ADVERTORIAL • January 2022
For many busy parents, a lengthy break from work and childcare feels like an impossible luxury. How about combining that with some fine dining, time on the beach, and the knowledge that your kids are having the time of their lives, too? Mum of two Sophy Grimshaw knows where to take the whole family...
Where? Halkidiki, Northern Greece; the Greek islands of Kos and Corfu, and Marbella Spain.
Is there a kids’ club? Of course. Each resort has a crèche that’s suitable for babies and children from four months to three years. After that, aged from four years old up to 12, they can graduate to Mini Club. In the high season, there’s also the Teen Club, entertaining those aged 13-17. All are run by expert childcare professionals to UK Ofsted standards. Thrillingly, you can also ask to enjoy 30 minutes of free-of-charge childcare on the beach for four to 12-year-olds. So grab your snorkel or your novel, as you prefer, and take a beach break.
And what about the parents?
Ikos Resorts have been voted some of the world’s best luxury all-inclusive resorts, but part of their appeal is that you can explore beyond the resort whenever the mood strikes you. As part of its ‘Local Discovery’ concept, why not embark on the MINI Drive Adventure, where adults get complimentary use of a MINI (of course) to see some of the resorts’ surrounding natural beauty? Back at HQ, stylish interiors, a choice of pools and settings in natural beauty spots come as standard.
How’s the dining? How do menus created by Michelin-starred chefs, craft cocktails and more than 300 wines to choose from sound? There’s 24-hour-room service, too. Children are catered to, literally, with the crowd-pleasing kids’ menus. There’s also the option to dine out at some local restaurants, with drinks included. And don’t skip the Dine Out programme, which treats guests to dinner at select local restaurants.
Where? A prime seafront spot on the Algarve coast, Portugal, only 30 minutes’ drive from Faro Aiport.
Is there a kids’ club? More than that, really: there’s a children’s village, Porto Pirata, where the needs of youngsters from six-month-old babies to eight-year-olds are catered to in a 7,000sqm childcare wonderland. Mini golf and basketball are among the activities on offer, as is fun in a safe, supervised kids’ pool. For eight to 13 years old, it’s off to Junior Club they go, where football, tennis and crossbow shooting are all on the activities menu.
And what about the parents? A regular on ‘best spas of the world’ lists, Serenity Spa isn’t just a stop-off for fabulous treatments, but the heart of several of Pine Cliff’s bespoke wellness retreats, spanning everything from weight management to yoga. Meanwhile, a selection of swimming pools, spectacular sandy beaches (just a short stroll away), golf courses and a tennis academy make up just a part of the appeal.
How’s the dining? The numerous smart and stylish restaurants on site range from Japanese fine dining to a nationally renowned luxury steakhouse, as well as an outstanding beach restaurant (try the ‘seafood fest’) and authentic, casual Portuguese grill options. A Champagne bar and cookery school round off the near comprehensive offering.
Three golden rules for family travel
Before you pick your hotel, let Sophy’s golden rules guide your way.
1) Have a plan B
Many children relish the fun activities of a holiday kids’ club, while others might suddenly want to stay by your side, even if they’re used to being in a childcare setting at home. Before you plan ten full days of child-free activities, wait and see what works for your family in practice. Childcare is usually factored into an all-inclusive price regardless, so you’re covered.
2) Ask in advance
Even the most family-friendly resorts will often need advance notice for the loan of equipment, such as baby monitors and buggies, and especially for professional babysitting services in the evenings. Request what you’ll need and when, and you can set off for the trip feeling relaxed.
3) Put food first
Part of the convenience of an all-inclusive resort is taking most of your meals there, which can be fantastically helpful. Kids’ menus are hard to get wrong, so make quality meals for yourself a priority: look for evidence of fresh, local produce, credible chefs with a reputation garnered at other establishments and a range of international cuisines that will offer real variety during your trip.
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