The top 5 fine dining restaurants in Barbados


We know that good food is not the only ingredient of the perfect luxury holiday, but it really does help.  If you are in an unfamiliar area, playing the restaurant lottery can be somewhat nerve-wracking as somewhere that looks great from the outside could actually prove to be a dining experience you never wish to repeat.  To make your holiday in Barbados perfect and take the strain out of eating we have put together a list of the top five fine dining restaurants in the area – with plenty of choices we are sure these will delight.

Champers

Offering the best in waterside dining and elegance, Champers is located on Skeetes Hill in Hastings.  They have a relaxed air, but the food and service are stunning and offers the best in local cuisine, which is unsurprisingly heavy on the locally caught fresh seafood as well as some stunning classics.  With so much on offer, you can sit back and enjoy the view while the staff caters to your every whim.  The waterside tables really do offer the most stunning sights that can only be experienced in Barbados.

Camelot

At Cobblers Cove, you will find Camelot restaurant.  A breathtaking set up has been created with a stunning veranda that offers some stunning waterside views.  Dine as the sun sets and marvel at the changing colours of the sky while you feast on a wide selection of Caribbean classics presented with stunning care and attention.  Feel like a million dollars at this fantastic Barbados gem. The staff is friendly and efficient ensuring your meal will be just perfect.

Camelot Restaurant

Cin Cin by the Sea

Our final choice is by no means the least impressive.  Another glorious waterside dining experience with a crisp, clean white presentation.  The menu is packed with mouthwatering options from main meals to overindulgent desserts.  The waiters will be close by for the duration of your meal to ensure that no detail is missed, and you are looked after in genuinely first-class style.  The food is presented as an aesthetically pleasing spectacle, and the taste is just out of this world.

Primo Bar and Bistro

If you are in Barbados, then it stands to reason you will want to take full advantage of waterside dining, and the Primo Bar and Bistro is another first-class choice for fine dining during your luxury vacation.  Dine while watching the boats sail in and out of the harbour and enjoy a wide range of sumptuous feasts with an extensive variety of local dishes on offer.

The Cliff

With a stunning elevated position in the Saint James Parish, The Cliff offers a spectacular dining experience.  The establishment provides private or wedding parties as well as individual dinner guests, and the stunning backdrop decorated with lights as night falls is not something you will ever forget.  The food is world class and flawlessly presented, and their menu boasts a range of local and international delights, so you may even want to eat there more than once.

Kerrie Potts is CEO at Exclusive Private Villas Limited. Exclusive Private Villas offers exquisite, handpicked luxury villas around the world.

If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.



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Understanding Sandals and Beaches resorts


Sandals, a brand synonymous with couples only, ultra all inclusive, stunning beaches, luxury and fun, began its life in Montego Bay in Jamaica in 1981, and is still owned by the same Jamaican family today, but now boasts 7 resorts in Jamaica, 3 in St Lucia, 2 in Bahamas, 2 in Barbados, 1 in Antigua and 1 in Grenada, as well as sister brand Beaches which is aimed at families having 2 resorts in Jamaica, and 1 in Turks and Caicos.

The brand offers luxury included, claiming to offer more quality inclusions than any other resorts on the planet. But what does that actually mean?

For every Sandals and Beaches package you get:

  • Round trip airport transfers
  • All taxes, tips and gratuities (the brand has a no tipping policy with a few exceptions – butlers, drivers and Spa)
  • All meals, snacks with anytime dining in a wide choice of restaurants.
  • Unlimited drinks in a wide choice of bars (up to 9 per resort) including local and imported beers, Robert Mondavi wines, and premium brand spirits and liqueurs and a huge selection of cocktails.
  • Nightly entertainment (in most resorts)
  • Unlimited land sports including tennis, basketball, table tennis, shuffleboard, beach volleyball, fitness centres and fitness classes.
  • Unlimited watersports, with instruction including kayaks, paddle boards, windsurf, sailing and waterskiing (not available at every resort)

  • Scuba diving – certified divers can take 2 dives per day, non-certified divers must pay fee locally to take the resort certification ($100)
  • Golf – Some resorts in Jamaica, St Lucia and Bahamas also include golf with free green fees and PGA certified golf clinics. Emerald Bay in Bahamas – only first 2 rounds are complimentary unless staying in Butler Suite and t&c’s apply. Complimentary shuttles are available to take you to Sandals Golf and Country Club from Sandals Ochi Beach Resort, Sandals Royal Plantation, Beaches Ochi Rios in Jamaica and Sandals Grande St Lucian and Halcyon to Regency Le Toc course in St Lucia.

  • Free weddings (T&Cs apply) and weddingmoons

  • Access to Red Lane Spa
  • Shuttle services between nearby resorts in Jamaica and St Lucia meaning you can stay at 1 resort but use all the facilities, bars and restaurants of up to 3 resorts in the vicinity.
  • Stay at 1 play at 3 privileges including shuttle is available when staying in Jamaica at Sandals Inn, Sandals Montego Bay and Sandals Royal Caribbean. Also in St. Lucia at  Sandals Regency Le Toc, Sandals Grande St Lucian and Sandals Halcyon. Guests staying at Sandals Royal Plantation in Jamaica are also free to use the facilities at neighbouring Ochi Beach Resort, however the privileges are not reversed.

All Beaches resorts offer Pirate Island waterparks, infant programme with certified nannies to look after your precious cargo from 9am to 6pm (also later for a fee), unique kids camps with Sesame Street characters for toddlers, pre-teens, trench town, X-box lounge, DJ Academy and club liquid for teenagers. You can even have one of the Sesame Street Characters tuck your kids up in bed and read them a bedtime story.

Sandals and Beaches offer many different room types and categories which can often be confusing, however, there are actually only 3 different levels of accommodation:

  • Deluxe rooms are the lead in category and give access to all resort facilities and include the same in room amenities as all rooms including bathrobes, pillow menu’s etc. They are usually in the least desirable locations in the resort with no views, some resorts even no balconies. They do not offer any extras such as room service or in room minibar.
  • Club rooms (concierge in Beaches Resorts). These are found in various locations throughout the resorts, and come with access to a club lounge and concierge service (where check in is done), an in room full bar which is restocked daily and offers in room dining/room service between hours of 7am and 10pm.
  • Butler Elite rooms. These are in the best locations on resort and offer English butler service, private in suite check in, unpacking and packing service, 24 hour room service, fully stocked bar with your choice of top shelf spirits, and much more.

The newest type of accommodation offered by Sandals is their overwater bungalows at Royal Caribbean and South Coast in Jamaica. A luxury overwater haven, some with private infinity pools, and of course all are butler elite category so you needn’t ever leave your private slice of heaven.

I hope this helps make choosing your Sandals or Beaches holiday a little easier.

Kim Robertson is Director at Your Way (Travel) Ltd. Your Way (Travel) Ltd. specialises in long haul, tailor-made, cruise and luxury travel to the USA, Caribbean, Indian Ocean and Far East.

If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blogin order to raise your profile, please contact us.



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5 hidden gems to discover in Barbados


If you are going to spend time in Barbados, you will want to make sure you see the best sights and make the most perfect memories.  If you are not familiar with the island, it can be only too easy to miss some of the best bits.  Here are five hidden (or apparently not so hidden) gems for you to discover while in Barbados.

Animal Flower Cave

Nestling in the north of the island in St Lucy you will find a gorgeous, almost hidden cave.   The cave gets its name from the fantastic range of sea anemones that dwell within the glorious waters.  Inside the cave are some tremendous pools, some shallow, some much deeper and suitable for swimming in.  Scattered around the cave are some amazing framed openings that give you a magnficent glimpse of the sea beyond so you’ll certainly want to head over in your swimming costume to this attraction.

If the sea is rough, you won’t be able to access the sea cave so check the sea state before you go and whilst you are there, have a good chat to the locals who will probably be your guide – they grew up in the area and will tell you all their boyhood stories of how they jump out of the cave into the sea, only to get thrown back in by the rough seas – fascinating.

Hunte’s Gardens

If you love revelling in nature, you will find yourself caught up in the stunning and picturesque Hunte’s Gardens.  Fabulous shades of green not seen anywhere else frame the pathway which is accessible for most people.  As you wander through the glorious setting, you can stop and rest at one of the benches or head up to the house where there are even more examples of exotic plants and greenery.

Don’t be surprised to see the odd family of monkeys which occasionally appear along the walk – but certainly don’t feed them otherwise you might be discovering Barbados A&E which is certainly not a hidden gem!

National Heroes Gallery

After you’ve finished with all your luxury shopping, head to the Parliament Buildings in Bridgetown the capital city, and in the West Wing, you will find a tribute to the national heroes.  Not only is this a stunning historical building but once inside you will learn just how many amazing people came from this amazing island and learn about their lives while seeing sculptures and murals, and this being the 21st century, interactive screens.  Advanced booking is recommended and take your chance to submerge yourself in cultural history and learn more about this magnificent island.

Barbados Horse Racing

You may never have considered that Barbados has an active horse racing community but at the historic Garrison Savannah that is precisely what you will find.  It is well worth a visit but bear in mind that the race course operates a strict dress code policy so be sure to change before you go – we suggest ditching the shorts and sleeveless shirts.  There is a comprehensive race calendar, so you are guaranteed to be able to experience some form of racing while you are on the island. Prices vary by seat location, but if you can splash out and afford the members lounge, and they are offering day passes that day, it is well worth it for the memories.

St Nicholas Abbey

So, less of the monks and more of the rum.  But let’s face it, you really do need to see some rum in when you are in the Caribbean.  St Nicholas Abbey has a distillery, a steam mill and an impressive Great House that can be used as the backdrop for a truly stunning wedding.  There are some gorgeous nature walks and a chance to wine and dine while you are there.  Of course, you can purchase some rum made on-site as a souvenir.

St Nicholas Abbey is certainly full of intrigue and has a history of slavery and family murder that you’ll want to learn all about as you walk around the wonderful Great House.  Many of the great plantation houses in Barbados have gone now or have suffered fire and reconstruction but that’s not happened at St Nicholas Abbey. As you walk around and enjoy the slender of this magnificent 17th home, you know it’s the real McCoy and feels like you’ve been transferred back in time to the age of slavery.

Kerrie Potts is CEO at Exclusive Private Villas Limited.

If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.



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5 hidden gems to discover in Barbados


If you are going to spend time in Barbados, you will want to make sure you see the best sights and make the most perfect memories.  If you are not familiar with the island, it can be only too easy to miss some of the best bits.  Here are five hidden (or apparently not so hidden) gems for you to discover while in Barbados.

Animal Flower Cave

Nestling in the north of the island in St Lucy you will find a gorgeous, almost hidden cave.   The cave gets its name from the fantastic range of sea anemones that dwell within the glorious waters.  Inside the cave are some tremendous pools, some shallow, some much deeper and suitable for swimming in.  Scattered around the cave are some amazing framed openings that give you a magnficent glimpse of the sea beyond so you’ll certainly want to head over in your swimming costume to this attraction.

If the sea is rough, you won’t be able to access the sea cave so check the sea state before you go and whilst you are there, have a good chat to the locals who will probably be your guide – they grew up in the area and will tell you all their boyhood stories of how they jump out of the cave into the sea, only to get thrown back in by the rough seas – fascinating.

Hunte’s Gardens

If you love revelling in nature, you will find yourself caught up in the stunning and picturesque Hunte’s Gardens.  Fabulous shades of green not seen anywhere else frame the pathway which is accessible for most people.  As you wander through the glorious setting, you can stop and rest at one of the benches or head up to the house where there are even more examples of exotic plants and greenery.

Don’t be surprised to see the odd family of monkeys which occasionally appear along the walk – but certainly don’t feed them otherwise you might be discovering Barbados A&E which is certainly not a hidden gem!

National Heroes Gallery

After you’ve finished with all your luxury shopping, head to the Parliament Buildings in Bridgetown the capital city, and in the West Wing, you will find a tribute to the national heroes.  Not only is this a stunning historical building but once inside you will learn just how many amazing people came from this amazing island and learn about their lives while seeing sculptures and murals, and this being the 21st century, interactive screens.  Advanced booking is recommended and take your chance to submerge yourself in cultural history and learn more about this magnificent island.

Barbados Horse Racing

You may never have considered that Barbados has an active horse racing community but at the historic Garrison Savannah that is precisely what you will find.  It is well worth a visit but bear in mind that the race course operates a strict dress code policy so be sure to change before you go – we suggest ditching the shorts and sleeveless shirts.  There is a comprehensive race calendar, so you are guaranteed to be able to experience some form of racing while you are on the island. Prices vary by seat location, but if you can splash out and afford the members lounge, and they are offering day passes that day, it is well worth it for the memories.

St Nicholas Abbey

So, less of the monks and more of the rum.  But let’s face it, you really do need to see some rum in when you are in the Caribbean.  St Nicholas Abbey has a distillery, a steam mill and an impressive Great House that can be used as the backdrop for a truly stunning wedding.  There are some gorgeous nature walks and a chance to wine and dine while you are there.  Of course, you can purchase some rum made on-site as a souvenir.

St Nicholas Abbey is certainly full of intrigue and has a history of slavery and family murder that you’ll want to learn all about as you walk around the wonderful Great House.  Many of the great plantation houses in Barbados have gone now or have suffered fire and reconstruction but that’s not happened at St Nicholas Abbey. As you walk around and enjoy the slender of this magnificent 17th home, you know it’s the real McCoy and feels like you’ve been transferred back in time to the age of slavery.

Kerrie Potts is CEO at Exclusive Private Villas Limited.

If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.



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6 new hotels to look forward to in 2018




Interested to hear about some of the world’s best luxury hotels that are just around the corner? Here’s our guide to some of the most exciting new hotels opening across the globe in 2018.

Rosewood Baha Mar, The Bahamas – Opening Spring 2018

The Rosewood Baha Mar is part of a huge redevelopment project on Cable Beach (the best beach on Nassau), which – when complete – will comprise a handful of luxury hotels, casino, contemporary art gallery, restaurants, shops, and 18-hole golf course. 

The hotel will have timeless colonial interiors typical of other Rosewood properties, and all the rooms will have balconies with outdoor living areas.  There’ll be four restaurants within the resort, a natural-themed bar, a Rosewood Spa, barber shop, gym and two swimming pools reserved solely for Rosewood guests, as well as access to the other facilities in the wider Baha Mar resort.

Sandals Royal Barbados – Opening Christmas 2017

According to head-honcho Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart, Sandals Royal Barbados is a “game-changer” for the company.  It’ll feature a number of Sandals firsts.  For starters, there’ll be a huge zero-entry rooftop pool, with plenty of surrounding sun loungers – and a trendy rooftop bar. 

The resort will also have its own 4-lane bowling alley, a gentlemen’s barbershop, and two new restaurant concepts – an American-themed tavern and a Chinese-Japanese fusion restaurant.  There’ll be a whopping 15,000 sq ft Red Lane ® Spa.  The hotel will also have access to the facilities and restaurants at sister property Sandals Barbados.  Sandals Royal Barbados is an all-suite resort, and every suite will feature an al fresco ‘Tranquility Soaking Tub™ ‘ – the signature Sandals indulgence for two.

W Dubai, The Palm – Opening March 2018

You’ll need to be oozing glamour to really fit in at this glitzy new property on the Palm.  The journey starts as you drive into the swanky air-conditioned entrance – WHEELS – which itself looks rather like a top-end nightlife venue – before you emerge into in the high-ceilinged ATRIUM to check-in. 

The hotel features a large WET DECK, where the pool is divided by wave-shaped walkways featuring cabanas and various lounging apparatus, plus in-pool drinks holders.  The main pool is complemented by a stylish rooftop variant, as well as a several smaller pools dotted around the complex.  The rooms are suitably modern in design – featuring all the expected tech – including keyless entry (your smartphone is your key). Other facilities include the AWAY spa, SWEAT fitness centre, plus eight trendy restaurants and bars.  The rooftop venue boasts 360° views, which will no doubt become one of the city’s most coveted social hotspots.

Oblu Select at Sangeli, The Maldives – Opening July 2018

Situated at the tip of the Male Atoll is the island of Sangeli – home to this brand new resort. Operated by the same award-winning team behind the popular Maldives resorts Atmosphere Kanifushi and Ozen by Atmosphere at Maadhoo, Oblu Select at Sangeli promises an all-encompassing hassle-free four-star deluxe experience – in a picture perfect location. 

And if the standards of the other Atmosphere resorts are anything to go by, it’ll more than deliver.  Aside from the island’s natural beauty, highlights include the large, contemporary villas, a choice of 3 restaurants, multiple pools, Elena spa complex, and fitness centre.  The resort itself actually encompasses two (tiny) islands, connected by a wooden boardwalk lined either side with water villas.  The two a la carte restaurants, spa and exclusive honeymoon suites are located on the smaller of the two islands, whilst the beach villas, kids club, main pool and restaurant are located on the larger island – and these two sections of the hotel should work very well in ensuring that those with children and those without can holiday in harmony.

Ikos Dassia, Corfu – Opening May 2018

Ikos Dassia brings the popular all-inclusive concept from the Ikos properties in Halkidiki to Corfu’s picturesque Ionian Coast.  Aimed predominantly at families, this expansive beachfront resort lines up stylish contemporary rooms, and enough facilities to keep everyone happy. 

Highlights include seven à la carte restaurants, as well as a ‘Dine Out’ experience – where you can opt to visit several top local restaurants (as part of the package).  Other facilities include a plethora of bars, a theatre, the Ikos Dassia Spa (by luxe spa brand Anne Sémonin), several swimming pools (including a couple of adults-only options), a sandy beach (with a complimentary beach childcare service), and various kids clubs and activities catering for those aged from 4 months right through to late teens.

Sala Samui Chaweng Beach Resort, Thailand – Opening late 2017

The first wing of this stylish property is set to open at the end of 2017, although it’ll be 2018 before the hotel is fully open.  The pool villas and pool suites are the absolute highlights – gorgeously designed in a chic, minimalist style, with the emphasis on peace and privacy. 

The beachfront pool also looks beautiful, facing the white sandy beach.  There’ll be a romantic beachfront restaurant ( specialising in Thai and seafood dishes) – as well as a beach bar, and lots of sun loungers, bean bags – all the hallmarks of a relaxing holiday.  Further action is available in the form of water sports, and in Chaweng Town – a five-minute walk away.

Spencer Groves is Commercial Director at letsgo2.

If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.



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Top 10 diving sites in the Caribbean



 



The Caribbean has long attracted holiday-makers with its white sandy beaches, swaying palms, and turquoise waters. And whilst the ocean vistas create postcard-perfect scenes from the shore, under the surface it’s home to a dazzling array of fish and coral, making it a paradise for scuba divers. Here’s our list of the top 10 undersea sights and experiences across the Caribbean…

Mayreau Gardens Reef and Horseshoe Reef, Tobago Cays, The Grenadines

The warm waters of the Grenadines are among the best in the world for diving. Undersea highlights include the coral reefs, colourful fish, anemones, eagle rays, sharks, lobsters, octopus, turtles, and squid – even manta rays if you’re lucky! As with almost everywhere else in the world, some reefs in the area have suffered as part of the current global coral bleaching event, but the latest reports say Mayreau Gardens Reef and Horseshoe Reef remainhealthy, home to a rich variety of marine life.

Bianca C, Grenada

You’ll find the Caribbean’s largest wreck, the Bianca C, off the coast of Grenada. The ship was unlucky enough to have sunk twice – once during construction in France, and finally after a fire about a mile from one of Grenada’s most popular beaches, Grand Anse. Dubbed the ‘Titanic of the Caribbean’ thanks to her grandeur and sheer scale, The Times named it as one of the top 10 wreck diving sites in the world.

Stingray City, Cayman Islands

So called the ‘world’s greatest 12ft dive’, this is a good one for beginners, giving you the chance to get up close with Stingrays. They were first attracted to the area by fishermen who used to clean their catches here. There’s a shallower sandbar which is popular with snorkellers, butnearby there’s a less crowded dive site where you can kneel down on the sea bedand watch the rays ‘suck the sand’ in search of food, with a trail of tropical fish looking to hoover up their leftovers!

Cozumel, Mexico

Cozumel is always up there as one of the world’s best diving spots. Santa Rosa Wall is one of the most popular dive sites here. It’s famous for its gigantic sponges, swim-through tunnels and caves. Currents can be strong, so it’s best for intermediate and experienced divers. Colombia Wall is another noteworthy dive spot, with a strikingcave that’s home to some impressive coral pillars (some 20 metres tall). If you’re new to diving, Palancar Reef is probably the best ‘easy dive’ in the area, with calm waters, corals and sponges. This reef is full of nooks and crannies, and a pleasant half hour can be spent looking for signs of life hiding deep in the crevices.

Underwater Museum, Cancun, Mexico

This quirky Underwater Museum features over 500 original sculptures at varying depths. The project began in 2009 as an effort to protect the area’s endangered natural coral reefs from inexperienced divers and snorkellers who were causing damage. The sculptures themselves are thought-provoking and interesting the explore, but they’ve also been designed to be taken over by coral and other marine life over time. Constructed from special PH-neutral materials, they contain lots of nooks and crannies to encourage crustaceans and fish to breed. One example is the Volkswagen car, which has been designed as a lobster hotel, featuring plenty of shelves that act as ideal refuges for the endangered creatures.

Shark Wall, The Bahamas

If you’ve always wanted to dive with sharks, this is the place to do it. Not for the faint-hearted, you’ll be surrounded by literally hundreds of them! Aside from the sharks, the walls are home to sea fans, sea whips, sponges and coral to provide extra interest. The waters around The Bahamas are home to a plethora of shark species – nurse, black-tip, bull, tiger, great hammerhead, and Caribbean reef sharks can all be spotted here.

Anse Chastanet, St Lucia

The reef at Anse Chastanet is located within aprotected marine park. It’s close to the shore, making it great for beginners and night diving – where you can experience the magical phenomenon of bio-luminescence. The calm waters and good visibility make it popular with underwater photographers (especially good for macro photography). It’s the fish that are the highlight here – all sorts of colours and species – also look out for puffers, moray eels, lobsters and sea horses. Anse Chastanet is also home to a very nice boutique hotel that’s popular with scuba divers – thanks in part to the fab PADI dive centre that’s located on the beach.

Pillars and Passage, Cades Reef, Antigua

Cades Reef is one of the most popular dive sites in Antigua. The waters are calm, so visibility is usually very good, making it easy to see the fish and corals. Nurse Sharks are regular visitors, and you can also see barracuda, moray eels, eagle rays, lobsters and reef sharks all year round.

SS Stavronikita, Barbados

This Greek freighter was sunk intentionally during the 1970s to form an artificial reef. It’s now Barbados’ premierdive site, located just off the west coast. Explore the main decks and say hello to all the colourful fish who now call her home.

Keleston Drain, Tobago

This is where you can find one of the Caribbean’s largest brain corals. Measuring a whopping 5 metres across and 2.5 metres high – it’s rumouredto be 2000 years old. You can also enjoy the company of moray eels, shoals of colourful fish, barracuda and reef sharks. Manta rays are known to live here, together with the sea fans, soft corals and sponges in a myriad of hues.

Spencer Groves is Commercial Director at letsgo2.

If you would like to be a guest blogger onA Luxury Travel Blogin order to raise your profile, pleasecontact us.



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10 family-friendly resorts with top kids’ clubs



 



As any parent knows, you’re only as happy as your least happiest child – and keeping children happy, especially away from home, can be hard work. Finding a holiday resort that makes this as easy as possible, with plenty of tyke-pleasing facilities, is the first step towards a harmonious family holiday.

The option of a good kids club is often high on the priority list. Whilst you probably won’t want to pack your little ones off for the entire week, a few mornings or afternoons here and there gives you the chance to switch off and relax – whilst the youngsters get to make new friends and try some new activities in a safe environment. The best kids clubs have warm, engaging and attentive staff, with lots of creative and sporty things to do.

If childcare is what you’re after, read on for our selection of top family-friendly resorts with great kids clubs – where it’s likely you’ll find they’re begging you to check them in.

Europe

The Romanos and The Westin Resort, Costa Navarino, Greece

Best for ages 4 months – 18 years

Located in the southern Peloponnese peninsula, Costa Navarino is one of Greece’s finest five-star beach resorts, surrounded by unspoilt countryside and scenic ancient ruins. This resort was recently voted as the “Best Family Destination” in the Mediterranean – and it’s easy to see why. There are two specifically designed play areas for kids (one for babies and toddlers, and one for kids aged 4-12) – with an almost overwhelming choice of activities on offer.

It’s all new and has been really well designed, with clever touches built-in like drop-down mirrors for face-painting, and a giant in-floor keyboard that just begs to be played. Outside, there’s a large outdoor play area with plenty of slides, shade, and scope for imaginative play. Older kids can also enjoy football, basketball, racquet sports and golf.

Costa Navarino has plenty for teens too – they’re invited to make new friends and play beach volleyball, football, water games, contests, bowling and billiards – as well as making the most out of the resort’s other facilities like watersports and the go-karting track.

Within the resort there are ample facilities, including the waterpark, with a shallow splash pool, slides, and water toys. For bigger children and adults, there are also three larger water slides, as well as a basketball court, volleyball, badminton, table tennis, ten pin bowling, pool tables, indoor cinema and Playstation consoles. And that’s all before we’ve even mentioned the calm, sandy beach.

There’s also lots the whole family can do together, like mountain biking (with attachable kids seats for youngsters – or balance bikes if they’re feeling independent!), paddle-boarding, and – the latest fad – electronic trikes (similar to Segways, but much more stable!)

Costa Navarino

Sani Beach, Halkidiki, Greece

Best for ages 4 months – 11 years (+ teens in peak summer season)

Families are extremely well catered for at this resort in Halkidiki, which is ideal if you’re looking for a ‘fly and flop’ type holiday with five-star style. The kids club takes children from 4 months old, with a 1:3 staff ratio. The Melissa Mini Club is complimentary for kids aged 4-11, with a ratio of staff at 1:8. There are lots of activities on offer, including arts and crafts, face painting, T-shirt painting, pantomime, mini disco, and cookie making, as well as themed parties. There’s also plenty going on outdoors, from organised pool games to table tennis, gymnastics, treasure hunts, bird-watching tours, and forest school style activities. During peak season (July/August) there’s also a teens club – think watersports, football tournaments, taster spa sessions, and so on.

Sani Beach

Sani is famous for its free-of-charge Babe Watch service. For half an hour, the resort’s staff will keep an eye on your children, playing games and building sandcastles with them, whilst you get to enjoy a break on the beach sunbathing, swimming, or reading a book – uninterrupted.

There’s also tonnes to do within the resort: snorkelling, adventure playground, tennis tuition, football academies, cookery lessons, art classes, watersports, and open-air yoga for adults – or borrow bikes and scooters to explore the resorts smooth, traffic-free pathways. They’ve recently introduced baby swimming lessons as well, in the warm indoor pool at the spa.

The Far East

Grand Mirage Resort and Thalasso, Bali

Best for ages 4 – 15 years

This friendly beachfront resort in Nusa Dua has lots of perks for adults and children alike. At the kids club youngsters are looked after by caring staff, who lay on an array of activities including aerobics, mask-making, football, jewellery-making, fruit-carving and cookery. There’s also a new waterpark outside, together with a separate family pool, which has a large waterslide.

Grand Mirage Bali

Within the kids club, there’s a soft play area, as well as a banana-shaped billiards table, games room, and mini boxing ring.   Outdoors, there’s a playground and giant garden chess game – both of which are close to the resort’s two restaurants, so the children can play whilst you’re waiting for the food to arrive. The ‘Cool Lounge’ is free and open to all guests, where you can hang out and take advantage of the pool tables, air hockey, table tennis and PlayStation consoles. If you’re feeling tuneful, there are also two dedicated karaoke room.

For no extra charge (and providing you’re over 9 years old), you can go on a Seawalker experience – donning an astronaut-style helmet and taking a walk along the sea bed amongst the fishes. Also, don’t miss the chance to check out the spa – it’s really beautifully done, and even children can enjoy being treated to a Balinese massage.

Shangri La Rasa Ria Resort & Spa, Borneo

Best for ages 5 – 11 years

Located on a vast sandy beach, backed by rainforest and a 64-acre nature reserve, there are tonnes of activities to suit all personalities at this resort. If you’ve got a budding artist they’ll be kept amused with puppet-making, batik painting, leaf weaving and instrument making. If your child can’t sit still, there’s dancing, treasure hunts, mini-Olympics, kayaking, and pony rides. If you’ve got an eco-warrior, there are gardening and nature explorer activities. There’s also the ‘Ranger for a Day’ programme for animal lovers aged 5 – 11, where they can assist the rangers in their daily tasks, feeding the baby orangutans, and learning about Borneo’s rainforest.

Shangri La Rasa Ria

One of the best things about this resort has to be the onsite orangutan sanctuary, which is usually home to around 3 or 4 baby orangutans. The pools are also well kitted out for children, with shallow areas and waterslides.

The Caribbean

Carlisle Bay, Antigua

Best for ages 6 months – 19 years

This chic boutique hotel in Antigua is reminiscent of the kind of place you might have chosen pre-kids, with a myriad of little touches to keep everyone happy. The Caribbean Cool Kids Club (open 7 days a week) is suitable for children aged six months to six years. There’s a paddling pool, jungle gym, and sand pits as well as lots of organised activities such as lizard hunting, treasure hunting and arts and crafts. During the main school holidays, the Crew Blue programme also operates 5 days a week. It’s complimentary for children aged 7-12 years and runs activities such as raft building, starfish hunting, football, sailing, zip-lining, and excursions to Stingray City.  Crush is the teenage club for 13-19-year-olds – with its own chill-out room with a Wii U, table tennis, and organised activities like beach parties, wake-boarding, mocktail-tasting, tubing, and tennis workshops. There’s also a cinema room for movie nights.

Carlilse Bay Antigua

Kids’ high tea is served by the pool at 5pm, leaving the restaurants free for grown-ups in the evenings (babysitting is readily available).   There’s a choice of two beaches, and two sections of the hotel work very well in ensuring that those with children and those without can holiday in harmony.

Turtle Beach by Elegant Hotels, Barbados

Best for ages 3 – 12 years

This four-star all inclusive property is located on the South Coast of Barbados, with a family-friendly atmosphere and easy access to Dover Beach. The staff running the popular Flying Fish Kids Club have a really good reputation. They’re welcoming, caring and friendly – and it’s really them that makes the kids club here so special. Children can learn about Barbados culture by becoming an Honorary Bajan – learning the lingo, and making Bajan food. They’ll even be given a souvenir Bajan passport to take home. There are lots of arts and crafts on offer, as well as activities like beachcombing, and movie nights under the stars (the kids club is open till 9pm). The whole family can join in with island tour excursions, and weekly activities like calypso dancing lessons and beach kite flying. Older kids can learn to surf or boogie board, or go kayaking and hobie cat sailing with instructors from the newly revamped Aqua School.

Turtle beach pool

The resort has plenty of things for children to do outside of the kids club. There’s a dedicated children’s pool and a jungle gym, as well as table tennis, pool table, table football, and lots of beach games for older children. You can also pre-order kids meals, to be served at a time and location to suit – which takes the hassle out of dinner time.

Mexico

Finest Playa Mujeres, Cancun

Best for ages 3 – 15 years

“I’m bored” are two words you won’t hear at this action-packed resort near Cancun, which has something for children of all ages. At Finest Playa Mujeres, there are all-day activities for everyone from toddlers to teens – whether it’s in the pool playing games, beach soccer, crafts, video games, riding horses, zip lining, water balloon fights, making tie-dye t-shirts, playing on the water slides and more. The kids club is split into three age groups (Mini club, Maxi club, and teens club). There’s also the ‘Imagine Lounge’, a supervised area near the restaurants with movies, games and consoles where the youngsters can be dropped off whilst parents enjoy a quiet meal (open at breakfast and dinner time).

Finest Playa Mujeres

There’s a children’s pool with its own built-in playground, with a separate shallow pool just for babies and toddlers. There are three indoor areas are grownup-free zones, plus a kids plaza, mini spa and mini theatre. For older kids, kayaking, snorkelling, sailing, windsurfing, paddle boarding, water polo, table tennis, volleyball and more are part of the all-inclusive fun – together with a floating ‘waterpark’ just off the beach. They also have some impressive entertainment shows for kids, like an actor-led pirate scavenger hunt throughout the resort – culminating with a sword fight on the beach and an appearance of a ‘cannon-firing’ pirate ship.

Dreams Riviera Cancun Resort and Spa, Riviera Maya

Best for ages 3 – 12 years

There’s lots to do at this lively mid-size resort on the Riviera Maya. The Explorer’s Club for Kids aged 3 – 12 is open late until 10 pm. Each evening you’re given a schedule of the following days organised activities – typical activities include things like cooking classes, rock climbing, bungee trampoline, bingo, piñata, hide and seek, and jewellery making – although they are other options if your child doesn’t feel like joining in. Every week, the kids are given the chance to ‘camp out’ on the beach with their new friends – under full supervision – whilst you get a chance to enjoy a meal at the resort’s adults-only restaurant. The Explorers Club is a strictly parent-free zone, but you’re given a beeper so you can be contacted at any time.

Dreams Cancun

There’s a large, shaded outdoor playground for kids next to the kids club, with a pyramid-shaped climbing wall, and squirty fountains in the floor. There’s also a planetarium kids theatre, and lots of watersports for the whole family to enjoy. Every evening, the resort lays on some family-friendly entertainment – typically juggling and fire shows, live music, and illusionism.   If you fancy getting out and about and exploring, nearby you can go swimming with dolphins, or explore the ancient Mayan ruins at Chichén Itzá.

Middle East

Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, Dubai

Best for ages 4 – 16 years

Sinbad’s Kids Club has been expanded recently, and now includes a mini water park area, as well as larger indoor and outdoor play areas, and a separate kids pool. It’s also complimentary for all guests aged 4 -16 years. The children are divided into four groups according to their age, and tagged with a wristband – then they’re free to enjoy all the supervised activities. Indoors there are games consoles, iPads, a giant in-floor keyboard (on a stage) and soft play, whilst outdoors the climbing wall, pool and mini-water park are infinitely popular.   There are also lots of organised activities, like cooking classes, arts and crafts, camel rides, talent shows, magic shows, and games. Whilst not necessarily the healthiest snack options, complimentary ice cream and popcorn keep spirits high. The kids club is open late until 10pm each evening.

Jumeirah Zabeel Saray

As a five-star-plus resort, the Jumeirah Zabeel Saray pretty much has everything you could possibly wish for – including the largest spa in the UAE. As guests, you’ll also receive complimentary unlimited access to Jumeirah’s Wild Wadi Waterpark – one of the best in Dubai, home to some record-breaking rides and slides. They also have a fab half board package, which allows you to dine at a choice of 60+ restaurants – including those at other Jumeirah hotels, at Wild Wadi Waterpark, and even some in Dubai Mall.

Atlantis The Palm, Dubai

Best for ages 3 – 18 years

A heaven for children, Atlantis Kids Club is a vast space with so much to do, you might struggle to get your kids out of it. There’s a Command Centre, where they’ll find the latest in electronic entertainment, the Play Zone where they’ll be able to take part in team games and challenges, and The creation zone – which is where all the arts and crafts happen. There’s also a pirates soft play area, with front row views into the hotel’s huge aquarium.

Atlantis The Palm

Every evening, kids can stay for a pizza dinner (between 5:30pm – 8:30pm). Essentially a giant party brimming with games, crafts and entertainment, the themes range from Superheros to Willy Wonka, Arabian Nights, Under The Sea and more. For teens (13 – 19), Club Rush is open from 3pm – 6pm and 7pm – midnight each evening. There’s a mocktail bar, internet cafe, karaoke, table football, cinema room, and dance floor.

Kids love this resort – it’s the biggest, brightest and best family hotel in Dubai. Aside from the gargantuan waterpark, there’s the chance to swim with dolphins, explore the Lost Chambers Aquarium, and enjoy the pools and beach. There’s also The Zone, a state of the art video game arcade filled with simulators and shoot ‘em ups, and a large outdoor playground.

Spencer Groves is Commercial Director at letsgo2.

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