The best luxury family friendly hotels in Europe

Ask any seasoned (and discerning) parent, and they’ll tell you that a bona fide holiday is a hotel that has smoothed over all the lumps and bumps of holidaying en famille, without sacrificing on style or the luxurious little touches. It’s a sweet spot that only a few hotels have managed.

From Mediterranean white-washed resorts that whip out monitors, bottles and cots before the Bugaboo has rolled through its doors to Aegean gems with superlative Kids’ Clubs and tennis academies for the older lot, we’ve done the hard work for you, rounding up the best family-friendly hotels in Europe.

Sani Resorts, Halkidiki, Greece

The gold standard of chic family-friendly holidays in Greece, Sani Resorts comprises five different properties, all scattered like a string of pearls acrossHalkidiki’s pretty Kassandra peninsula. Sani Beach is the entry level hotel, Porto Sani tends to pull in the majority of the baby and toddler brigade, and Sani Dunes has recently relinquished its adult-only status, keeping things chic with clear adult-only patches of the hotel and beach. Aside from the milky-hued sand, the cream-on-cream luxxy interiors and fresh lunch-when-you-like seafood, SANI’s main draw is its superb kid’s clubs and fairly-priced crèches.Tots as young as four months can check in while parents flop onto a massage bed to decompress or simply snatch forty winks on the beach

And there are no plastic chairs, no unsightly megapools or sticky highchairs in sight. SANI has worked diligently to ensure interiors remain sharp, empty chunky sun beds are prolific and parents don’t have to downgrade on food or facilities for the sole crime of having offspring. The resort has been described by loyalists as’ parent ‘paradise’ for its Babe Watch team, entertaining tots on the beach, its Annabel Karmel led healthy-but-hearty menus (think spag bol with ‘hidden veg’) and its Melissa Club and Teen club for the older lot – tennis sailing, cycling, workshops and watersports. There’s even a Rafael Nadal Tennis and Bear Grylls Academy – just book early before the rest of Wandsworth’s families decamp here for summer

From: £180 p/night

Verdura Resorts, Sicily, Italy

In the spirit of Rocco Forte (and Italy in general), children are effortlessly worked into the clipped country club tapestry and activities at Verdura – as they would be in any polished family villa. Spanning acres of verdant landscape dotted in lemon trees and manicured lawns, Verdura lies one hour from the Sicilian capital of Palermo, making for an easy transfer with little ones. Parents can sip glasses of Etna white and sample the garden-to-plate antipasti by the pool while their broods get messy in cooking classes, scientific experiments and various sports at the impressive Kid’s Club. Older children love the summer football academy and golf sessions on the rolling courses, and Verdura also excels at group activities such as cycling through the pine-studded grounds, knocking a ball about on the courts or exploring the resort’s own stretch of sun-drenched coastline

From: £342 p/night

Ikos Andalusia, Spain

You can drop any all-inclusive snobbery at the palm-framed doors of Ikos Andalusia – an unlikely contender for this list (‘Andalusia’ is used rather sparingly for Marbella). Yes, it’s no reimagined Mediterranean fishing village or bougainvillaea-smothered bolthole, but Ikos Andalusia has mastered the family-friendly formula while hanging onto those luxury touches.

These range from not needing to empty the dishwasher for a week (the restaurants spanning multiple cuisines are unbelievably child-friendly) to pampering afternoons in Ikos Andalusia’s cavernous spa with volcanic stone rituals and facials kneading Anne Semolin potions into tired skin. Rooms are decked with smart Stokke cots, bottle sterilisers, baby baths and monitors for the tinies – and most claim a sea view, with sun-trap terraces to sprawl out on with tinkling glasses of rosé while tots nod off.

We recommend stretching a little for the Deluxe Suites peering over the beach – mainly as this ‘VIP’ category comes with a keycard to the beach cabanas, the resort’s chicest bar and a nifty Whatsapp concierge service – need a warm bottle of milk pronto? No problem. You’ll rarely hear the phrase, ‘I’m bored’ from the older kids and teenagers jumping into kayaks, jet skies or onto the pitch for the hotel’s football academy

From: £250 p/night

Almyra Hotel, Cyprus

One of the greatest perks of travelling with smalls has to be smugly dodging school holidays. Cyprus’ gloriously long summers dial up the smug factor, and Almyra Hotel rises to all the family-friendly hype. Located close to the lively (and often rowdy) Paphos, Almyra is a stylish sanctuary of olive-tree studded gardens which slope down towards a seriously good looking beach.

The Kids’ Club has thought everything through, from making the most of the balmy weather with a string of outdoorsy activities to special sleep zones for tinies and workshops that cater well to different ages. Meanwhile, parents can bolt to the adult’s-only pool (cleverly at the very opposite end of the beachfront to the animated kid’s pool) to book into the spa for a herby, oily massage or a zen yoga rooftop session with a salty breeze washing in from the sea. The Baby Go Lightly service is a winner for parents wishing to forget the faff of packing baby paraphernalia – it all arrives magically in their room.

Those with slightly older children will be grateful for Almyra’s proximity to Paphos, shaking things up with a snoop around the boutiques, a history trip to the ruins of Dionysos or a change of scene for supper. All-in-all Almyra is one of those rare hotels that speaks to chic, discerning parents, couples without children and, well, children, in one breath – a real feat

From: £212 p/night

Daios Cove, Crete, Greece

Before even beginning to dig into Daios Cove’s family-friendly caché, this Cretian resort is heart-thumpingly beautiful, with its sandy, cubic-rooms choreographed (amphitheatre-style) around the other worldly Vathi Bay.

The aesthetic veers more towards grown-up pared-down luxury than your average family-friendly joint, with a warren of herb-lined paths leading to a heavenly sandy beach. Restaurants show off the coast’s bounty, with freshly-caught grilled fish, those olive drizzled Greek salads and a children’s menu that doesn’t drift too far into chicken-nuggets-and-chips territory. Unusually, the under-12’s Scott Dunn Explorers Kids Club starts from 4 months upwards – music to the ears of parents with tinies who either have to book in a pricey babysitter for a walk along the beach together, or juggle the tot (essentially experiencing two separate holidays).

Here, toddlers are psyched up for treasure hunts or gentle beach games, while the more grown-up children can oscillate between the high-energy watersports and techy games centre. Crete’s generously long summers allow for Easter Holidays or even October half term trips, when the weather typically remains deliciously warm though the sun is more bearable for little ones. It’s worth booking villas for their private salt-water pools (no limits on overzealous splashing) or heading to the children’s pool with sprogs, and we’d also recommend the premium all-inclusive option for unlimited smoothies, cocktails, ice creams… which can quickly add up with a week’s stay

From: £547 p/night

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