Family holidays — like families — come in all shapes and sizes. Whether your dream adventure involves kayaking with dugongs in Thailand, stomping around green grounds in Hampshire, having breakfast with monkeys in Bali, playing tennis in Essaouira or dipping your toes into the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, you’ll find it in the list below:
1. Lime Wood, Hampshire, UK
Cake in the Courtyard, romping in the grounds and foraging adventures: family stays at Lime Wood is like living out a real-life adventure in the Just William storybooks (hopefully without a screaming Violet Elizabeth Bott). One simply can’t help but be impressed by the manor’s elegant Regency exterior and yet Lime Wood manages to be luxurious, without straying into stuffy. They don’t have a crèche or kids club but the faultless service from the excellent staff more than makes up for it. The hotel also has a spa that will have you as blissed out as a yogi (speaking of which, yoga and Pilates can be arranged). Some of the property’s distractions on offer include: a heated indoor pool, clutch of restaurants, bar, library of books and DVDs, pool, snooker and billiards, mountain bikes and wellies to borrow, plus walking and running trails. Hopefully WiFi will be the last thing on your mind — if not, it’s free throughout.
Smith Extra: A bottle of champagne
2. Karma Kandara, Bali, Indonesia
Warning: there’s a high risk of tantrums at departure if you take your little ones to Karma Kandara (you might stamp your feet a bit at check-out, too). They won’t want to leave the sheltered beach lagoon, friendly resident monkeys and super-fun kids club; you won’t want to leave the expert staff, spacious private villas, Indian Ocean-spying spa huts or buzzing beach bar behind, either. There are two restaurants to choose from: romantic Di Mare for Med fusion food, or laid-back Karma Beach Bali, which rustles up wave-side, wood-fired pizzas. There’s also a sophisticated wine bar with a moreish tapas menu. Each villa sports a kitchen, fridge, microwave and tableware, so it’s easy to knock up family-friendly meals or snacks chez vous.
Smith Extra: A mocktail-making class with the resident mixologist for Smith junior(s)
Typical days at Rebali Riads involve perfecting your serve on the tennis court, having home-cooked meals delivered directly to your poolside terrace and fitting in steamy trips to the white-domed hammam building, just a few feet from your daybed. Should this sound too slow-paced, sand dunes and the beach beckon on your doorstep, plus staff can swiftly arrange camel rides, quad biking, kitesurfing and more. If you’ve ever longed to be a belly dancer, now’s your chance: lessons can be arranged (as can yoga). There’s no restaurant, because guests tend to eat at the Zellige-tiled tables by their shared or private pool: you can cater for yourself (your hosts will gladly order ingredients for you), or the hotel’s chef can prepare a menu, set the table and tidy up afterwards. Bliss.
Smith Extra: A bottle of wine on arrival
4. Anantara Si Kao Resort & Spa, Krabi, Thailand
If you don’t know what a dugong looks like, ask Google — you won’t forget it in a hurry. At Anantara Si Khao Resort & Spa, kids can go kayaking with dugongs (you can join them); other lures include the pool and sandy beach, PADI dive centre, private beach club and Ayurvedic day spa for adults. Casual, open-air restaurant Leelawadee is the place to perch for buffet breakfasts, light pasta lunches and Southern Thai tastes at night, including roast pork and massaman curry. Si Kao’s flashy fine-diner Acqua serves traditional Italian fare and fresh-caught seafood in a sleek white dining room or out on the breezy balcony. When it comes to sleeping arrangements, the ground-floor Deluxe Family Terrace rooms are excellent for families, featuring a king-size bed, a bunk with rollaway bed for up to three children, and a garden-view terrace with dining table. They also have direct access to the garden.
Smith Extra: Free access to the kids club; free WiFi; 15 per cent off food, drinks and spa treatments
5. One&Only Hayman Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia
This Hayman Island hotel has the Great Barrier Reef as its eye-popping aquatic playground, making it perfect for water-babies of all sizes. One&Only gives its surroundings a run for its money: the huge Hayman Pool (one of the largest in the southern hemisphere) is a siren call to sunbathers and swim-up-barflies; there’s also a family-friendly heated infinity pool and a small hexagonal pool. Back on dry land, the One&Only Spa proffers trendy treatments both hi-tech and traditional, with the emphasis on winding back and taking in your surroundings. There’s a host of holistic add-ons, from private yoga to guided meditation sessions, plus bootcamp-style fitness classes, including boxing, TRX and kinesis. Pick from four restaurants and two kids clubs — the level of choice here is pleasingly bewildering.
Smith Extra An ‘Island Escapade’ snorkelling trip to Blue Pearl Bay or Langford Island for two adults and two under-13s
Smith & Family gives you the best price, guaranteed, as well as a little something extra on arrival. Book online at www.smithandfamily.com or by calling the expert Travel Team toll-free on +1 800 321 1098