With so many places to choose from, it can be hard to select which country to travel to. With a family, finding a destination that pleases everyone is often a challenge. Whilst the adults may be keen on relaxation or cultural attractions, children have a whole other set of priorities! We’ve put together our suggestions for the 10 best luxury family destinations in the world, in association with Pearlshare, to give you some recommendations that should please everyone. Pearlshare is a clever app that helps you to find, save and share unique places worldwide. It brings together guides such as the best places to see Fall foliage in Kyoto, and Paris hidden gems as well as Pearls, which are individual tips. It’s like seeing the sights with a local!
When booking a family holiday, there are a few things to bear in mind. Direct flights are preferable and also travelling in the dry season, although some countries can be too hot for very young children in high Summer. If travelling with toddlers, you may wish to find it easier to opt for a villa holiday so as to keep their usual meal routine. Try to find one with a gated pool for safety’s sake. With older children or teenagers, you might wish to incorporate an element of adventure into your vacation, such as zip-lining or other outdoor pursuits.
Why choose Bali for a luxury family getaway? Well first of all, the Balinese are incredibly friendly to everyone, children and adults alike. The beaches are superb, and there’s an abundance of luxurious villas. You can get the best of both worlds at Kayumanis Jimbaran Private Estate & Spa, with your own private villa and the amenities of a hotel. Eating out in Bali is easy with children as there are so many different types of cuisine available. As for activities, Waterbom Bali has been voted the best waterpark in Asia and second best in the world. Older children and teenagers will enjoy trekking through the rice fields and exploring the temples of this beautiful country.
With new direct flights from the UK and USA, Costa Rica is a must-visit for families looking for eco-friendly luxury. Best suited to children of school age and older, it’s one of the best worldwide destinations for adventure tourism, with zip lines, white-water rafting and lush rainforest. Costa Rica is also the world’s happiest country, according to the Happy Planet Index. Its compact size makes it easy to explore and there are pushchair-friendly paths in the Reserva Santa Elena and Corara and Poás national parks. The wildlife here is incredible, with frogs, monkeys, macaws and sloths among the 500,000 species. Aim to visit during the dry season from December to April and consider booking into a luxury hotel with its own hot springs such as The Springs Resort & Spa or Tabacon in Arenal.
There are many advantages to a Dubai family vacation, not least the relatively short flight time from Europe and the continual sunshine. Several new theme parks are due to open, including IMG Worlds of Adventure on 31 August and Dubai Parks in October. The latter comprises three theme parks: Bollywood Dubai, Legoland and Motiongate. Adults and older children will enjoy exploring the sand dunes by buggy or sand board. One of the most child-friendly hotels is the famous Atlantis The Palm, with the Aquaventure Waterpark, the Lost Chambers Aquarium and Sea Lion Photo Fun. Adults can enjoy dinner at Nobu, having booked their children aged 3-12 into an evening adventure where they’ll take part in games and craft activities.
Italy must be one of the best luxury family destinations in the world. Not only are the Italians renowned for their kindness to children, but the country boasts stunning beaches in Puglia, Sardinia and Sicily. Kids tend to love Italian food too, although restaurants don’t open until quite late. If you have very young children, a villa holiday might be the best option and there are many available by the sea and inland, such as this medieval watch tower with an unparalleled view over the Amalfi Coast – we loved our stay here.
Did you know that Lapland is actually spread over two countries, Finland and Sweden? However, Finnish Lapland is the official home of Father Christmas. His main two hangouts are Santa Claus Village and Santa Park, both in Rovaniemi in the Arctic Circle. It can get rather busy at both places so you may prefer to book a private family meeting with Father Christmas via a specialized tour company. If you travel between October to March, you may be fortunate enough to see the Northern Lights too. Just remember to wrap up extremely warm.
The paradise island of Nevis is small but perfectly formed at 36 square miles. You may have heard the term experiential travel before and wondered what it meant. One of the hottest trends in luxury, it’s about real-life immersive experiences into a country’s culture and traditions. Nevis is at the forefront of this trend, encouraging visitors to get involved in sea turtle conservation. The Four Seasons Resort Nevis arranges a whole program of educational activities for children who sign up to their Kids for All Seasons Club. They’ll enjoy turtle walks, games and craft lessons and if you stay between June and October when the sea turtles are present, they’ll also be given a sea turtle adoption certificate…The program is run with the help of the Caribbean Conservation Corporation and profits from the day club help to fund a program where 2 turtles are tagged each year with a GPS satellite, then released. The children who have participated in the program can track the turtles online throughout the year.
One of the most popular family destinations right now is Portugal. The Algarve region has some fabulous sandy beaches that stretch for miles bordered by stunning golden rock. The Portugese are very welcoming to children and there’s a great variety of cuisines. We particularly like the EPIC SANA, as grown-ups can get fit and use the spa facilities whilst children enjoy the Little Stars Kids Club. The resort is fully enclosed so extremely safe, yet a stone’s throw from the beach.
There are many reasons why South Africa is one of our top worldwide destinations for families. European travellers won’t experience jet lag as there’s very little time difference. Moreover, the best malaria-free safaris are all found in South Africa and it’s comparatively easy to spot the Big Five. The country has a long tradition of hospitality, with luxurious game lodges and gourmet restaurants. Children will enjoy not only the safaris but also whale watching and a visit to Monkey Land, the first free-roaming primate sanctuary in the world.
There are some great seaside areas of the United Kingdom where you can holiday in style with children, including Cornwall, Devon and Norfolk. One of our favourites is the Isle of Wight, for its retro charm and child-friendly activities. Known as Dinosaur Island for the number of fossils, there’s a dinosaur museum at Sandown beach. Inland, children and adults will enjoy a visit to Osborne House, Queen Victoria’s holiday home. Its picturesque Swiss Cottage was designed by Prince Albert for his children to play in.
United States of America
Florida has some of the best theme parks in the world but there’s plenty more to do, like taking an airboat tour of the Everglades to spot the alligators or a zipline canopy tour. In Tampa Bay, Glazier Children’s Museum has some great interactive exhibits like the Kidsport where kids can navigate cargo through a shipping channel. The Breakers hotel is very family friendly, putting the emphasis on activities for all ages such as family fitness classes and golf clinics. It’s good for couples too, we spent part of our honeymoon here and loved it.
So there you have it, our 10 best luxury family destinations.
What countries would you add to the mix and why? What was your favourite destination as a child?