s) toddler is having a melt down or singing Frozen songs at maximum volume. However, once my mindset about luxury hotels (serene, chic, boozy, romantic) had readjusted, (welcoming, enthusiastic, helpful, homely) I realised that New Park Manor offered something pretty special – time away as a family, where everyone gets a proper break.
New Park Manor spa
On a recent road trip to the West Country we stopped off at New Park Manor in the New Forest – the closest property to London, nestled in the heart of one of the UK’s most family-friendly national parks. Just two hours from our front door, we drove up to an unassuming 17th century manor house surrounded by polo fields with pretty gardens and a hefty but complimentary modern extension. After a whirlwind tour we realised killing time at New Park Manor wouldn’t be a problem – several dining rooms, a snug, playroom, cinema room, creche, spa, outdoor pool, indoor pool, chicken coup, mini football pitch, trampoline and tipi were all at our fingertips.
New Park Manor pool
Our family suite was tucked away in the attic of the old house, where two cosy bedrooms and a huge bathroom were well kitted out for a weekend away. Travel cots, a baby monitor, creche details and even milk delivery and a cleaning schedule were all in place – reducing faff considerably. More time for lunch and exploring the hotel…
With so many kids on site, lunch at New Park Manor was a little more lively than anticipated. Tables were set up for kids as much as they were for adults with high chairs, plastic cutlery and huge plates of spaghetti bolognese in view at every turn. It wasn’t until the evening that I realised that dining at New Park Manor is a tale of two halves. At lunch and tea kids rule the show (between 4.30 and 6pm the hotel lay on a very convenient kids tea); after 7pm it’s all about the grown ups – seriously fine food, wine and candlelight with not a beaker in sight.
New Park Manor kids
The activities on offer at New Park Manor far outstripped our 24 hour visit, although our toddler did his best to tick them off – football, horses, tipi, chickens, trampoline, making ice cream sundaes, cartoons, painting and swimming; (that’s about a month’s worth of activities in the space of four hours). During this time, my husband and I managed to sneak away from the creche for full body massages and a wallow in the outdoor Jacuzzi – a magical spot overlooking the fog-filled forest.
If you can drag yourself away from the hotel (2 hours a day of complimentary creche time make it hard to do so), the New Forest is a haven of family-friendly fun. Gentle cycling paths and walking routes weave across wild heathlands filled with roaming deer and horses. Activities on the doorstep of the hotel also provide year-round entertainment, including numerous wildlife parks and the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu. For simple pleasures, Brockenhurst is home to wonderfully old-fashioned tea rooms and sweet shops. For seaside fun head to the pretty harbour town of Lymington for fish and chips and boutique shops and to the huge beach at Milford on Sea for big waves and Solent views.
To book this hotel click here.
For other UK family-friendly hotels click here.

It’s only round the corner but there are some fabulous hotels, both near and far from home, that offer lashings of luxury for both you and your children that are still available. So, if you’re in need of some last minute half-term ideas, look no further…

The Royal Mansour Marrakech, Morocco

Why Go? Made by and fit for a King, this stunning hotel is welcoming families this half-term to ‘holiday like royalty’ for less. Experience an authentic way of Moroccan living by staying with your family in a spacious and opulent riad in the heart of one of the world’s most exotic cities. The kid’s clubs offers an array of unique activities including mosaic painting, bead workshops, mask painting, arts & crafts, discos and dance classes, promising to delight all the little ones.

Family Offer: 50% Saving (available until 31st March 2016):

  • 2 Adults and 2 or 3 Children
  • Book a Premier One Bedroom Riad for the parents and a second Premier one bedroom Riad for the children at 50% and receive an upgrade to a Privilege Two Bedroom Riad including breakfast.

Bookings:, +212 529 80 80 80

For other family-friendly holiday ideas in Marrakech, click here.

The Royal Mansour spaThe Royal Mansour, MarrakechThe Royal Mansour terrace

Loews Regency, New York

Why Go? Situated in Midtown Manhattan, the Loews Regency is conveniently located within walking distance of Central Park, iconic attractions and some of the city’s finest dining and shopping experiences, making it the perfect place for families to stay and explore this half-term. Featuring 379 renovated guest rooms including 58 suites, Loews Regency offers the perfect combination of luxury, comfort and style. There is a kid in all of us and Loews Regency New York celebrates this with their Loews Loves Kids initiative offering little ones a kid’s closet on arrival filled with toys and treasures to keep them entertained throughout their stay

Loews Regency New York Hotel is offering 15% off room rates when you stay 2 nights and 20% when you stay three nights or more. Even better, the offer is valid for any day of the week (based on availability).

Bookings:, +212 759 4100

For other family-friendly holiday ideas in New York, click here.

Loews Hotel Vogue roof terrace by nightLoews Hotel Vogue regency bed

The Nam Hai, Vietnam

Why Go? Older children (seven and above) will relish the opportunity to learn about Vietnamese culture with one of The Nam Hai’s experiential adventures including a Minority Village Tour deep into the Central Vietnamese Highlands and A Day in The Life of a Farmer or Fisherman learning all about ancient Vietnamese fishing and farming methods as well as the opportunity to catch their own fish.

The Nam Hai is situated on the picturesque 1 kilometre stretch of pristine white sand beach of Ha My, near the historic town of Hoi An, and successfully combines the unique and gracious culture of Central Vietnam with innovative design, state-of-the-art technology, first class facilities and impeccable service. The Nam Hai boasts sixty one-bedroom villas as well as forty one-to-five bedroom pool villas, each enjoying a serene beachfront location with unobstructed views across the East Sea and nearby Cham Islands

Rate: Kuoni offers 6 nights with breakfast at the 5-star The Nam Hai, Hoi An, Vietnam in a one bedroom villa, including flights with Singapore Airlines from Heathrow, and internal flights and private transfers in resort. Prices for 13 February 2016 are from £6,881 per family, based on two adults and one child (under 12 years old) sharing one room.

Bookings:,  01306 747008

For other family-friendly holiday ideas in Hoi An, click here.

The Nam Hai interiorNam Hai pool


Ski season has been upon us for a while but, if an active vacation to burn off those left over Christmas calories is on the agenda, we’ve some fabulous and very family-friendly ski holidays on which to do just that. From kiddie spa treatments (and gorgeous ones for you, of course) to top ski concierges, Michelin-starred restaurants to outdoor hot tubs with Alpine views, we’re happy to ensure they’re all at your fingertips.


Home to deep-powder skiing and luxury family hotels, Niseko is the name given to a group of village ski resorts clustered around the base of Mount Niseko Annupuri, on Hokkaido, Japan’s north island.  Most slopes have a bracing view of the neighbouring Mount Yotei, a perfectly cylindrical volcanic cone, almost identical to Mount Fuji.  Niseko may not have the glitz of St Moritz, but it has classier snow – vast swathes of knee-deep powder driven in by Siberian winds.  It is also one of the few truly international parts of Japan (English is widely spoken), while retaining exceptionally high Japanese standards of service, food and even multi-functional, heated lavatories.

Where to stay?

The Green Leaf Niseko Village

Start your après-ski the holistic way, with deep tissue massages and hot buttered rum hand and feet treatments.  Then pour yourself into a pony-skin print armchair by the fireplace in the Tomioka White cocktail bar.  Do not miss the outdoor ‘rotenburi’ onsen, where you can relax the traditional Japanese way, surrounded by snow and pine trees.

An exciting menu of activities for kids includes snow tubing, reindeer sledding and a “magic carpet” ride – a snowy conveyor belt for little beginners.  There are a range of ski-school options, as well as child-friendly spa treatments for those aged seven and older.

To book this hotel, click here.

Green Leaf Niseko Village water

Annupuri Village Niseko

Massages are available in your chalet to ease aching muscles after a hard day on the slopes.  Babysitting is provided should you fancy a night out, and for hassle-free nights in, there is a food delivery service, featuring local Sapporo beer and a good selection of Australian wines, thanks to Niseko’s popularity with Aussie ski-fiends.

The chalets can be baby-proofed with gates, and each one has a garden and BBQ area for summer visitors.  In winter, staff can advise on a range of ski schools and kids’clubs, and Annupuri has several great gondola rides up Mount Niseko Annupuri.

To book this hotel, click here. 

Annupuri Village Niseko exterior

The Niseko Company

It may be self-catering, but that doesn’t mean you have to lift a finger.  A team of concierges can organise every minute of your day should you so desire, from ski schools, pottery classes and snow-mobile rides, to Japanese cookery lessons and tours of local onsen (hot spring baths).  A personal chef can prepare every meal, from children’s fishfingers to fine dining.

Each property is equipped with child-sized futon mattresses and Snoopy dining sets.  Welcome packs for kids are handpicked by local mothers.  Most homes are stocked with board games, family DVDs, toboggans and the latest videogame consoles.

To book this hotel, click here.

The Niseko Company pool


Most ski resorts in the French Alps are geared up for children of all ages – even if yours aren’t yet old enough to ski, many resorts have nurseries and crèches – or you can choose a hotel or chalet with its own private childcare. There’s also more to snow than simply skiing, but don’t forget that the Alps aren’t just for winter – most resorts are open during July and August and have a host of activities for children, when resorts are uncrowded. But for this ski season, here’s what we recommend….

Where to stay?

Altapura Hotel Val Thorens

The Pure Altitude spa has the usual saunas and steam rooms, but what makes this spa really special is the indoor – outdoor pool: swimming in an uber-heated outdoor pool while the snow falls around you is unforgettable and the huge beanbags around the indoor pool are the perfect place to doze off after your swim. The hotel has three restaurants – one buffet style, one fine-dining restaurant and another just for fondues. The variety and quality of the food, particularly in 2 Mille 3 (the buffet restaurant), is breathtaking, and the array of homemade desserts (especially the marshmallows) deserves a special mention.

A kids’ concierge, a free kids’ club and Mac Minis in all the bedrooms are just some of the lovely touches for little guests. The fabulous buffet-style evening meals offer an unbelievable choice, from exquisite amuse bouches to fresh, cooked-to-order seafood, incredibly tender meat and inventive pasta dishes.

To book this hotel click here.

Altapura hotel Val Thorens relaxation

Au Coeur du Village Hotel

The Cristal Spa has five treatment rooms (including one devoted to body wraps) and a large pool with massage jets and bubble beds in which to unwind after a day on the slopes. Upstairs (no kids allowed here) is a relaxation room and a particularly fabulous steam room with a light-studded ceiling that mimics a twinkling sky. Downstairs, Le Cinq restaurant serves imaginative fine-dining French food and you can also enjoy cocktails served in the comfy and stylish lounge, complete with pianist.

The fifty suites (there are just seven “ordinary” rooms) are all divisible so that children have their own separate sleeping area and bathroom. The duplex suites are particularly spacious and have a small lounge area as well as two totally separate bedrooms. During school holidays there is a kids’ club, as well as a nanny who will look after your children during mealtimes should you wish.

To book this hotel click here. 

Au Coeur du Village Hotel interior

VIP Club Bellevarde Val d’Isere

The heart of this hotel is the cosy lounge with squashy sofas in front an open fire; the twin hot tubs on the outdoor deck and the delectable treatments and massages available will totally repair you after a day on the slopes. Rooms are equipped with iPod docks, robes and slippers, and staff will even bring a wake-up drink to your room in the morning. (This stylish and comfy timber and stone ski-in, ski-out chalet is ideal, especially for those with children too young to ski who want English-speaking childcarers).

The hotel offers private, specialized nannies who will look after children as young as 12 weeks, baby equipment, toys, freshly prepared purees and children’s crockery and booster seats. Within the chalet, there are also toys, a children’s DVD library, a Playstation and Wii and even Freesat for those who can’t live without children’s television.

To book this hotel click here. 

VIP Club Bellevarde chalet

Hotel de Charme Les Airelles, Courchevel

Wood paneled bedrooms, enormous beds, a stunning spa with pool, indoor and outdoor Jacuzzis and a real snow grotto can be found at this Couchevel gem. Service and attention to detail is second to none – the large numbers of staff (including two ski valets on hand to warm your gloves and boots) all dress in traditional Austrian costumes (no joke). You can even hitch a lift back from your day on the slopes in the hotel’s own horse-drawn carriage designed by Hermès. The hotel’s restaurant, Pierre Gagnaire for Les Airelles, has two Michelin stars.  If you’re after a bit more space, there’s also a private four-bedroom apartment, which includes a cinema room, dining room, bar, private spa and its own butler.

Children will adore the playroom that is staffed by two nannies where they will find a custom-built, child-sized castle along with a Playstation, Wii and stacks of toys. There is also a cinema room with cartoon-style oversized sofas, while in the restaurant there are child-sized buffet tables with matching mini-crockery. Outside, there is a private ice-rink (with skating valets in period dress), a heated tree house and, at Christmas and New Year, a vintage carousel. There are even post-ski children’s treatments available in the spa.

To book this hotel click here.

The Hotel de Charme Les Airelles pool

“All people from Britain dream of having a vineyard in the sun,” smiles Will, as he shows us through his rows of vines that sit at 700-meters in the Andean foothills, deep in the Chilean countryside. 
Tumanan lodge outdoor swimming pool
We’re having a family weekend in the wine country, just a couple of hours south of Santiago, with our now seven-month old baby, Joshua. This is a mere stroll in the back garden for this well-travelled “guagua” (that’s the Chilean word for baby, pronounced “wawa”) whose two passports have stamps from six countries spanning three continents already.
Our destination is the four-bedroom, family-run, Tumuñan Lodge. Driving out of Santiago on a Friday evening, we arrive in the dark, making our way along a dirt road through small villages, until we are finally greeted by Will who helps lug in the mounds of gear that accompany the smallest member of our family.
Large glasses of Cabernet Sauvignon from the nearby vineyard, Vui Manent, await us inside, and friendly staff dish up huge plates of beef bourguignon, still cheery in spite of our late arrival at 10pm. Meals are served “en famille” around one large table, but due to our tardiness the other guests are already in bed.
Tumanan lodge living room
With just four rooms it feels like you’re staying at a friend’s house (indeed Will’s house backs onto the lodge) and the low-key décor adds to the family feel. Will, a British fly-fishing guide, and Carolina, his Chilean wife, set up this lodge in the mountains in 2007 after stints running lodges in Patagonia and on the coast. The project is still developing and the couple recently added a wooden hot tub alongside the large swimming pool so guests can soak in the warm waters in the early evening.
“The lodge is 3.5 stars, but the surroundings are 5 star,” says Will, as he takes us back down the path from his vineyard to the lodge for a wine tasting. As Joshua very obligingly naps, we sit at the wooden bar to sample two glasses of red. One is a blend by Ed Flaherty, the winemaker who is to be in charge of the transformation of Will’s Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from vine to bottle next year, which will mark the first harvest.
Gabriel O'Rorke and family
You could happily while away a weekend just on the Tumuñan property – as well a hiking, there’s riding, fly fishing and lounging by the pool to keep you busy – but one of the perks of being in Chile’s wine country is that it’s brimming with wineries to be explored. So we stop off at the historic winery, Casa Silva, en route back to Santiago, and tuck into a steak in their restaurant overlooking a polo field. Who said life post-baby isn’t glamorous!?!
For more information click here.
For more family-friendly holidays in Santiago, click here.
Gabriel O'Rorke and family