Without dwelling too much on the doom and gloom of lockdown life, this year has seen the separation of loved ones and kept many households around the world in social isolation. When reunions become possible again, our selection of family-friendly boutique hotels will bring you closer than ever – all you need to sort is your social bubble.
Escape to the Country
Domaine des Etangs, Massignac – France
A turreted castle set deep in the Charente countryside, Domaine des Etangs will make your little ones feel as though they have stepped into a storybook filled with woodland creatures and farmyard animals. Make friends with the local wildlife – from herons and otters to deer and Limousin cows – with a visit to the nearby farm, or the Haute Charente Adventure Park. After a day spent enjoying the great outdoors with horse riding classes or lakeside fishing (for seven year olds upwards), a selection of rustic retreats await within the hotel grounds, from the Farmhouse to the Métairies rooms, six smallholdings nestled between two ponds which have been named with youngsters in mind – Unicorn, Dragon, and Pegasus complete the fairytale picture.
Castello di Reschio, Umbria – Italy
A timeless collection of nine bespoke farmhouses dotted across a 1,500-hectare landscape on the Umbrian-Tuscan border, immerse your family in Italian rural life at Castello di Reschio. The surrounding countryside – both on and off the estate – gives you plenty of reasons to go off the beaten track. From horse riding, tennis lessons and pizza making classes, to wildlife watching, truffle hunting, hiking and biking, there is something for everyone at this meticulously restored one-thousand-year-old castle.
The Fish Hotel, Cotswolds – UK
A quirky country estate quite unlike any other, The Fish brings you back to nature in boutique hotel style. Suitable for broods of all shapes and sizes, families will find 400-acres of Cotswold countryside to explore right on their doorstep. A village-style collection of houses, huts and hideaways, there are several family-friendly options to choose from – whether it’s the interconnecting Veranda Suites, the standalone, six-bedroom Farmhouse which sleeps up to 15 adults and children, or the Treehouses with a magical woodland setting and bunk beds for two little ones, The Fish is made for laid-back luxury family breaks.
Hacienda Zorita Wine Hotel & Organic Farm, Salamanca – Spain
Dating back to the 14th-century, Hacienda Zorita Wine Hotel & Organic Farm is a blissful retreat encircled by vineyards in the Duero Valley. There is fun for all the family at the hotel’s organic farm, where guests can sample cheese and an authentic hacienda meal, to get a taste for the Spanish countryside. Plan your visit for next autumn, to take part in the annual harvest festival – pick, collect and chop your own grapes, before a traditional barbecue, live music, and lots of wine (for the grown up members of the family!)
Hotel Casa Palmela, Setubal – Portugal
Down a long, vineyard-lined road with the rolling hills of Arrábida Natural Park on all sides, lies Hotel Casa Palmela. The serene white 18th-century house has been completely restored into a luxurious countryside casa, moments from secluded beaches and verdant mountains. The Garden House is the perfect option for larger groups, located in the most secluded area of the hotel grounds and with a spacious set of suites, you will be made to feel instantly at home. Gather round the table (or picnic blanket) for a taste of the renowned Azeitão regional cheese, or explore the Natural Park by bike, on horseback, or simply on foot, before cooling off on the Atlantic coast.
Nobu Hotel Ibiza Bay, Ibiza – Spain
Set on the quieter side of Ibiza beside the waters of Talamanca Bay, Nobu Hotel Ibiza Bay is sure to be a hit with teens, tweens, and tots (not to mention parents, of course). The Kid’s Club is as trendy as the rest of this stylish White Isle setting, with a series of island inspired activities for children aged 4-12. Little bohos can discover the art of jewelry making and basket weaving from local artisans at the hotel’s Hippy Market, whilst those with inquisitive minds will love learning about the environment through Balearic crafts lessons using repurposed material from the beach like fancy dress parties, mermaid and pirate days, sandcastle creations and master chef sessions at Nobu and Chambao. The musically minded can find their rhythm during the DJ workshops, while parents can enjoy some peace and quiet in the hotel’s Six Senses Spa. Get together in one of the family pool cabanas for a blissed-out beach day, nibbling on bento boxes from the sashimi-serving Nobu Restaurant.
St. Nicolas Bay Resort Hotel & Villas, Crete – Greece
Overlooking Mirabello Bay on a secluded private beach, St. Nicolas Bay Resort Hotel & Villas is the epitome of laid-back island luxury. Families of up to six can choose from an array of quintessentially Cretan accommodation, including interconnecting rooms, Family Suites, Club Suites, and villas with their own private pool. Children can make a splash in the seawater paddling pool next to the hotel’s large outdoor swimming pool, just a few steps from the sea, while the protected sandy cove is perfect for all ages. There is also an early dining room service menu for youngsters, and special baby food can be prepared on request. Parents can make the most of the cocktails at Astra Bar, or a candlelit dinner under the stars at The Minotaure Restaurant, safe in the knowledge that their little ones are being looked after in the Mini Club.
Smiths Beach Resort, Yallingup – Australia
This environmentally-friendly and picturesque resort is set within a National Park, providing the ultimate Australian beachside experience. Smiths Beach Resort‘s beautifully furnished Two and Three Bedroom Garden or Ocean View Villas and Three and Four Bedroom Beach Houses make the perfect home-from-home for any family gathering, each with their own pool and self-catering facilities. Take a picnic lunch from the Gourmet Deli to the beach, or visit the nearby Animal Farm just outside of Margaret River where you can meet over 350 animals and feed baby kangaroos in the farm’s nursery.
Hidden Hills Villas, Bali – Indonesia
Tucked away in the peak beauty of Uluwatu, Hidden Hills Villas borrows the best of the boutique hotel experience to create perfectly private residences at the height of luxury. Taking inspiration from China, Java, the Mediterranean and, of course, Bali, no two villas are the same – but they’re all set up for larger groups, and boast spectacular Indian Ocean views. And with a special Family Package, including a fresh fruit basket, babysitting, pool toys, a full day of Bali, and a couples’ massage for parents, the whole family will be more than taken care of at Hidden Hills.
Koh Russey Villas & Resort, Bamboo Island – Cambodia
A blissful retreat on Cambodia’s remote Bamboo Island, the ocean is only ever a short walk away at Koh Russey Villas & Resort. The resort’s Two and Four Bedroom Beachfront Villas can accommodate six to eight guests respectively, and have been designed to blend with the backdrop of palm trees and bamboo groves, home to colourful local birds. The island is little more than a mile wide – and nature is all around. During the day, there is a whole host of island activities to try – from kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, snorkelling and fishing, to beach picnics and cooking classes. As the sun sets, gather under the starry sky for an open-air cinema night, or experience a bioluminescent swim with glowing plankton.
DUKES LONDON – UK
With its heritage style and warm hospitality, DUKES LONDON is a sophisticated home-from-home in the heart of the city. Children will find a thoughtful selection of in-room amenities, including a colouring book, a Dukesy toy and milk and cookies, while grown ups can enjoy a tipple in the DUKES Bar, world-renowned for its martinis – from here, retire to the Drawing Room or the Cognac and Cigar Garden. When you’re ready to explore, you’ll find many of London’s must-see sights at your feet. Borrow a bike from DUKES LONDON and cycle around St. James’s Park. Visit the royal palaces, or book a private tour led by a hotel guide to hear the stories of the kings and queens who called them home.
Hangzhou Rose Garden Resort & Spa, Hangzhou – China
Set in the once ancient capital of China, Hangzhou is renowned for its beautiful natural scenery, fine green tea, and lakeside temples. Nestled in pretty gardens, close to the Qiantang River and the famous Six Harmonies Pagoda, Hangzhou Rose Garden Resort & Spa is an intimate resort with just 50 well-proportioned rooms and one suite. Families of four will have plenty of space for fun and games in the Family Room, which comes with an indoor tent and toys for little ones, in addition to mini slippers and bathrobes in every room. Choose from a child-friendly menu at breakfast, sample the delicious local cuisine in the Jade Hall restaurant or enjoy Western cuisine in the British Bar.
Palm Suite, Rome – Italy
A colourful collection of eclectic Roman residences, Palm Suite puts the history of the Eternal City right at your feet. Within seven minutes, you can be at any one of the ‘big five’: Capitoline Hill, the Forum, the Pantheon, the Colosseum and Basilica of Saint Peter in Chains. The boldly decorated Family Suites sleep four to five, making Palm Suite the perfect base for a Roman Holiday. After a day spent exploring ancient landmarks and awe-inspiring sights, take in Rome’s famous skyline back in the comfort of your private residence.
Altstadt Vienna – Austria
Housed in a 19th-century town house in Vienna’s historic and artistic quarter, Altstadt Vienna puts the Austrian capital at your feet – located in a quieter part of the city, just a fifteen minute walk from the centre. Spread across five floors, modern works of art by Gilbert & George and Andy Warhol decorate the walls throughout the hotel. Families of four will find more than enough space to stretch out after a day exploring the city (by horse-drawn carriage for a traditional tour) in the Family Suites, which are set over two separate bedrooms and have their own living rooms.
Urso Hotel & Spa, Madrid – Spain
Originally an early 20th-century palace, Urso Hotel & Spa has been lovingly and meticulously restored to create a beautifully styled, contemporary boutique property. Surrounded by embassy buildings, independent boutiques, tapas bars and restaurants, the hotel is just a ten-minute walk from Madrid’s famous golden triangle of art galleries. The Urso Family Rooms are made up of an elegant Junior Suite with large floor-to-ceiling windows connected by a private hall to a comfortable Urso Double.
Bay of Many Coves, Queen Charlotte Sound – New Zealand
Set in a tranquil cove with beautiful views of the Marlborough Sounds, Bay of Many Coves is an exclusive retreat offering a truly unique New Zealand experience. The Two and Three Bedroom Apartments make the ideal base for an adventure-seeking family, with all the natural beauty of this eco haven to explore. Kayaks and paddleboards are available for discovering the bay’s abundant marine life – watch out for dolphins, often spotted around the resort, as well as fur seals. Back on dry land, wander down one of the many forest tracks and discover a wonderful range of native birds.
Rawah Ranch, Colorado – USA
This self-styled ‘dude’ ranch and fly-fishing lodge on the Colorado-Wyoming border is an authentic slice of the Wild West. Rawah Ranch keeps their youngest guests busy with a daily morning programme of cowboy pastimes, giving the more grown-up members of the family to escape on their own adventures. Make your own dream catchers to keep nightmares at bay, paint your imagination’s creations onto rocks found around the ranch, or shape and decorate some leather designs – if you want the Rawah Brand on it, simply ask the staff around the campfire. The wilderness will be yours to explore, with endless activities which make the most of the great outdoors – from panning for gold, horse back riding, pond fishing, and guided nature walks, to meeting the ranch animals up close on the Tiny Hiney Farm. Read all about a recent family visit to the ranch here.
Los Altos Resort & Spa, Manuel Antonio – Costa Rica
Tucked into the rainforest canopy, Los Altos Resort & Spa offers relaxed luxury in the pristine eco-wilderness of Manuel Antonio. Wake to the sounds of howler monkeys, glimpse toucans among the trees, and breakfast with hummingbirds – you’ll be surrounded by restorative nature here. Rooms at Los Altos vary from spacious to huge. Each has an immersed-in-nature feel, with sweeping outlooks over rainforest, sea or both. And all suites come with kitchens and sumptuous lounging spaces – which are especially great for groups or families. Enjoy a Family Time offer where children eat for free, and parents can enjoy a discount in the outside-inside luxury spa.
The Marine, Hermanus – South Africa
This beautiful clifftop retreat on South Africa’s rugged Hermanus coast looks out over Walker Bay, where guests can get a glimpse of the Southern Right Whales from the comfort of the stylishly decorated rooms, if visiting during June or December. Family time at The Marine is spent in the comfort of interconnecting rooms, enjoying a morning of marine safari – get up close with seals, dolphins and penguins – followed by a picnic on Fernkloof Nature Reserve, ending with a family dinner at Origins Restaurant.
The Plettenberg, Plettenberg Bay – South Africa
Poised above one of South Africa’s finest bays, The Plettenberg makes the ideal boutique base to explore the diverse 200km Garden Route, one of the country’s most popular experiences. Families of five can make themselves at home in the two bedroom Beach House, while larger families of seven can stretch out in the three bedroom Lookout Villa, both with their own private pools. Get to know the local wildlife with a morning Canopy Tour to Monkey Land or Birds of Eden, or a visit to the nearby elephant sanctuary, before taking a stroll down to Lookout Beach – perfect for families with its shallow lagoon.
Le Refuge de la Traye, Méribel – France
Hidden away in the Alps, Le Refuge de la Traye is a collection of eco-luxury chalets dotted about a miniature hamlet, in enviable proximity to Les 3 Vallées ski region. This Alpine retreat gives mini snow seekers plenty of reasons to spend their days in the fresh air, from an electric snowmobile track, 5.5km of sledge runs (which can be organised day or night!), to a treasure hunt on the mountain which teaches children how to use an avalanche search device. After a day on the slopes, hang up your boots in the Edelweiss Family Cottage, a wonderfully rustic wooden chalet with exposed beams and soft furnishings.
Crans Ambassador, Crans Montana – Switzerland
Escape to the great outdoors in style at Crans Ambassador, a luxury hotel in the Swiss Alps. With sublime mountain views at every turn, this contemporary chalet offers the chance to immerse yourself in your surroundings. In winter, pick up snow-sport supplies at the on-site ski shop and stroll to the nearby lift, then warm up with a Swiss sharing platter or raclette. If you or your little ones begin to feel ski-weary, spend a day dog-sledding as part of the hotel’s family package, which will be available from 2021.
El Lodge Ski and Spa, Granada – Spain
Cosily kitted out with vintage ski posters, antler chandeliers and animal prints by designer Andrew Martin, El Lodge Ski and Spa redefines the luxury log cabin. El Lodge offers everything from private snowsports lessons, a fun-filled Kid’s Club to a boot warming service – all with ski-in ski-out access to the surrounding 45 pistes and six off-piste ski runs. Families of six can cosy up in the Two Bedroom Corner Suite, with bunk beds for the youngsters and a separate living room for post-ski down time.
Kristiania Lech, Lech am Arlberg – Austria
An exquisitely decorated Alpine retreat with the feel of a private residence rather than a hotel, Kristiania Lech will make every member of your family feel instantly at home. The 29 bedrooms and suites are individually and charmingly decorated with original pieces of art and wonderful views over the village of Lech and towards the Alps. Children up to the age of ten can enjoy breakfast and biscuits throughout the day free of charge, and will find mini bathrobes, towels, and bed linen in each room. Besides the snowsports, the hotel is happy to organise ‘sofa cinema’ evenings, picnics in the snow, and all your bedtime reading will be prepared by your butler before you arrive – simply request your favourite books two weeks before your stay.
Hotel Firefly, Zermatt – Switzerland
One of the most stylish hotels in Zermatt at the foot of the Matterhorn, the all-suite Hotel Firefly offers spellbinding views of the soaring peaks of the Valais Alps. The sleek and spacious Maxi Suites sleep up to seven, while the larger Chalet Suites and Skylight Loft can accommodate up to ten guests. If you’d prefer not to dine out, cook up a meal in your private kitchen, to make yourself really feel at home. Beyond the front door, there’s Zermatt’s exhilarating ski runs to explore – including the all-year routes on Theodul Glacier.