Danai Beach Resort – Halkidiki, Greece
Arriving at Danai, located on Halkidiki’s Sithonia Peninsula, you’ll be struck by the elegant yet relaxed atmosphere of the resort, its charming staff part of the long-standing family who own the property. As a family you can choose two spacious adjoining suites or – our recommendation – go for one of Danai’s villas, hidden by greenery with interiors filled with marble furnishings, original artwork, private pools, sea views and expansive dining areas. The villas are luxurious and hugely comfortable, and private enough even for visiting celebrities! Surprisingly varied, it’s worth talking to us about your villa needs and we can guide you – they are all a little different but equally sensational.
Villas aside, you’ll find life at Danai to be relaxed but always classy. Breakfast, served on the terrace, comes as an array of Mediterranean fruits, eggs any way and pastries galore to set you up for the day. On the calm silky-sand beach, an army of attendants provide towels or cocktails or advise about complimentary kayak hire to explore the coastline. We recommend visiting the cave-like wine cellar, one of Greece’s oldest, to pick wine for your stay and don’t miss dining at Danai’s romantic restaurant The Squirrel. Worth booking a babysitter for, the restaurant has enviable views over the blue Aegean Sea, framed by ancient pine trees with a beautifully presented seafood and steak tasting menu.
Domes Zeen – Crete, Greece
The definition of bohemian luxe, Domes Zeen, found on Chania in Crete is the choice for style-seekers and those that like a modern aesthetic. Set against a backdrop of earthy hues, natural materials and contemporary furnishings, Domes Zeen gives families time and space without having to compromise on style. Choose from waterfront pavilions that open out onto the beach or suites with gardens and private pools which benefit from extras we’ll arrange for you.
With its vast swimming pool area which leads straight onto the beach, Domes Zeen is ideal for families looking for a low-key beach holiday. But what makes Zeen stand out is its opportunity for interesting experiences in the local area. Try a ceramic workshop, tour Chania’s old town or hike the Samaria Gorge. Kids will love the kids’ club with its own pool and Beach House kitchen; little ones can join cookery classes or have a sleepover in a Bedouin tent, leaving parents free to enjoy time at the spa or sample a fine-dining tasting menu of Greek-fusion food at the smart Gastronomy Restaurant. It’s hard not to see evidence everywhere of Domes namesake – Ef Zeen – which means the art of living well. You’ll find that in abundance at this Cretan gem.
Porto Zante – Zakynthos, Greece
Billed as ‘Europe’s most private beach resort’, and winner of Conde Nast Traveller’s World’s Best Family Hotel, Porto Zante, located on Zakynthos, is a resort made up of villas, and it prides itself on the bespoke services offered to each, as well as the location. Each villa owns a prime slice of beach frontage, as well as lush gardens, a private pool and Ionian Sea views, where privacy is maintained at all times. Inside, expect a smart yet classic design with original Greek artwork, marble bathrooms, and Bang & Olufsen entertainment systems.
With delicious in-villa dining or using a chef for a treat, it’s hard to leave your peaceful enclave but do head to the Maya restaurant for dinner during your stay. Overlooking the azure Ionian Sea from a raised platform, the restaurant serves sensational sushi and sashimi. We’d also recommend enjoying the resort and Zakynthos. Close by, you can join yoga and play tennis or take the kids to the waterpark, mini-golf or spend time on the beach, snorkelling or kayaking. For switch-off time, drop the kids at the kids’ club and head to the Waterfront Spa. Further afield, Zakynthos offers some stunning day trips – exploring famed beaches such as searingly white Navagio beach, lapped by the kind of clear blue water you’ve been longing for. For mini archaeologists, explore the crumbling remains of Ancient Olympia, built in 8th century B.C and home to the first Olympic games.
Borgo Egnazia – Puglia, Italy
Reflecting a microcosm of Puglian life, Borgo Egnazia, located in the Itria Valley and bordered by the Adriatic, has been created as a replica Italian village built in honey-coloured stone that gleams golden in the evening sun. It’s a place of lofty beauty – stroll along cobbled streets that open out onto the airy piazza and clock tower and you’ll find it hard to believe it was only constructed in 2009. Details are paramount here, from vast flickering lanterns to rope-strung room keys, sprigs of dried herbs and rustic ceramic on the walls; everything has a tactile, timeworn feel.
Whether you and your family stay in a spacious room, villa or casetta, you’ll find plenty to occupy yourselves from the beach club to the pools, the Vair Spa and adjoining golf course and cultural activities like pasta making, oil tasting in ancient olive groves and hiking to villages. In the evenings, Borgo Egnazia comes alive as holiday-makers throng to dinner – Due Camini (adults-only) is sublime with its tempting Puglian specialities such as grilled octopus, homemade gnocchi and herby meats and the A Pizzeri restaurant lets kids create their own toppings. Afterwards enjoy the light and sound show in the piazza – a tasteful and magical way to round off the evening, and kids love to stay up late for extra gelato. Don’t forget to get a feel for the rest of Puglia too – explore hilltop Baroque towns like Ostuni, get up close to the original trulli towns of Alberobello, or drop into quaint fishing villages for fresh seafood lunches.
Mediterranean Family Resorts
Choosing a resort in Europe that can keep the whole family happy is no mean feat. And sometimes it's nice to push the boat out and really treat yourselves - this could be the right time for a much-needed splurge. Read on for our recommendations in gorgeous pine-scented Mediterranean enclaves where wow-factor resorts know exactly how to give you the holiday you need.
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