Watergate Bay Hotel, UK
This chic Cornish waterfront hotel offers surf lessons to ages 8-15 (free during school holidays). The XA Club (7-12s) offers beach activities, smoothie-making, woodwork, and tin-can cookery; the Kids’ Zone (3-7s) includes rock pooling and beach games. Parents can enjoy everything from a beach massage to a spell in the Canadian hot tub or Finnish sauna. Rooms from £185 a night.
Hotel Club Le Crêt, France
This three-star in the Portes du Soleil ski area has great family facilities, plus a school holiday kids’ clubs for ages 4-14 and over. These keep junior guests entertained when they’re not taking lessons with the ski club or enjoying the indoor–outdoor pool complex or mini-farm. Activities include sports and French lessons. Rooms from €433 (£377) per person for a week half-board.
Eurocamp, various locations
This budget holiday park/camping specialist doesn’t stint when it comes to kids’ clubs. Indeed, it recently added lots of new activities to its free, age-specific clubs (from 4-17). Top picks are its ‘parcs’ with Super Station clubs, offering the likes of zorbing, a mini driving school and hover carting. Varies by location/accommodation, but a week’s stay for a family of four in May half-term costs from around £350.
Nobu Hotel Ibiza Bay, Ibiza
Opened in 2018, this hotel features stylish decor and great food, combined with a lovely beach setting and a family pool. From sushi-making at iconic in-house restaurant Nobu, to DJ workshops, yoga, Ibizan crafts and foraging, the kids’ club (4-14 years) goes beyond the normal roster of face-painting and video games. Meanwhile, Nobu raises the kids’ menu stakes with its Nobu Niños bento boxes. Rooms from £262 a night.
Periyali Villas, Zakynthos
This boutique complex on the lauded Greek island offers stylish self-catering villas plus childcare in its dedicated Clubhouse. The Hatchings Crèche caters for ages 6 months to 3 years, while the Turtles Club keeps kids aged 4-10 entertained, with everything from mask making to outdoor relay races on offer. Two-bedroom villa from £752 per person, for a week with flights and car hire.
Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Dubai
This recently revamped resort includes unlimited free access to the neighbouring Wild Wadi Water Park, plus there’s the huge KiDS Club for ages 2-10, themed as an underwater world, complete with a submarine and an outdoor splash zone. Rooms from £246 per night.
Phokaia Resort, Turkey
This recently opened beach resort, located in an unspoilt spot on the Agean coast, adds to Mark Warner’s reputation for great childcare, with clubs for ages 4-11 months, 1-2 years, 3-5, 6-9, 10-13 and 14-17, plus evening sessions. Activities include all manner of watersports from windsurfing and sailing, to tennis with expert tuition. From £2,167 per week for a family of four, with flights and a mix of half- and full-board.
Niyama Private Islands, Maldives
Niyama trumps the growing number of child-friendly resorts in the Maldives with its Explorer kids’ clubs tailored to ages 12-35 months, 3-4 years, 5-7 and 8-12. Tucked away amid the palms, it offers everything from dolphin scouting to Master Chef classes and an outdoor area with a splash park. Rooms from £475 per night.
Como Uma Canggu, Bali
This 2018 opening teaches ages 8-14 to surf at its Turtle Club; at the kids’ club, 4-12s can try their hand at making gebogan (ornate temple offerings), upcycling and Balinese dance and shadow-puppetry. Parents will enjoy the Shambhala Retreat’s yoga and Pilates studios. Rooms from £224 per night.
Published in the Family 2019 guide, distributed with the Jan/Feb 2019 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)