Best for… a couple with a baby and an older child: New York City, USA
Great, affordable family hotels include Best Western Hospitality House, where one- and two-bedroom suites come with full kitchens. Alternatively, rent an apartment in a family neighbourhood such as Brooklyn’s Carroll Gardens and you’ll have playgrounds, parks, delis and family-friendly Italian eateries on your doorstep. The Big Apple has fun for all ages, from Central Park’s boating lake and wildlife sanctuary to the Children’s Museum of Manhattan’s PlayWorks (ages 0–4), with free, daily drop-in Art Lab programmes.
Best for… a couple with a new baby: Luxury Family Hotels, UK
At these country house hotels, babies and young kids get a free two-hour session in an Ofsted-registered creche. Spas are family-friendly and you can explore the estates on foot or by bike, or relax over a cream tea or a G&T. A free baby-listening service means relaxed candlelit dinners, and some hotels offer a Sunday lie-in service, with baby whisked off to the creche. Choose from Suffolk, Dorset and Cornwall.
Best for… a couple with a baby and an under-2: Mark Warner’s Mediterranean beach holidays
Resorts in Greece, Corsica, Sardinia and Turkey are known for quality childcare plus watersports, tennis, mountain biking and fitness classes. Babies from four months can visit the Baby Club; older children up to 17 enjoy their own age-calibrated kids’ clubs. There’s a ratio of one nanny to two babies, and the same carer is guaranteed during your stay. Baby/toddler clubs have either a parents’ kitchen or in-room facilities. A ‘sleepover’ drop-in service allows those with under-3s a quiet dinner while tots sleep in the childcare centre, or nannies babysit in-room (extra charge).
Best for… a single mum with one baby: The Mum and Baby Experience, Tuscany, Italy
Hosted in a farmhouse villa, this holiday combines childcare for ages three months and over with relaxing activities for mum; everything from yoga and massage to cookery lessons and wine tasting. Kids’ places are free. You’re guaranteed the company of like-minded people, both on site and during excursions that may involve everything from a visit to a market in a medieval town to a tour of an olive mill.
And before you even get to the destination, why not check out our tips for travelling with a baby?
Published in the Family 2019 guide, distributed with the Jan/Feb 2019 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)