Fidgety toddlers and overactive older children can turn a holiday into hard work. The solution? A family-friendly destination that offers the best for everyone. Here’s a handful of great spots to take the brood, both in the region and beyond.
There’s a good reason why Iceland sits on top of so many bucket lists. What it lacks in size, it makes up for in natural wonder, making it the perfect destination for an adventure-packed holiday with the kids during either the summer or winter months.
The consultants at luxury travel operator Scott Dunn know Iceland inside out, and can create memorable tailor-made holidays for the whole family. Children will find the strange and curious landscapes of Iceland like a living laboratory. They can marvel at volcanoes and erupting geysers, hide behind waterfalls and climb magnificent glaciers along the southern coastline, all within easy reach of dynamic capital Reykjavik. Or go whale- and puffin-watching, horse-trekking across lava fields, play hide and seek in the steam at the Blue Lagoon, and discover the myths of Iceland’s magical hidden people.
A vast “Big Five” safari reserve in South Africa’s Eastern Cape, Kwandwe Private Game Reserve offers a series of “Eco-nect” activities individually tailored to families. Led by Kwandwe’s award winning guiding team, you can partake in voluntourism activities through the Ubunye Foundation, which works with communities on and around the reserve. Activities might include playing with preschool kids, or helping to make beads, dolls and blankets.
Other fun things for kids to do include kite building, treasure hunts, fishing, and learning about animal tracks. Also, all children can offset their own (small!) carbon footprint by planting spekboom, a prolific plant around Kwandwe and one of the top five carbon-storing vegetations on the planet. To wrap up each day, the staff have written a series of African bedtime stories recalled from their own childhood.
Accommodation options include three family-friendly safari villas and three vibrant family suites. Rates start from around HK$17,000 per night for a family of four on a full-board basis including drinks, private vehicle, ranger and tracker, and safari activities. Child-minders are available with prior arrangement at no additional cost.
Sri Lanka and Thailand
Private Paradise Designed for families seeking the ultimate stress-free and pampered holiday, the all inclusive Àni Sri Lanka and Àni Thailand resorts offer high-calibre accommodation, absolute privacy and top-end wining, dining and all-round entertainment included in their daily rates.
Families can join group activities such as cookery classes with a private chef, guided bike tours of surrounding villages and evening games at the famous shuffleboard courts. Parents can lap up some individual time with spa treatments, private yoga sessions or relaxing by the pool, while children partake in a daily activity programme made up of treasure hunts, making sandcastles, arts and crafts, kids’ yoga, tennis lessons and more. Or, the little ones can simply run around the resort and ride down the waterslide under the supervision of their very own butler.
It’s all included, and all there for families to enjoy.
email@example.com | aniprivateresorts.com
Breathtaking Beachfront InterContinental Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort is an exclusive sanctuary of 78 rooms, suites and villas in southwest Koh Samui with spectacular views overlooking the Gulf of Thailand and the secluded enclave of Taling Ngam Bay.
Currently on offer at the resort is a “Family Pleasure” package (minimum three nights), including accommodation in a luxe two- or three-bedroom villa for two adults and two children, with daily family breakfast, two hours of free babysitting, a 60-minute body massage for two adults, free kids’ meals in all outlets, free daily access to the resort’s kids’ club, Planet Trekkers, one cooking class for kids, welcome children’s amenities, and free Wi-Fi.
Relax on the white beach or around one of the seven different pools as your kids have a ball at Planet Trekkers. Discover the real Samui with unique cultural activities. And wrap up each day with stunning sunsets and family beachside barbecues, or romantic dinners under the stars.
+66 (0) 2 656 0440 | samui.intercontinental.com/family-pleasure
Keeping the family happy and entertained is a breeze at Grand Cliff Nusa Dua. Spanning three levels, this contemporary seaside property features a private pool, two living rooms, indoor and outdoor dining, a games room, home theatre, poolside spa and relaxation pavilion.
The five-bedroom villa is well-equipped for families – including high chairs, car seats, baby cots and games. And it comes fully staffed, with a private chef and a driver. Big and little kids will enjoy watching movies in the theatre and playing games on the Playstation 4. There’s also a karaoke machine, board games and billiard table to keep everyone content.
Away from the villa, little ones will enjoy a trip to Pirates Bay at Nusa Dua, with its pirate ship, treehouses and hanging bridges. Older kids could try Surf & Turf, a trendy beach club that houses the first FlowRider in Bali. You could also head to Tanjung Benoa for watersports. And end the day at Jimbaran beach for a seafood dinner as the sun sets.
firstname.lastname@example.org | grandcliffvillas.com
Surrounded by rice terraces and greenery, Kaba Kaba Estate in Bali’s Tabanan regency (north of Canggu) is an expansive eight-bedroom villa. There’s a main pool, two plunge pools and a pool specially for little ones. Kids will also love their own special bunk-bed room. Besides a living room, a dining pavilion that seats 18, a library and media room, there’s also a swanky rooftop bar ideal for entertaining.
Prefer a more relaxing holiday vibe? The dedicated spa has two massage tables, a spa bath and private garden. Or, head to the tennis court and croquet lawn for a quick game. Or hop on one of the bikes (including two children’s bikes) and explore the surrounding villages. Besides enjoying the pools, spa and games in the villa, you can also arrange for Balinese dance lessons and yoga sessions. Or make a trip to visit sacred Pura Tanah Lot, an ancient Hindu temple perched on a cliff.
email@example.com | kabakabaestate.com
Sohamsa Ocean Estate boasts two stunning cliff-side villas that offer loads of space for the whole family. Located about half an hour from Bali’s airport, the five-bedroom Villa Soham and four-bedroom Villa Hamsa share a dedicated team of 10 staff who’ll be at your beck and call. So you won’t need to lift a finger!
The villas feature private pools and spacious living and dining areas. Both are well-equipped with mod-cons – think Wi-Fi, game consoles, Sonos sound systems and more. Villa Soham even has its own gym and massage room with a steam room and sauna to boot. Special items for families such as high chairs, cots and pool toys can be arranged. You can also rent a seven-seater car for up to eight hours a day to explore the area. Go shopping at Nusa Dua’s Bali Collection, enjoy a day at Pandawa Beach, or visit the famous Uluwatu temple.
firstname.lastname@example.org | sohamsaoceanestate.com
See more in our Travel section:
Six quick getaways from Hong Kong
12 things to do with kids in Hong Kong
Best expat guide to international schools in Hong Kong
This article first appeared in the February/March 2019 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.