For a parent, going on vacation with the kids is often like – not going on one at all. How many times have you returned home from getaways thinking, ‘Gosh, I need a holiday to recover from this holiday!’?
That is why, with Valentine’s Day on the horizon and lots of long weekends to look forward to this year, we’ve put together a list of luxe getaways where parents can relax and reclaim that pre-baby spark — yes, even with the kids in tow.
As Stephan Post, General Manager of the Belmond Napasai, Koh Samui notes: “With limited school and work holidays, families are growing to appreciate the precious holiday time they get together, and recognise luxury travel brands who are able to incorporate the needs of all ages into their offerings and services.”
So these aren’t just your usual family holiday places. Set in picturesque surroundings, staffed by service experts and designed for luxury living, these havens of bliss are where everyone in the family can be 200 per cent pampered — even while engaging in exciting new experiences — and return home relaxed, refreshed, and rejuvenated.
Four Seasons Resort Langkawi
Enveloped within the bosom of Southeast Asia’s first UNESCO Geopark –- a geological and ecological wonderland where labyrinthine mangroves mingle with pure rainforest air and ancient rock formations embrace endless beaches — Four Seasons Langkawi is a mystical, magical, haven that breathes luxury and enchantment, just 90 minutes away from Singapore.
Stay: The Family Beach House is steps away from the Andaman Sea. Lounge on your deck’s daybed as the kids build sandcastles, or take a dip in your private plunge pool. There’s ample space for all inside, with two large living areas, in- and outdoor showers, and a family-sized walk-in closet. Children’s bedrooms come with LCD screens, PS3 consoles, beach toys, sandcastle-making kits, and board games. You’d probably have to drag them out!
For Parents: Relax with champers and fruit platters in a private swim-up cabana at the Adult Quiet Pool, cruise to the uninhabited rainforest islet of Pulau Langgun, get urban stresses kneaded away with local oils of love and bliss at the Geo Spa’s award-winning couple’s ritual, Raja and Ratu (King and Queen). Take advantage of resort’s child-minding services to dine beneath a Rajasthani tent for two at the water’s edge, or bid the day good bye in a sea-view Mughal swing at the Rhu Bar.
For Kids: There’s batik painting, yoga, nature excursions, treasure hunts, and an adventure playground to explore at the Kids for All Seasons club. How about trying out a Junior Masterchef cooking class with the island’s top local chefs, or making and flying a traditional Malaysian kite?
For Families: Rock climb and abseil a natural 12-metre limestone outcrop (suitable for kids from five years old), aim and shoot with a longbow at the archery range (from 12 years old), meet majestic eagles and kites, mischievous macaques, fish that walk (mudskippers), colourful fiddler crabs, shy otters and sleeping bats on the Mangroves & Eagles Safari. And have we mentioned tiki-torchlit barbecues and marshmallow toasting under the stars?
We Like: The hour-long kids-only ‘Mangroves & Monkeys Safari’ where young adventurers (four to 12 years old) can join Resort Naturalists aboard a floating classroom for a eco-experience to discover mangroves and mischievous macaque monkeys.
Go: Contact Four Seasons Resort Langkawi at tel: (60) 4 950 8888, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website here.
Belmond Napasai Koh Samui
The Belmond Napasai, set in a grove of cashew trees on Koh Samui’s fashionable north coast, oozes paradisal luxury. It’s not because the Belmond boasts the island’s longest private beach. Or has its own underwater nature reserve where guests can swim out to the reef and snorkel in rock pools. It’s in every little detail on the resort, from original Jim Thompson bedroom silks to the use of resort-grown organic vegetables.
Stay: The Villa Suites, with a master bedroom and a living room with two Thai-style sofas, are perfect for families. Or why not splurge on an oceanfront pool residence? The Family Bliss package includes daily breakfast buffet, private round-trip airport limousine service, and no extra bed or baby cot charge for children under the 12 years.
For parents: Go on a sunset cruise in a traditional boat, dive the Angthong National Marine Park, attend cooking and fruit carving classes, or try a couple spa treatment at the newly renovated Napasai Spa. Take advantage of the three-consecutive-hour dedicated nanny service (complimentary with the Family Bliss Package) to grab a sundowner and enjoy a candlelit dinner at the elegant Lai Thai restaurant.
For Kids: Kids can visit their animal friends at the petting zoo, learn Muay Thai in the resort’s purpose-built ring (for ages seven and up), have a swimming lesson and earn achievement awards and badges.
For Families: Sail around the island on one of the resort’s Hobie Cats or Laser Optimists sail boats. Back at the resort, let the ‘Pirate Samui Gang’ (your kids and the childcare staff) go off on a treasure hunt, then dig and fashion a table and benches on the beach from which they can enjoy their own private dinner party later.
We like: The resort’s “my first job” programme lets children be Pastry Chefs, resort gardeners and animal keepers, or technicians helping to paint or fix things.
Go: Silkair and Bangkok airways fly from Singapore to Koh Samui daily. For reservations, call 626 09 495 or go directly to the resort website.
Club Med Bali
From your daybed in the adult-only pool you glimpse in the distance, lush rice terraces cut in to the slopes of the Batur volcano. As you lie upon the undulating water, cocktail in hand, you may wonder what the kids are up to. Or maybe not. For at Club Med, kids have a life of their own – away from parents. There’s a little piece of heaven for everyone here, from the littliest baby to the sassiest octogenarian. And yes, especially for parents looking for that private holiday moment.
Stay: Choose a Suite connecting with a Superior room for more space to roam around in. You’ll also enjoy privacy with the reassurance that the little ones are just an open door away. Suite bathrooms have tubs, while Superior ones don’t.
For Parents: Feel like a goddess (or god) at the adults-only Zen Pool which is built in theatre-style architecture. Here at this Studio MHNA-designed spot, the spectacular ocean is your only view, its waves the only sound. Dine at the adults-only Deck Restaurant or feast on seafood and indulge your inner gourmand at the newly-added Concept Restaurant. Pamper yourself with spa treatments.
For Kids: Club Med’s famed Kids Club will keep them busy whether they are 4 months old (at resorts with Baby Club Med services) or 17 years of age. Friendly G.Os (Gentle Organisers) take care of the little ones, escorting and accompanying them from activity to age-appropriate activity like archery, trapeze, yoga, pool games, craft, sports, and more. They’ll never go thirsty either. The main bar has a little ‘step-up’ area where kids can order milkshakes and (kids-friendly) juices.
For Families: Club Med Baby Welcome® is also included in the holiday package at no extra cost. Expect baby provisions such as children equipment, suitable baby food in the Special Baby Corner in the restaurant, baby strollers and toys.
We Like: The all-inclusive concept where accommodation, transfers, activities, and meals are included in the price. You never have to worry about anything except, of course, where next to have fun.
Go: Call 1800 258 2633 or book online here.
Angsana Laguna Phuket
Set along the shores of Phuket’s Bang Tao Bay in the island’s northwest, the Angsana Laguna Phuket is part of Asia’s first integrated resort, Laguna Phuket. Because it’s only 20 minutes from the airport, you’re out of the terminal and in paradise in a jiffy – no time for the kid to get cranky! Meditate on lagoon waters, swim in the free-form pool that meanders over 323 m across the resort, or splash in the Andaman Sea. Don’t forget to take a ride on the quaint lagoon raft which ferries guests between the Laguna’s six resorts, and to the Canal floating village.
Stay: The Laguna Premier Room – King – has lagoon views and 45 sqm of living space, enough for a family of four. There’s a king bed and a sofa bed, and two children (under 12 years) sleep free. Selected rooms have sunken bath tubs. Ask for one during reservation, if your children enjoy bubble baths!
For Parents: Relax with a Couple’s Romance Spa Package or the Duet – Room For Two couple treatment. Combine romance and exercise on an island biking date. Chill out poolside at XANA Beach Club or have a romantic dinner for two on Bang Tao beach as you watch the sun set. Play golf on the award-winning, international standard Laguna Championship Golf Course.
For Kids: There’s always something happening at the Tree House Kids Club, a multi-level play area. Its jungle gyms, enrichment activities and entertainment will thrill kids of all ages. It even has a kids’ spa for the little ones! Say hello to Angsana Phuket’s cheerful baby elephant, Namchock, pose for a picture with him and feed him his favourite fruit, bananas.
For Families: How about a family yoga session? Follow that up with a visit to Laguna Phuket’s elephant park where you can ride an elephant like a maharajah as you enjoy a 25-minute trekking safari.
We Like: The newly launched Live for Family Fun package lets kids below 12 dine for free (one child below 12 years per paying adult), and includes a one-time choice of three resort activities (bike tour, kayak tour, Thai boxing) for two, plus a 60-minute Spa treatment for two.
Go: Call 1800 849 5788, email email@example.com or book online here.
Soneva Kiri, Koh Kood
Dine aloft within the forest canopy in your own tree pod overlooking the Gulf of Thailand, as your waiter whisks through zip lines to bring you your meal. Have in a private waterfall picnic. Speedboat to your private helicopter and fly to Angkor Wat. Snorkel in a marine park. Go to Cinema Paradiso, where you can watch movies on an overwater screen set in a lagoon under the stars. The kids? What kids? Just kidding!
Stay: The three-bedroom Private Beach Pool Reserve combines whimsy, rustic-chic sustainable design and dreamy indulgence. It’s perfect for families, with a large master bedroom, a second bedroom, a separate air-conditioned living room with a dining deck under the stars and a “tree house” for children – complete with bunk beds and a private deck with a slide that goes down to the pool.
For Parents: Slow down, breathe deeper, and inhale the bliss. Venture on a sensory journey at the Six Senses Spa where you can enjoy Ayurvedic therapies and learn dosha-specific lifestyle and nutrition tips, address weight-loss needs, challenge yourself with Yogic Detox, and ease physical aches with a water shiatsu session.
For Kids: They’ll love The Den, a giant moulded bamboo playground shaped like a manta ray. Imagination takes flight as they learn to play Thai instruments, dabble in the visual arts, and explore. Younger guests play under the supervision of qualified caregivers at the Intrepid Explorers Club (which caters specially to one to five year olds) while older ones embark on child-friendly excursions and cultural exchanges such as rainforest walks and local school visits.
For Families: Experience Thai fishing village culture at Ao Salad village on the northeastern coast, where you can see life as it is lived day-to-day on the island. Stroll through a rubber plantation. Visit a local school where the children can enjoy a fun cultural exchange with their Thai peers.
We Like: The Soneva Group’s dedication to the SLOW LIFE philosophy — Sustainable-Local-Organic-Wellness Learning-Inspiring-Fun-Experiences — which aims to create unforgettable, enlightening experiences for each guest in a sustainable environment.