The Exotic One
Koyao Island Resort, Thailand
Families will fall in love with Koyao Island Resort, on Koh Yao Noi, an hour’s boat ride from Phuket. With an aquamarine infinity pool edging a white-sand beach, longtail boat rides to the iconic Phang Nga archipelago to visit islands inhabited by monkeys, this is a truly authentic Thai beach holiday. The island’s interior also holds its own charm: pick a coconut or learn the art of batik.
Gorgeous family beach villas sleep two-to-six with ample lawn in front for ball games. The seafood platter at the lantern-lit restaurant is highly recommended, obliging grandparents could babysit, or else there’s an in-house service. And for those hands-off grandparents – adults-only luxury tented accommodation on the hillside gives them time out from toddlerhood.
The Action Packed
Ciasa Salares, Italy
Want to take the whole clan to the mountains for a crowd-pleasing break? Charm-laden Dolomites hotel Ciasa Salares, family-run for three generations, knows a thing or two about happy families. A nearby gondola takes you up high for swims in mountain lakes, hiking and fresh air at hilltop recreation parks. Boutique shoppers will love chic mountain town Cortina, and history buffs can explore the open-air museums of WW1.
Meet at a panoramic restaurant for lunch where wildflower meadows undulate endlessly. Back at the hotel, all whims are indulged: there’s both a chocolate and a cheese room, indoor pool and spa plus one of the biggest wine cellars in the area. For an adult treat, employ the hotel’s babysitters and visit nearby San Cassiano for glamourous Michelin-starred dining.
The One for Wildlife
Thorntree River Lodge, Zambia
A flickering boma, huge star-filled skies and endless plains are some of the many evocative images of Africa.
Experiencing the land of the Big Five is an epic trip that will be embedded in your family history forever. But choosing a safari lodge that keeps all generations happy is a difficult task. Through experience, we know which ones work best – and for who. Take Thorntree River Lodge, on the Zambezi River, minutes from Victoria Falls.
Families love the riverside tented suites with interconnecting walkways, there’s an infinity pool, and animal spotting at the river. Enjoy a mist-soaked trip to Vic Falls, followed by a classic afternoon tea at the Victoria Falls Hotel. Throw in early morning game drives and afternoon fishing and you’ve got one very happy family.
The One on Location
The Moorings Village, Florida
Remember those sweeping scenes of Islamorada, Florida Keys in acclaimed Netflix trouble-in-paradise drama Bloodline? Well now you too could experience the lush landscapes (minus the blood-fuelled family fallouts, hopefully) and stay in the actual hotel featured in the show.
Offering total relaxation after a rite-of-passage visit to Disney World this collection of chic and characterful wooden cabins dispersed around the 18-acres of former coconut plantation are a rarity in Florida’s resort-heavy offerings. Each cabin has a sofa-clad veranda and the white-sand beach, heaven for grandparents to potter with kids, is just steps away. While away your time at the pool, kayak the shallow water or head out for a family fishing trip from the private dock.
The Island Escape
Heritage Villas, Mauritius
Mauritius is a surprisingly good option for families travelling in larger groups. Not only is it remarkable value, it offers almost year-round sunshine and gives your family holiday a certain exotic sheen that’s sure to please everyone from moody teens to me-time grandparents.
At Heritage Villas, it’s all so easy, with two, three- or four-bedroom villas that each come with a pool, golf cart and stunning sea views. Spoiling extras like private chefs mean more time for the fun things like cocktails at the private beach club, a round of golf or hiking the UNESCO biosphere. Kids will love pootling around by golf buggy and babysitters are on-hand if grown-ups want to explore the five-star restaurants and bars on site.
The Has it All Resort
Ikos Olivia, Greece
Dispel any misconceptions you might have about all-inclusive. Ikos Olivia has raised the bar considerably with Michelin-starred dining, a Mini to take out exploring, 24-hour room service and an imaginative kids’ club – all included. Banish the budget without feeling restricted – you can even eat out local restaurants at no extra cost.
Flexibility extends to the accommodation. Grandparents may like a one-bedroom suite (and time in the adults-only pool), and families with young kids will love the beachfront bungalows. Head out for an everyone’s-coming bike ride, explore the cultural sights including sacred Mount Athos and temple-stuffed Thessaloniki, and gather for sumptuous meals where there’s no surprise bill. Sheer relaxation.
The Take Over
Mas de la Serra, Spain
When you’re a big group, it’s surprising what can become available to you. Take this restored farmhouse, Mas de la Serra, hidden away in glorious hilly countryside, dubbed ‘Spain’s Tuscany’. Take over all 11 bedrooms exclusively, and suddenly the infinity pool, dining terrace, stargazing spot and cosy restaurant serving Peruvian food, is all yours.
And that’s not all. The rugged countryside is full of adventure – kids love discovering hidden waterfalls and secret swimming spots. Young and old enjoy fishing in the rivers, searching for fossils and eagle-spotting. With a car, grandparents can make a break for the fascinating medieval castle in nearby Valderrobres. Come evening, watch the sun set behind craggy peaks before family movie time in the cinema room.
The Long Haul Villa
Ranawara Villa, Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka has bounced back with a resilience we’ve come to expect from the teardrop isle and continues to offer families a thrilling adventure amongst its beaches, hill country, jungles and incense-swirled temples. The best way for a group to experience Sri Lanka is with a spacious villa, which comes with an army of smiley staff to cook, babysit, clean – even play cricket! Take gorgeous beachside Ranawara, near Tangalle, replete with a tennis court, games room and infinity pool.
With five ensuite bedrooms and two cabins scattered in the 25-acre grounds, it’s perfect for families that need breathing space. Kick back, relax, enjoy Sri Lankan feasts then continue the adventure by taking another week to tour Sri Lanka – and see elephants, whales, leopards and crocodiles in the wild.
The Winter Adventure
Sorbyn Lodge, Swedish Lapland
A winter wonderland with snow-laden pine trees and log cabins complete with cosy fires is the stuff of bedtime stories, and could become part of your family’s narrative too. This magical trip will see you staying in wooden cabins by a frozen lake, husky sledding by day and experiencing the awe-inspiring phenomena of the Northern Lights. Young and old can’t fail to be impressed by the snowy landscape, and together you can come face-to-face with the Sami lifestyle and meet reindeers on a trip to the Arctic Circle, perhaps stopping for fishing on an icy lake. Afterwards, warm up in the sauna before a family meal of gourmet Swedish fare using ingredients such as salmon, moose and berries.
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Family Get-Togethers Our top holidays to take with the extended family
Read on for our guide to the best multi-generational holidays.