Think now you're a parent that your days of going on luxury holidays are over? Think again! Because here is my list of...
The World's Best Resorts for Luxury Family Holidays
If you've been following our travels since we became parents you'll know that we're a sucker for a dreamy, potentially budget-blowing luxury family holiday. While we used to love slow travel as a couple (including two years of nomadic life enjoying experiences like snowboarding in Finnish Lapland to road tripping around New Zealand), we quickly learned that as a family we prefer shorter trips and more relaxing travel. Cue our latest mission to discover the world's best resorts for luxury family vacations.
And we've had some great successes from the Maldives to Thailand to Greece. However, despite our best efforts it recently dawned on me that we are sadly not going to be able to visit all the best luxury family resorts in the world, at least not while our kids are still young. However, I do know or have access to a lot of people who can help me compile this list here today.
Calling on other family travel bloggers and writers with a penchant for luxury family travel I have put together this list of fantastic family-friendly luxury resorts that are perfectly equipped for children of all ages (with wide ranging family facilities from kids club to babysitting services to kids cutlery and meals in restaurants) while also offering (at least!) five-star luxury. And if luxury resort holidays aren't your sundowner cocktail or mocktail, here's a list of some other amazing once-in-a-lifetime family holidays.
I've grouped them by continent and I also hope to update the list with more luxury resorts for families as and when I try another one, or if I spot someone who has visited another good one on a luxury family vacation, so bookmark it and keep on coming back for more inspiration. Just because you have children now doesn't mean you have to miss out on a luxury holiday! And to this end it's also worth knowing about the best airlines for flying with kids so you know you're going to get a good flight experience too.
DISCLOSURE: This post contains affiliate links. I make a small commission off any purchases made but they don't cost you anything extra, and often I do a lot of research to find you the best possible deal in the link - yay!
Best Luxury Family Resorts in Europe
Sani Club at Sani Resort, Greece
Our recent family holiday at Sani Club, part of the Sani Resort on mainland Greece (near Thessaloniki) was part-babymoon, part family summer getaway and it served both purposes jolly well! We split our week there between a sea-view double room and a few nights in a private pool villa.
While yes, having a private pool was very special and indulgent, I have to say the resort's swimming pools and facilities were so good that we felt it was almost surplus to requirements (almost but not quite!). We loved how friendly the staff were with our toddler son, how there were kids' options on every menu and in the restaurants which served buffets, and you never had to hunt for a high chair.
The kids club was easily among the best we've experienced both in terms of professionalism and the varied activities on offer, and while yes, you do have to pay to put any under-4s into the kids club (for 3 hour morning or afternoon sessions) older children are free to enjoy the kids club at no extra cost.
The same staff also offered a special "Babewatch" service on the beach and by the main swimming pool, meaning parents could drop their kids off at the designated spot (where there were toys and activities etc) for up to 30 minutes so they could read a book in peace or go for a swim alone. Genius!
Ikos Dassia, Corfu, Greece
After having such an amazing two (!) stays at Sani Resort in June 2018 and May 2019, when we heard that the same company owned the Ikos brand and that this offered very similar luxury family holidays, we were VERY intrigued. Fast forward to September 2019 and we were looking for a last minute luxury family break and so we checked out the different Ikos resorts that were open.
At the time of writing in January 2020 there are currently five Ikos resorts that are open, and a sixth opening in Andalusia in Spain (near Marbella) this May. We chose Ikos Dassia on the Greek island of Corfu because the flights from Amsterdam were convenient and affordable, and we also wanted guaranteed warm weather which was more likely in a more southern location than the Halkidiki Ikos resorts (although these should still be warm enough then too).
When we arrived at Ikos Dassia it's fair to say that we felt like we were walking into Sani again, except of course things were not exactly the same. It was a little odd at first but not at all in a bad way. It was just that the blue and neutral themed decor, the spacious layout, the super family-friendly staff and facilities, and wide range of dining options all felt nicely familiar. We stayed in a two-bedroom Bungalow Suite with private pool that had almost an identical layout to our accommodation in Sani, but the key difference was that our room was still in the hotel while the Sani room had been more villa style and separate from the main building.
The key difference between Sani and Ikos resorts is that Ikos is all-inclusive, and that is for everybody. Their all-inclusive rate also includes drinks and before you wrinkle your nose at this, the drinks and food are all excellent. In fact, the all-inclusive board also includes a la carte dining in six restaurants as well as two buffet restaurants. AND it also includes all of the 24 room service from a very extensive menu. I review Ikos Dassia's all-inclusive element in more depth here.
The rate also includes kids club and activities for kids over the age of 4, and there is a creche for 3 months - 4 year olds available at extra cost (approx €30 for 3 hours or €45 for 2 x 3 hour sessions). Babysitters were basically the creche staff and they were charged at €10 an hour. They also have the Babewatch service that Sani offers, as mentioned above.
You can read more about all the kids facilities and reasons we loved Ikos in my full review of Ikos Dassia resort here, and check out the best rates and more traveller photos on Booking or TripAdvisor.
Grecotel White Palace, Crete, Greece by Sylvia Van Overwelt of Wapiti Travel
As much as we love active vacations it feels good to sometimes spoil ourselves in a luxurious resort. Not having to think of anything. Knowing that we can pick anything from the menu, be it a soft drink or some exquisite bubbles, it’s all included.
Grecotel's Lux Me White Palace lived up to our high expectations and then some. From the moment we entered the fabulous hotel it was clear that we would enjoy every moment and would regret having to say goodbye at the end of our stay. Best of all is that the hotel welcomes guests of all ages. Grecobaby, Grecokids, GrecoJunior and Grecoteens makes sure that children of all ages will have the time of their lives while their parents can relax.
While the children take part in the children activities the parents can go snorkeling, paddling or they can take part in one of the daily fitness and wellness activities. And it’s all included, just as the food in the six restaurants and all drinks in any of the six bars. The design of the hotel is modern and luxurious, the food was excellent and the polite and smiling service made our stay perfect.
Grand Palladium Palace, Ibiza, Spain
While I don't think Grand Palladium Palace resort deserves the same five stars as many on this list, it is considered a five-star resort by Ibizan or Spanish standards. All that said, one thing is for certain, it definitely ticks the family-friendly box.
We spent five days and nights here on an early summer holiday (in mid-June), which is a great time to go with young children as you'll avoid the hottest weather but will still be guaranteed sunshine and warm evenings. We loved that Grand Palladium Palace had a number of places to eat at and they all catered well for kids.
The kids club was small but big enough for the kids that loved playing there, and it was located next to a family pool area that was purpose built for children with shallow water, slides and water features. They had regular activities like bouncy castles set up for kids (of all ages!) and there were other organised events like a mini disco every evening which tired our little man out perfectly before bedtime.
All of the resort's staff were very friendly to children and we loved the oval swimming pool which was walk-in around all sides so our little boy could splash around in the shallow depths while we sat next to him and soaked up the sun. There was also a bigger pool for adults or bigger kids, and this was next to a smaller pool which was very popular with families with babies.
In addition to babysitting services there was also a sleepover option where kids could basically go to the kids club in the evening but while the kids club was free (if you booked in advance) this evening option cost €10 an hour.
Sandos San Blas Nature Resort & Golf, Tenerife, Spain (by Michelle Minnaar of Greedy Gourmet)
In the summer of 2017 my family stayed at the luxurious Sandos San Blas Nature Resort & Golf on the island of Tenerife with my family. The resort has its focus on active holidays with a wide range of activities offered to all family members. It is a perfect place for the parents to enjoy a luxurious time of relaxation. The wellness center of the resort offers finish sauna, massages, beauty treatments, as well as a fully equipped gym to keep fit. There are as many as six swimming pools for adults and two for children. You can even choose between freshwater pools and seawater pools.
The sea itself is only a few minutes’ walk away should you prefer the sandy beach to the poolside. Sandos has a lot to offer the active family, which my kids enjoyed tremendously. There are special programs for the younger children, with fun activities such as treasure hunts, art and crafts shop, and pool games. All supervised by a professional staff of course. Teenagers and adults can embark on any number of sports, such as rifle shooting, football kayaking and trekking through the surrounding country side.
The accommodation at Sandos is excellent; you can choose from standard or deluxe rooms, both available with ocean view. The rooms offer everything you need for a comfortable stay, of course, including air conditioning. On request Sandos will provide you with baby bottle warmers and sterilizers if you are holidaying with infants. As well as a beautiful luxury buffet restaurant, I especially loved the restaurant La Proa, which offers an authentic Mediterranean gourmet experience. The elegant modern building stands on its own little peninsula in a water basin, with the sea only metres away. The design of the building allows you to dine with an ocean view from any table.
Read Michelle's full review of Sandos San Blas Nature Resort here and follow her family's travels on Instagram.
Best resorts for luxury family holidays in Middle East & Africa
The Selman, Marrakech in Morroco
We stayed at The Selman before we had children and I would say that it was one of the best hotels we'd stayed at, but even back then it was changing to be more accommodating to families. We were given a tour of the grounds and discovered a new building being built which would house a luxurious kids club. We were also informed that children's activities at The Selman - which is most famous for being designed by architect Jacques Garcia and also for housing the owner's world-famous collection of Arabian horses - would include visiting the horses and helping take care of them - a pretty unique experience for kids!
The service and warmth of the staff at The Selman was already such that I know it will welcome families with open arms and there are plenty of green space for children to run around in. The swimming pool is also perfect for families as its shallow at both ends of its impressive 80 metres length, and doesn't actually go very deep in the middle.
And if you were worried that it's gone too much the other way and caters only for families, don't worry. There are places adults can still escape, like the award-winning spa and also in the bar at night. So it's a good thing that there's not only the kids club but also babysitting services. Also we can vouch for all hotel rooms being generous enough in size to easily accommodate a couple and one, maybe even two young children.
Atlantis Hotel, Dubai, UAE, by Arzo Nayel of Arzo Travels
The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai, UAE, by Kathryn Burrington of the Boutique Travel Blog
The Ritz has all the facilities you could desire including a private sandy beach lapped by clear warm water. There’s a choice of five swimming pools including a rooftop pool and an adults’ only pool but we particularly loved the free-form pool surrounded by palm trees with its own waterfall and waterslide. And with a choice of six restaurants, I’ve no doubt the whole family will enjoy dining at the Ritz. We particularly enjoyed the Palm Grill’s snacks in a bucket.
Kids will also love the Ritz Kids’ club and I’m sure they’ll learn something too from the innovative activities incorporating local culture, environmental responsibility, as well as more traditional fun things to do. While their parents will love the fine dining options, sumptuous spa and the elegant surroundings that the hotel offers.
What impressed me most though about the hotel was the attention to detail throughout, from the room facilities and furnishings to the range of hotel facilities and the excellent service. Everyone from the hotel manager to the cleaning staff greeted you with a genuinely friendly smile.
Le Lamantin is a beautiful hotel for travellers who like to be spoiled a little. It consists of cosy, round cottages with thatched roofs. There are standard rooms, suites and family rooms with 2 bedrooms. Recently they added a new part that has rooms with a private pool and butler service. We stayed in a spacious family room in one of the orange cottages. It’s decorated in African style.
Read more about Wendy's adventures in Senegal here, and follow their family travels on Instagram.
Best luxury family vacation resorts in the Caribbean & Americas
The Verandah Resort and Spa, Antigua - by Claudia Tavani from My Adventures Across The World
Verandah welcomes families with children. They can all enjoy the very large pool as well as the secluded beach (where there's a nice, easy going bar), located in a lovely bay. There is a day care called Kidz Club, with a playground and a splash pool, where children can be left whenever parents need some time off. Babysitting services are offered at an extra cost.
The rooms are nice and spacious and all have sea views. There are three kinds of rooms: hillside, waterview and waterfront. The two bedroom villas are ideal for families. Each room has showers and a tub, coffee making facilities, safes, and a great balcony to relax. The resort has three restaurants: one is buffet style restaurant; Buccaneer focuses on Caribbean style food, Nicole’s is more elegant.
There also are tennis courts; a fitness club; snorkeling and kayaking are offered along with paddle boarding, windsurfing and hobbie cat sailing. The tour desk offers tours of the island for an additional price, and there is a rental car agency for guests so families can also explore the island.
Marriott Crystal Shores in Marco Island, Florida, USA - by Marqie DQ of DQ Family Travel
Rosewood Mayakoba is a 1600-acre resort just north of Playa del Carmen in the Riviera Maya. A luxury resort featuring 130 suites with private plunge pools, garden showers, rooftop decks and their own docks to sail up to, the Rosewood Mayakoba is a little piece of heaven in Mexico.
The resort is extremely family friendly, with plenty of food options for the fussy junior jet set, a beachside pool with a shallow area for kids, beach toys for the kids to play with and free poolside snacks like sorbet.
There is also the Rose Buds kids club, a large playroom filled with toys and games, a movie screen and crafts. For a kid-free evening, babysitters can be booked through the resort.
If the pool and beach aren’t entertainment enough, Rosewood Mayakoba offers a wide variety of activities for families to enjoy together, including eco-tours, Mayan storytelling, yoga, scavenger hunts, EcoBingo, pizza class, cookie-making class, themed nights and Spanish and Mayan lessons.
We particularly loved the kids’ welcome pack which included sand toys and frisbee, a teddy, kiddie bath products, colouring in supplies and a kid-sized robe and slippers (sadly the robe and slippers had to stay at the resort).
Kids are very well looked after at the resort with little touches such as complimentary whole milk in the rooms, kiddie cups available throughout the resort and the staff make a big effort to remember the kids’ names and greet them like rock stars throughout their stay.
Read Christine's review of Rosewood Mayakoba in full, and follow their travels on Facebook.
Best resorts for luxury family holidays in Asia
Kandima Maldives, Maldives
Our stay at Kandima Maldives was the best holiday we've taken yet as a family of three, and that's even with three flights to get there each way (with a just-two-year-old!), including a horribly long layover at Dubai airport on the way back.
I should quickly add that because we went to the Maldives slightly out of season (at the end of August, beginning of September), we didn't have the best weather with as many wet and cloudy days as sunny, hot ones. However, the reason this didn't dampen our spirits and our holiday was still a great success was because this resort is perfectly set up for families. They have the biggest kids' club I've seen to date, called Kandiland, and there our boy could enjoy a wide variety of indoor and outdoor activities and was spoiled with plenty of attention from smiling, professional staff. The restaurants happily accommodated him and there too staff would spend more time chatting with him than us.
As I write in this post which has lots of tips for taking toddlers to the Maldives, we discovered that even with all these activities, sometimes our boy was happiest just playing in the sand on the beach, and of course the warm water of the Indian Ocean was very popular with a little one who wasn't yet quite used to the sea. There was also a surprising abundance of new wildlife to look at from fruit bats to lizards to a jellyfish which washed up onto the shore one day. Kandima prides itself on being "accessible luxury" and more lifestyle than exclusive island resort and it shows in how easy it was to just be there and be ourselves in the middle of paradise.
The Padma Ubud Resort, Bali, Indonesia - by Kate Comer from Rolling Along With Kids
Bali has so many accommodation options and the Padma Ubud Resort is a luxury oasis away from the busy tourist areas of the south. The expansive grounds, stunning views, beautiful infinity pool with swim up bar and to top it off a fantastic kids club featuring its very own kids pool with waterfall.
Families are well looked after at this luxury resort. Family club suites include two bedrooms interconnecting, two bathrooms, living area and the most fun of all, a spa bath on the balcony. With club room benefits you get access to your very own club lounge for breakfast and complimentary afternoon tea plus nightly cocktails for parents while the younger kids enjoy being looked after at the kids club.
Located near the main pool, the kids club is a perfect space for the kids to chill out after swimming in the pool all day. The staff are interactive with the kids and supervise activities throughout the day like face painting, yoga, fish feeding and much more. The hotel can also provide babysitting from their highly reputable staff.
There is always something to do at The Padma Ubud and the daily tour for the whole family of the animal garden with rabbits, ducks and many other animals is fun. The kids pool is perfect for toddlers to splash in and they will love the waterfall. One of our favourite things to do as a family at the Padma Ubud was to go for a walk on the jogging track to the river below. This can be done with a pram as track is paved the whole way down until a couple of steps when you reach the river.
Our family enjoys trying out different resorts when we visit Bali but this is one resort that we will definitely return to. 4 nights was not enough to enjoy all that this wonderful family resort has to offer.
You can read Kate's full guide for things to do in Bali with kids here, and follow her family's travels on Instagram.
It was our mom's 60th birthday in January this year and the whole family had decided to take a luxury vacation to Malaysia. While looking for places to stay in Kota Kinabalu, our only condition was that we needed one with a private beach. Most of the hotels in Kota Kinabalu were only sea facing but did not have access to a beach save for a couple of resorts. That is when we came across Pacific Sutera and decided that it was what we were looking for. When there are seven adults and one toddler in the group, the kid definitely takes priority.
The Pacific Sutera is part of the Sutera Harbour country resort along with the Magellan Sutera hotel. Since they share the same space, the facilities can also be shared by the guests at either of the hotels. In addition to having sea facing rooms, the resort also had a Golf course. With more than 4 pools to choose from including an Olympic pool and a kiddie pool, it was no wonder that we didn't get out of the water. It had a private marina which had private island hopping services to the nearby islands of Sapi, Mamutik and others. They also offered various water activities for the older kids and adults. There was a kid's playroom which we used just once. In addition to all this, they had different activities for the kids based on the day of the week like 'Feeding the fish', Cookie Making, Pottery lessons among many others. The three-year old had a gala time at the Pacific Sutera!
You can follow Soumya's travels and blog on Facebook.
Point Yamu by COMO, Phuket, Thailand
It's basically all Point Yamu's fault that this blog post exists. It was our visit there when my son was 18 months old that first opened my eyes to luxury family travel. Not only is it A THING but it's a whole new world to explore and enjoy. COMO is a brand that definitely nails the win-win nature of stylish, luxury family travel. They have an abundance of facilities set up for children of all ages from huge, well-equipped kids clubs to daily activities for children of all ages (including pizza making, crafts, beach walks, Thai boxing lessons and other outdoor games).
Restaurants had high chairs and served free (!!) food for babies and young toddlers. The same brilliant staff from the kids club were also the babysitters who stayed with our sleeping son a few times during our stay so we could go out for dinner, and we loved heading to the beach club for a day trip which was also perfectly equipped for kids with sand toys and a kids menu at the beach bar there. It's worth mentioning that COMO offer this free excursion to the beach club on a nearby island (a 20 minute van ride and 15 minute boat transfer away) as Point Yamu is actually sort of on the "wrong" side of Phuket where the beaches aren't so pretty. If your kid is over the age of one they will love the adventure of heading out to the island beach club (or will fall asleep on the boat like ours did) and it's a nice way to spend the day.
The Anantara Bophut Koh Samui, Thailand - by Marianne of Mum on the Move
The Anantara Bophut Koh Samui Resort is a gorgeous five star hotel located on peaceful Bophut beach in Koh Samui. The hotel is simply stunning, with beautifully landscaped tropical gardens, and elegant southern Thai architecture.
The Anantara has the most amazing infinity pool, which boasts sea views over Bophut beach. Families are very well catered for, with a fun kids club running different activities throughout the day. It has an outdoor area with sandpit and trampoline, and plenty of games and toys to play inside in air-conditioned comfort. There is also a babysitting service. Free-of-charge kayaks and stand-up paddleboards are also available, in addition to a tennis court and fitness centre.
Bophut beach is perfect for families – it is a quiet beach with shallow, calm water, perfect for kids to play in. Despite how peaceful the beach is, the Fisherman’s Village is just a short (5 minute) walk away from the Anantara.
Here you will find a vast selection of bars and restaurants, with cuisines to suit everybody. We particularly loved Coco Tam’s beach bar, where you can sit on a swing at the bar, lounge on cushions on the beach, or play pool with the ocean as a backdrop.
Marina Bay Sands, Singapore - by Halef and Michael from The Round The World Guys
Singapore is one of the top destinations in the world for luxury travel and one of the most famous and luxurious places to stay in this tiny island nation is the five star Marina Bay Sands Hotel. While a typical room here offers standard amenities, with perhaps a little dose of upscale treatment, sometimes you're lucky enough to get a room upgrade at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel.
MBS has several rooms, specifically designed for families. They are located on the second and third floors of the three towers. These rooms accommodate the needs of adults, infants and kids: plush sofas for movie nights, bathtubs and diaper changing stations, along with the lush garden views. The helpful staff at this resort will accommodate just about anything a family needs.
Without a doubt, Marina Bay Sands is the place to be for entertainment, especially kids. The highlight is the infinity pool on the 57th floor. Access is strictly limited to hotel guests. As you might imagine, this tropical oasis is a holiday story kids will love to tell when they get home.
There’s a bar next to the infinity pool, and well-behaved children are allowed to come in before 6pm. From here, you have a one of a kind magnificent view of the Singapore skyline.
If the infinity pool is not enough, you and the kids can explore the sampan boat ride on a man-made canal. It takes the whole family through a luxurious shopping center. These beautiful boats are handmade and operated by an experienced and entertaining sailor. Head to the food court, also known as a hawker center, where you'll find a cute ice skating rink.
As a night cap, head out to the promenade of the Marina Bay Sands for the outdoor light show!
Best luxury resorts for family holidays in Australasia & Oceania
The Four Seasons Resort, Bora Bora - by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett of Green Global Travel
When most people think of the Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora, they probably don't imagine it being the best place for kids. The expansive over-water bungalows, the dreamy scenic views you get of the iconic mountain, and the gorgeous white sand beach practically scream "romantic getaway." And don't even get us started on the couples massage treatments at their ultra-luxurious spa.
But the truth is that this ultimate slice of Polynesian paradise offers just as much for kids to do as it does their parents (which is to say a lot). Let's start with the main attraction that drew us there, the Ruahatu Lagoon, a marine sanctuary on the resort grounds that features 100+ species of marine life. It was designed and built from scratch by the resort's resident marine biologist, and its calmest, protected waters are perfect for young swimmers. Activities there include guided snorkeling tours, grafting coral nubbins (which provides more safe places for marine life, a pearl farm, and educational discussions on marine life and conservation.
Radisson Blu Resort Fiji on Denarau Island, Fiji - by Kirralee from Escape With Kids
Fiji is home to the quintessential tropical family holiday, filled with picture-postcard swaying palm trees, year-round warm weather and sandy beaches. It is my kids’ absolute favourite holiday destination. Endless hours in the water – either ocean or pool – is their idea of heaven.
Radisson Blu Resort Fiji is a stunning, 5 star resort conveniently located only 20 minutes’ drive from Nadi international airport. After flying for hours this short trip is the first thing that makes the Radisson a winner for families. There are also a number of family-friendly restaurants at the resort, plus many of their spacious rooms have kitchens, which is very handy when travelling with kids.
The main swimming pool has a beach and plenty of shallow water, which is particularly great for little kids. Additional pools include wading areas and water play equipment, and are surrounded with luxurious, round daybeds. Set yourselves up for the day! Older kids come to Radisson for the brilliant waterslide. Suitable for ages 6-12 years, my 6 year old rode this slide endlessly!
Fiji is renowned for its amazing resort kids clubs. The Fijian people adore kids and love playing and hanging out with them. Radisson’s kids club, for ages 3-12 years (babysitters available for younger kids), is unusual in that most of the time the kids are off on guided mini adventures around the resort. Visiting the "secret garden” to play games or even participating in the daily torch-lighting ceremony. Kids have so much fun here and make so many new friends that they are keen to go. And while they are off on their adventures you could enjoy the wonderful day spa, the peaceful adults only pool and relaxation area or have a romantic meal. You will have a truly relaxing Fiji holiday... even with kids!
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Frances M. Thompson
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