Luxury Family Holidays Handpicked for Parents

South America

If you’re glued to your television through the Olympics, inspired not only by the perfect physique of every athlete you see but by the glorious backdrop of Rio’s Sugarloaf mountain, why no pop the city on your list of considerations for upcoming family holidays? Rio isn’t just for Olympians, but families, too. Favelas, all-night parties and skimpy bikinis aside, Brazil is a country of colour, music and pulsating culture, perfect for a luxury family holiday, though often ignored by many planning trips abroad with the kids.

Porcao Rio's Brazil

Nothing sums Rio up better than the annual Carnival, but there are many sides of the city to discover – from spotless beaches to vibrant neighbourhoods and the magnificent, wild untamed flora and fauna. This is a destination that will leave the whole family, old and young, wide-eyed. Incredible granite mountains jut out from the sea and rise high from the midst of the city. It is a concrete jungle in the most literal sense, but greenery sprouts teasingly up through every pavement crack. It’s no wonder the Brazilians refer to Rio, quite literally, as “Cidade Maravilhosa” (wonderful city).


Situated on a quiet cove just a short distance to Ipanema Beach, the Sheraton Rio Hotel and Resort has 559 rooms, all with private balconies and 24-hour room service. Offering every amenity under the sun from tennis courts to a spa with a health club, three outdoor pools to an outdoor Jacuzzi, the whole family will be kept busy. The service is excellent, the buffet breakfast receives rave reviews and the Pizza Place (one of five hotel restaurants) is an absolute family-favourite.

Sheraton Rio Hotel and Resort beach Sheraton Rio Hotel and Resort beach

To book this hotel click here.

A new addition to the city in 2012, the pièce de résistance at Tuakaza Exclusive Guest House is the natural swimming pool fed by a natural waterfall. Situated in the São Conrado district, this boutique hotel has just six rooms, each named after a different Brazilian fruit – acai, papaya and kiwi are some such examples – and all are furnished with local artwork.

Tuakaza Exclusive Guest House terrace Tuakaza Exclusive Guest House view

To book this hotel click here.

Quite simply, the 245-room Copacabana Palace Hotel is the crème de la crème of the city’s hotels. The guestbook reads like a red carpet roll call: Marilyn Monroe, Princess Diana, Nelson Mandela and Tom Cruise have all, at one time or another, rested their heads on the Palace’s finest pillows. What is more, this quintessential Rio beauty has just had a $20 million facelift. The original Art Deco features remain intact, but the bedrooms, bathrooms and Cipriani Restaurant have all been beautifully revamped.

Copacabana Palace Hotel dining room Copacabana Palace Hotel bedroom

To book the hotel click here.


Rio’s Beaches.

Be it running along the beach, surfing, sunbathing, swimming or stopping to watch the seaside jugglers, magicians, stilt-walkers and fire-eaters, life in Rio seems to revolve around the beach. The most famous city beaches are Copacabana and Ipanema; they are two sides of the same bay so pretty similar, defined by wide golden sands and big waves. The best for young families is Baixo Baby on Leblon Beach which has a play area with kid’s toys.

Rio City Zoo

For little ones, Rio City Zoo is perfect. Open Tuesday to Sunday, it has 2,000 species – the majority native being to Brazil – and a walk-through aviary and reptile house.

The Metropolitan Cathedral

Don’t miss the Metropolitan Cathedral with its 18-metre bronze doors, pews to seat 20,000 people and striking stain-glass windows.

Rio’s Surrounding Jungle

One of the most incredible things about Rio is the fact that it’s in the middle of a jungle – make sure you visit the surrounding rainforest, which is packed full of birds and wildlife. Your best bet if you want to explore the jungle is to arrange a jungle tour via your hotel concierge who can make sure you see it in a safe and supervised manner.

Rio’s Museums

Many museums offer free entry for kids under seven, and the Museu do Indio (Indian Museum) has a fantastic room where children can decorate themselves to mirror native warriors with stamps and body paint provided. The National Museum, which has mummies, zoological displays, historical artifacts, and a 5-tonne meteorite, is a must.

Christ the Redeemer and Sugarloaf Mountain

There are the two essential tourist sites: visit the statue of Christ the Redeemer at Corcovado, before taking the cable car up Sugarloaf Mountain (Pão de Açúcar).

“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

Brazil isn’t short on press at the moment, what with the obvious World Cup frenzy that is throwing everyone’s attention on to this fabulous South American hotspot. But the launch of a new website dedicated to this beatific country was bound to capture our attention and we’ve been lucky enough to pick the very knowledgeable brains of its founder, Stephane Bouvier. His recently launched site features no less than 60 hand-picked hotels scattered across this vibrant Latino nation, with selections having been made solely through first-hand experience and thorough exploration. The EscapeCollection team are true Brazil aficionados, and we’ve been lucky enough to have a chat with Stephane himself. Passionate about Brazil and with years of first hand expertise having travelled and lived in the country himself he has, together with his Brazilian wife, discovered kilometres of isolated beaches, luxury hotels and the best local restaurants. Herewith, he gives his personal top five Brazilian hotels for families exclusively for


Located near Fortaleza, this is great for those travelling with children as it is located directly on the beach, there are limited waves so the water is calm, and there is a big swimming pool should the salt water all get too much. The large bedrooms come complete with a balcony so there is room for everyone to breath, but parents can enjoy an element of privacy. And finally, there are lots of great family-friendly activities, such as buggy tours around the local area.

Orixas beach


This is one of the very few “boutique” hotels in Rio and it comes complete with an undeniably family-friendly atmosphere. Each room is uniquely decorated and the overall atmosphere is really similar to staying at a friend’s maison. There are only five rooms and each are decorated with personal objects chosen by the owner, which only enhances the welcoming vibe for those with children.

La Maison Rio facade


This is one of the best properties in Trancoso. With only five bungalows, it is set directly on a gorgeous beach of emerald water and golden sand; the service is incredibly friendly, too. The beach is very kid friendly (the waves are not strong) and the small bungalows are perfectly designed for families (each has a large living room on the ground floor that serves as a sort of family room and dining area).

Etnia Clube de Mar bedroom


This is a large resort in Florianopolis with a lot of activities and services for children, (such as dedicated pools and kids’ clubs). It is also located right on the edge of a tranquil beach with no waves to speak of.

Il Campanario Hotel and pool


This is one of the best locations in Jericoacoara, as it’s right in front of the village that faces the ocean (again, there are no waves in this location). Older children will love the kite surfing school that operates out of the hotel.

Vila Kalango pool

And on a final note, Stephane mentions that it is extremely important to approach Brazil with an open mind. It has some wonderful and gorgeously luxurious properties, but they won’t necessarily be defined by a standard of luxury found in Europe and America. Five star in Brazil can equate to four star in Europe and North America so be aware when booking. One’s expectations must be curtailed somewhat but, once there, we’ve no doubt you’ll fall in love with the country as so many have done before you.

For more information visit


Gabriel O’Rorke, our wonderful Santiago-based writer who contributed the Santiago, Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro guides to, has now released a fabulous Santiago city guide and we couldn’t be prouder. And the best thing about it? Unlike traditional print guides that can date really quickly, her Santiago City Guide is being produced as an App. As Gabriel said, “The problem with print is that it can’t keep up with the pace of change in the world of travel. The main thing that spurred me on to write a guide was that my favourite part of Santiago – a leafy street called Avenida Italia with lots of hidden courtyards filled with coffee and boutique shops – was not in any of the hardback guide books.”

Published by Apple, (so it’s available for smart phones, tablets and androids), all the content for her new App is online so she can constantly update and add to it. Quite simply, the internet is the only place that can attempt to keep up with all the details tourists need. “There’s lots more change to come to Santiago,” explains Gabriel. “The crumbling Downtown area is being scrubbed up, more new areas are emerging, and hotels, world-class restaurants and cafes are opening. The other thing that motivated me was the fact that too many people see Santiago as nothing more than a stopover before exploring the rest of the country. That’s understandable as there’s plenty to see – lakes, volcanoes, the desert, vineyards, glaciers and mo’ai – but you can also have your hat blown off by Santiago. You just need to know where to go.”


And we brought Gabriel on board here at because, while South American cities may not always instantly smack of being child-friendly, they really are, as long as you know where to go. Born in Scotland, Gabriel now resides in Santiago and knows it like a native. “It is a city filled with parks, museums and history. A modest, understated city (it’s not very Chilean to blow your own trumpet) where the best places are in hidden pockets off the beaten track. You need a guide to see the best of Santiago.”

The tagline for my Santiago City Guide is ‘live like a local’ because Gabriel lives there, cycles the streets daily and researches everything in an authentic, very hands-on way. “I met locals, bar, cafe, restaurant and hotel owners and asked them for stories rather than just dry facts. I also took all the photos myself and uploaded them via Instagram to give the guide a modern, urban feel.”

And this is just the beginning. There are currently 160 ideas on what to see, where to stay, must-visit restaurants and more, but Gabriel is going to keep adding and plans to include short videos soon. “I’m also working on a series of ‘My Top 5’ entries,” says Gabriel, “which will have tips from locals.”

Previously a TV producer for the BBC and reporter for ABC, Gabriel contributes to a range of outlets including CNN Travel, Conde Nast Traveller, Tatler, National Geographic Traveller and, of course,

Gabriel O'Rorke

Apple users can download the new Santiago City Guide here:

And Android users here:

Very well done Gabriel!