Francesca Syz
Francesca Syz


HOTELS • October 2019

Six hotels the kids will love

Winter sun destinations have long been the go-to for heat-seeking honeymooners, but it's a little-known secret that they're a haven for families, too. Lift the spirits with the whole family in tow, as travel writer Francesca Syz reveals her pick of child-friendly hotels in some of the world’s most tropical locations

One & Only The Palm, Dubai

One & Only The Palm, Dubai

Time difference: Three hours ahead of UK
Average daily highs in December: 30°C
in summer can be unbearably hot, but in winter it’s lovely. On its own private marina on the furthest tip of The Palm’s West Crescent, One & Only The Palm feels private but is just a short drive from central Dubai. The complimentary KidsOnly (4 to 11-year-olds) is a parent-free zone in the main Manor House, with a TV and movie room, mini library of classic children’s books and an arts and crafts area. There’s also henna painting, belly dancing, evening campfires, tennis and swimming lessons.
Kids’ diversion: Dubai has fantastic water-themed parks – work your way through Aquaventure, Wild Wadi and Legoland
Palm Manor Premier Rooms from £600 

Four Seasons Marrakech

Four Seasons Marrakech

Time difference: None
Average daily highs in December: 14°C
Mild days and cool nights make a winter break in Marrakech ideal for children. Set within 40 acres on the edge of the historic Medina, Four Seasons Marrakech has a supervised Kids For All Seasons programme in a private ‘kasbah’, offering immersive educational experiences. It has its own theatre, library and mini kitchen, soft outdoor play zones and shallow swimming pool. A Young Adult Centre (13 to 17-year-olds), meanwhile, offers everything from film screenings to basketball games.
Kids’ diversion: Hop aboard one of Marrakech Insiders’ vintage open-air sidecars (pictured) for a ride around some less-visited neighbourhoods. Kids aged two and up welcome. The vehicles seat two. 
Doubles from €385

Six Senses Zighy Bay, Oman

Six Senses Zighy Bay, Oman

Time difference: Three hours ahead of UK
Average daily highs in December: 26°C
At the foot of ruggedly beautiful mountains on a long private beach, Six Senses Zighy Bay is modelled on an indigenous village and offers the perfect blend of sun, sea and soft adventure. There are two kids’ clubs: Chaica’s Club (four to 10-year-olds), offering lessons in Hajar rock painting and alien treasure hunts; and Al Feetean’s Teen Club (11 to 18 year-olds), where they can enjoy hiking, wadi swimming, kayaking, archery, raft building and abseiling. There are also cooking lessons and movies (with popcorn) under the stars at alfresco Cinema Paradiso – adults also invited.
Kids’ diversion: Try the 4X4 excursion to the abandoned village of Sabatyn to explore its petroglyphs, stone towers and ancient houses.
Pool villas from $708 (approx £580)


Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island and Jumeirah Al Wathba Desert Resort & Spa, Abu Dhabi

Time difference: Three hours ahead of UK
Average daily highs in December: 30°C
These resorts provide an excellent two-centre family holiday in Abu Dhabi. Start with a beachfront city break at Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island, just 500 metres off the main island of Abu Dhabi, then drive 45 minutes into the dunes to Jumeirah Al Wathba Desert Resort & Spa. Like a decadent summer house, Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island sits on the island’s best beach and has a Kids & Teens Club offering everything from beach play to movie nights. Meanwhile, Jumeirah Al Wathba has been modelled on an ancient desert village and its Sinbad’s Kids’ Club has a similar offering, plus there’s a shaded pool. Kids’ menus at both hotels are refreshingly imaginative.
Kids’ diversion: The Children’s Museum at the Louvre on Saadiyat Island offers a fun, immersive experience for all the family, including a kayak tour. In the desert, kids can explore the dunes on horseback and try Bedouin falconry.
Doubles at Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort from £275; doubles at Jumeirah Al Wathba Desert Resort & Spa from £293

Atlantis Paradise Island, Bahamas

Atlantis Paradise Island, Bahamas

Time difference: UK is five hours ahead of the Bahamas
Average daily highs in December: 24°C
Home to the world’s largest open-air marine habitat, Atlantis Paradise Island features the 141-acre Aquaventure with its Mayan Temple Leap of Faith Slide, Dolphin Cay – a 14-acre sanctuary for bottlenose dolphins – 11 pools and five miles of beach. At its kids’ club, Atlantis Kids Adventures (3 to 12-year-olds), children can create their own adventure with themes such as Lego Construction, Wizardology, Victorian Dollhouse and ‘Tournaments and Talents’.
Kids’ diversion: Have your own swashbuckling adventure aboard pirate ship Revenge at the interactive Pirates of Nassau Museum in downtown Nassau, which celebrates the Golden Age of Piracy.
Doubles from £230

Hilton Labriz Resort & Spa, general view

Hilton Labriz Resort & Spa, Seychelles

Time difference: Three hours ahead of UK
Average daily highs in December: 29°C
Just a 40-minute boat ride – or 15 minutes by helicopter – from the main island of Mahé, this Hilton is the only hotel on car-free Silhouette Island, the rest of which is pristine rainforest and Insta-exceptional beaches. Families love to snorkel from the beach in its shallow lagoon, plus there’s a communal pool. There’s also the Jungle Fun Kids’ Club (for 4 to 12-year-olds), offering fish feeding, tennis lessons, arts and crafts and crazy mini golf, plus bike riding, snorkelling and diving for older kids. The resort’s deluxe hillside villas are ideal for families.
Kids’ diversion: Take the daily transfers to and from Mahé to explore the gorgeous botanical gardens.
Garden villas from £278

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