25 April 2016 by Simon Langley
With competing wants from all corners, choosing a summer family holiday can prove challenging, whether it’s finding time to relax or keeping teenagers engaged. One of the best ways to satisfy all parties is with a tour; perhaps combine South East Asia’s bustling capitals with its golden sands or track Africa’s majestic wildlife on a luxury safari. And, it’s impossible to ignore the appeal of your very own boutique treehouse strung among the canopy of a Swedish pine forest. But, of course, luxury beach holidays feature heavily on any list, with their appeal crossing all generations.
Escape the package holiday hordes with this secluded family resort in the Western Algarve. Backed by the greenery of the Alentejana National Park, ultra-modern designer houses and their private balconies look over the resort’s centrepiece – its golden crescent of sand. Here, guests can enjoy everything from windsurfing lessons to scuba diving expeditions or simply take things easy with beachside dining that showcases the best in Portuguese food and wine. Back at base, you’ll find a full range of kids’ activities for all ages with toddler clubs, babysitting concierges, five swimming pools, playgrounds and Club98, a sports club complete with football fields, tennis courts, gym and kayaking. Adults will also find themselves well catered for with the spa’s steam room, sauna and a wide selection of treatments and massages.
This tailor-made trip has something for everyone and is one of our best recommendations for families with older children. Start with the bustling street markets, mouthwatering food and grand palaces of the Thai capital before hitting the waters of the River Kwai. Snaking through Thailand’s western rainforests, you’ll pass temples, waterfalls, rapids and – yes – that famous bridge. After returning to Bangkok, you’ll transfer to the Elephant Hills Luxury Tented Camp in Khao Sok National Park, whose dense verdure and abundance of wildlife is first reached by a silent canoe trip. Here, you’ll not only feed and bathe the elephants but head out on long-tail boat cruises in search of monkeys, the rare Asian ox and even tigers. Round off your trip with a stay on Phang Nga’s golden beach paradise.
The roaming elephants are just one of the exciting aspects of staying at Elephant Hills Luxury Tented Camp
It’s surely every child’s dream to live in a treehouse. And, with underfloor heating, art-installation design principles and eco-friendly values, Sweden’s Treehotel finally makes it possible, if only for a day or two. Choose between perfectly square mirrored cubes, whole treetop cabins or a floating cylinder clad entirely in branches and twigs, termed the ‘Bird’s Nest’. For kids, we recommend the bright chrome of The UFO, a spaceship seemingly hovering above the forest floor. In terms of activities, while the winter brings skiing, snowmobiling and dogsledding, the warmer months are ideal for mountain biking, white water rafting, kayaking and moose safaris. Other family-friendly options include making your own pizza and tented storytelling evenings. And, the best way to get around? Zip-lining of course.
The imagination of children and adults alike will be captured by sleeping high up in the trees
Sicily, with its captivating history and endless stretches of beaches, is consistently ranked as one of the best summer getaway destinations. And, set among the orange groves of the island’s southwest coast, Verdura Resort is perfectly poised for exploring everything from Mount Etna to the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento. Luxury rooms and suites look out over bright green, landscaped grounds to the crystalline blue of the Mediterranean beyond. Between child-orientated cooking lessons, swimming pools and scavenger hunts, children between four and 12 are well catered for; there’s even a ‘teddy turndown’ service complete with milk and cookies. Adults – and older children – will be equally looked after in the spa with an extensive range of treatments available along with a gym, Finnish and infrared saunas, seawater thalassotherapy pools and a terrace bar overlooking the surrounding mountains.
Verdura Golf Resort & Spa is a relaxing, family-friendly resort on the island of Sicily
For wildlife lovers young and old, nothing beats southern Africa’s Big Five. And no trip to the region would be complete without a trip to Victoria Falls as canoeing tours, river cruises and white water rafting let you explore the waters that form what is the world’s largest waterfall. Then, head to Botswana’s Chobe National Park home to the Savuti Channel, a deep clear waterway that attracts everything from plains game to hippos and predators. Next, a flight will bring you to the luxury African cottages of &Beyond’s Okavango Delta and their private game reserve. Here and throughout your journey, experienced local guides will lead you across land and water between reed beds and open savannahs to elephants, giraffes, lions, leopards and red antelopes. For the best views, look to a scenic helicopter ride.
The sensational wildlife in Botswana won't fail to capture your children's imagination
Keep everyone happy by combining city slicking with an idyllic island paradise. Begin with the Malaysian capital’s skyscraping sights before hunkering down to the street food of Little India and Chinatown after visiting KL’s historic green squares and mosques. Then, you’ll make the short flight to Langkawi, a tropical island paradise close to the Thai border. Choose between rainforest or beach accommodation at the excellent Datai resort where you can be as active or lazy as you want. There’re nature excursions into the overgrowth or cruises out to snorkel and dive spots along with tennis courts, swimming pools, a golf course, a spa and cooking classes. Even the most reluctant of teenagers will find their nose unwrinkled.
The Datai in Langkawi is home to exceptional natural surrounds – perfect for your children to either roam or relax