Are you looking for a more adventurous family trip with your children? In this first part of this series, we looked at family-friendly hotels in North America that were chosen by the children of 15 family travel bloggers. In this part, we look at 10 family getaways recommended by kids outside of North America. These family getaways are a more varied type including hotels in theme parks, a luxury family-friendly tree house and a luxury family safari lodge. According to travel industry reports, 85% of family travellers are influenced by their children in making a decision about where to travel. Going by the list below, I’d say our kids know what they want and have excellent taste.
The Resort With The Water Park Next Door
The Palm, Dubai
“My kids loved The Atlantis in Dubai but not for the reason you would expect. Sure, they loved having easy access to the Atlantis Water Park next door. We could nip in for an hour or two and then return to our uncrowded hotel pools to lounge.
Their absolute favourite bit though were the chocolate fountains at breakfast. There was even a choice of white chocolate and milk chocolate. It was the first time they’d seen chocolate fountains and they were smitten. I didn’t have the heart to say no to chocolate for breakfast (after all, they successfully argued hot chocolate is a European breakfast drink). I did make them dip fruit in the chocolate fountain instead of marshmallows. Strawberries in chocolate for breakfast – the hardship! “
– Shobha George at Just Go Places
The Hotel For Thomas The Tank Engine Fans
The Drayton Manor Hotel
“My son fell in love with Thomas the Tank engine when he was one year old, so when we discovered that in the UK there is a park entirely dedicated to his hero, we knew we had to go. We made a weekend out of the expedition and went all out booking a family room in the on-site accommodation, the Drayton Manor Hotel: to say it was a hit, with the kids, would be a gross understatement.
The hotel is all themed out with characters from the Thomas series and as soon as we walked into the lobby, the children caught a glimpse of two massive moulds of Thomas and Rosie, attached to the walls. They dashed to them and plastered themselves against the big trains, giving them a hug and kisses. You would have thought they were long lost parents or siblings they hadn’t seen in years: a display of love I had never witnessed before! My daughter in particular, until that moment quite brazen about trains, started cooing and stroking Rosie’s plastic face. It took us 40 minutes to peel them away from the lobby and,to this day, what they remember most about the Drayton Manor experience was the hotel and that they could sleep while their heroes guarded the hotel door!”
– Marta Correale at Learning Escapes
The Hotel That is an Irish Castle
The Clontarf Castle Hotel
“In April I took two of my boys, ages 10 and 12, on their first visit to Europe. One of the things that they were the most excited about was to explore some castles. This was a big draw since they had already been studying them in school and pretended to be knights for years. When I was looking for places to stay in Dublin, I found The Clontarf Castle Hotel. Not only did my kids get to go into a castle, they got to sleep and eat in one! The luxury hotel made the whole family happy. I loved the location slightly outside of the city, but close to the waterfront and Howth, as well as a bus line.
The kids loved the decorations and food. It is one of the parts of the trip that they still talk about and wrote about in papers when we returned to school.”
– Jamie Italiane at The Daily Adventures of Me
The Hidden Gem in the Cinque Terre
A hidden gem near the famous Cinque Terre beaches.
B&B Il Tulipano
Cinque Terre, Italy
“The Cinque Terre is an enchanted place, known all over the world for the five tiny villages sheltered behind mountain and sea. We adore going there!! It’s quite close to Milano (2 hours drive) and it’s the ideal escape from the city, no matter the season. But Cinque Terre can be very crowded and expensive too… so that’s why the accommodation we love the most is not properly there, but just a few km from Riomaggiore, the biggest village of Cinque Terre. Let us introduce you B&B Il Tulipano (The Tulip) because the owner is a Dutch girl who settled there and welcomes guests from all over the world!!
This cosy B&B is just behind the hill of Riomaggiore, close to the sea, but it’s completely surrounded by silence, enchanted nature and a familiar atmosphere. You can even admire fireflies at night! You’ll love this place and your kids too. Federico (our eldest son) never wants to go back home and always asks to plan a new adventure there, guess why?? Because he can play free and have fun with a kids-tractor in unspoilt nature! Mariette is a superb host for a great place to stay: you’ll remember breakfast served under wisteria, the deepest sleep ever and the feel of freedom!!”
– Alessandra Granata at Tips 4 Italian Trips
The Red Sea Resort With the Great Food
The Radisson Blu Tala Bay Resort
“During our visit to Jordan we experienced countless gorgeous desert landscapes. Hot and dry were the norm during our visit. That is until we visited the Red Sea resort town of Aqaba and checked into the Radisson Blu Tala Bay Resort.
With sweeping views of the Red Sea and large, bright and sunny rooms, the Radisson Blu offered all the luxury that was promised. The kids loved the countless swimming pools available. The food was incredible as well. The boys favourite was the Aziab buffet which featured a very plentiful desert bar that had my kid’s attention the moment they walked in.
We booked the boys in to the hotels Kid’s Club while we joined a dive, and when we returned we could barely pull the boys away. Their faces had been painted in superhero themes and they were sporting toys they had won at the camp. The boys still talk about what a great experience they had at this hotel, and without a doubt, we would return.”
– Kevin Wagar at Wandering Wagars
The Resort With All Complimentary Activities
The Hilton Mauritius Resort and Spa
“When it comes to staying at a family-friendly resort, my kids’ can be tough critics. Hilton Mauritius Resort and Spa exceeded their kid-tough expectations and more! Located on an idyllic island in the Indian Ocean and surrounded by stunning crystalline waters, steep volcanic mountains frame the backdrop of this family-friendly resort which features lush landscaping, koi ponds and waterfall pools.
What makes Hilton Mauritius Resort and Spa stand out are all of the complimentary activities offered to guests. In fact, it can be very difficult to decide what to do! You will find in your room a list of daily activities offered such as morning yoga, pool exercise classes, tennis lessons and bike rides. Evening entertainment is also provided and the kids will definitely enjoy the torch lightening ceremony! Best of all, numerous water activities such as water-skiing, snorkeling, and dolphin watching are also complimentary.
When the parents need some adult-time, kids will love spending time in the complimentary Kidz Paradise club. Because there are so many fun family activities at Hilton Mauritius Resort and Spa, your family will have the vacation of a lifetime!”
– Lara Dorman at 2 Moms Travel
The Resort Where You Make A Grand Entrance
The Six Senses Zighy Bay
“The Six Senses Zighy Bay in Oman, just two hours from Dubai, is one of the kid-friendliest places we’ve stayed anywhere. In fact, my 10-year-old has already voted to return there next year as part of her annual trip with me.
What made it kid-friendly?
- You paraglide in to check in. This may be the only hotel in the world with a paragliding entrance? My daughter loved it.
- The beach is perfect and the water is warm.
- There’s a fort at each villa. Technically it’s an Omani Summer House, a small-shaded room in the courtyard, but my daughter took it over as her own personal fort.
- There’s a private plunge pool at each villa. Enough said!
- The food was excellent. Even the pickiest eaters should be able to find food they like.
- There’s a kid’s club and a teen club with legitimately cool activities. The teen club has a bungee trampoline!
- The ocean tubing was a blast – we could have stayed out there all day.
- You get around the resort on bicycles, and there are bikes sized perfectly for every age.”
– Eric Stoen at Travel Babbo
The Game Reserve With the Great Animal Views
Mala Mala Game Reserve
Kruger National Park, South Africa
“Mala Mala Game Reserve outside of Kruger National Park in South Africa is my 6 year old’s favourite hotel in the world. Sitting in our private deck overlooking a river where animals come to drink from morning to night was all the entertainment he needed. Watching as elephants, giraffe, leopards, exotic birds and hippos appeared on our doorstep all within minutes was out of this world.
With morning and afternoon game drives through the reserve observing the worlds most fantastic animals in their native habitats, followed by kids club activities like fishing, animal tracking and bush walks.
My 6 year old’s days were filled with what he loves most – animals. Families looking for a once in a lifetime experience up close and personal with the wilds of Africa will be in heaven at the Mala Mala Game Reserve. All you need is to arrive with a desire to experience the world in its most natural form and you will leave aching to return again.”
– Karilyn Owen at No Back Home
The Luxury Private Hotel Set In the Rainforest
Tsala Treetop Lodge
Harkerville, near Plettenberg Bay, South Africa
“Our children loved the Tsala Treetop Lodge because our villa was a separate little tree house with it’s own privacy wall overlooking an ancient rain forest. They had their own bedroom, en-suite bathroom and (very importantly) flat-screen television.
The best part though was the inside-outside shower. My son thought it was the coolest thing to have a hot shower outside overlooking the forest (with the mist and rain surrounding him). I fear we may have a future naturist on our hands. The little villa also had it’s own private hot tub which was also a big hit for the kids.”
– Shobha George at Just Go Places
The Resort With For The Active Family in Thailand
Sunwing Kamala Beach Resort
“Our kids (6, 4, 3 months) LOVE the Sunwing Kamala Beach Resort in Phuket, Thailand. It’s very kid focused so it suited them perfectly.
The first thing that attracted them to this resort is the fact that it has 8 pools. 7 of which are big with beach entry points. They loved trying them all out. There are also three waterslides which are very popular.
Next, they loved the kids’ club. It has great staff who would play with them and some good activities like ceramic painting and party times which they enjoyed.
They loved meal times as there is always a buffet (they’re favourite thing in the world). In fact, the only thing that would have made this resort better is if we had been there in peak season where they have a special kids’ buffet at meal times.
They also loved that there is a massage place on the hotel grounds that serves tons of kids so they were able to get massages and have their nails done, etc by people who are used to dealing with kids.
Finally they loved the crazy amount of kid equipment that came with our room. Our baby was happy that he had a bouncer, bumbo, changing mat, pram etc. My 4 year old son was super happy that there was a stool so he could reach the sink, and a mat with roads on it so he could use it to play with his cars.”
– Sharon Gourlay at Where’s Sharon
10 Family Getaways Recommended by Kids
I love the diversity of these recommendations by kids. It shows that kids are more interested in enjoying a place than just hanging out in the pool or at the kids club.
Which of these hotels, resorts and lodges would you consider? I personally would love to do the paragliding experience into the Six Senses Zighy Bay because it’s something I would not do otherwise. Do you have any other family-friendly accommodation you would like to add to the list?