For families looking to travel during the upcoming UAE National Day Holidays, our friends at tailor-made travel company, Lightfoot Travel, have picked their top five luxury destinations that are fantastic for families and parents alike!
The Maldives is best known for its crystal clear waters, white sand beaches and plethora of luxury hotels – each on its own private island no less (the best ones anyway)! There are activities for kids of all ages available from the moment you step out of your beach or overwater villa – snorkeling, kayaking, sailing, dolphin cruises and fishing, and many properties have their own diving schools for older kids who want to learn to scuba dive. Maldives hotels are also known for their phenomenal Kid’s Clubs, with many having specific facilities for both younger children and teens.
Where to stay: One&Only Reethi Rah
A property with some of the most beautiful villas in the Maldives, One&Only Reethi Rah is also known for its family friendliness. There’s a dedicated KidsOnly Club (ages 4 and up) with its own pool, clubhouse and plenty of outdoor activities such as treasure hunts and sports. Older kids can keep busy with a separate roster of activities such as tennis and swimming lessons, sushi-making classes and lifeguarding lessons. Reethi Rah is also a large hotel, giving families ample dining choices and plenty of space to explore, with none of that stuck-on-an-island feeling.
For such a little country, the teardrop-shaped island of Sri Lanka sure packs a big punch when it comes to diversity – from the ancient cities of the Cultural Triangle and wildlife-rich safari parks, to colonial hill stations and golden beaches. Properties range from big brand hotels and beachfront resorts to private luxury villas and charming boutique accommodation – there is something to fit everyone! Travelling within Sri Lanka is safe and convenient, there are none of the food safety scares that are widespread in neighbouring India, and Sri Lankans are exceptionally warm, welcoming and love children.
Where to stay: Taylors Hill and Last House
Taylors Hill is a lovely five-room boutique hotel in Sri Lanka’s tea region. Two of the rooms can accommodate extra beds for families with young children, and the chef will happily adapt meals for young palates. There’s an infinity-edge swimming pool with views over the hills, tennis and badminton courts, croquet lawn and a children’s playroom. Sister property, Last House, is a six-bedroom seaside escape set on two acres of grassy lawn that is perfect for picnics and games. The Cinnamon Suite is particularly well suited for families with a large double bedroom upstairs, and two twin bedrooms downstairs for the little ones. Lightfoot Travel has a special Family Offer for combined stays at these two properties during the National Day break. This includes Stay 3 Pay 2 at Taylors Hill with a family lunch on the house, followed by a complimentary cooking class or head massage with three nights spent at The Last House.
With majestic animals, sweeping grasslands, vibrant culture and first-rate lodges and camps, Kenya gives you a safari experience like nowhere else. Cap off your time spent in the bush with a few days on the beach, and you’ve got yourself the perfect combination of safari and sea for the National Day holidays. For something that the children will never forget, an overnight in Nairobi at the beginning or end of the itinerary could mean a stay at the legendary Giraffe Manor, where these peaceful, iconic animals will join you for breakfast!
Where to stay: Sala’s Camp
Sala’s Camp is one of the few places in Africa where children of all ages are welcome. Special safari programs see spotters teaching young guests the secrets of the bush, and children are able to join game drives with their parents and see the animals up close. Parents will enjoy sundowners overlooking the incredible natural scenery that unfolds over the Masai Mara Game Reserve, and dinners served outdoors under the brightly starlit Kenyan skies.
While no stranger to tourism, Phuket still tops our list of favourite family beach destinations due to its incredible mix of properties, clear and calm beaches, impeccable service and simple convenience – once you arrive you can literally kick back and not have to lift a finger until you leave. With direct flights from both Dubai and Abu Dhabi, this is the ultimate in easy “fly-and-flop” relaxation.
Where to stay: Trisara Phuket
Trisara’s kid’s club, located in a dedicated pavilion for those between the ages of 4 and 16, and is supervised by qualified child minders. Outdoor activities include sailing, windsurfing, kayaking and island hopping cruises. Meanwhile, parents can indulge in a couple’s spa treatment, play a round of golf at a nearby course, or head into town for a parent’s night out. The infinity pool villas are also some of the best we’ve seen on the entire island!
Beyond the glitz and glamour of the resorts in the Seychelles, this island nation is an eco-tourism paradise with lush jungle trails, countless native bird species and world-class diving amongst rainbow-coloured reefs full of marine life. Properties are often situated on larger islands than in the Maldives, which bring added opportunities for hiking amidst the forested interiors. Additionally, being just a 4.5-hour flight from Dubai, it’s incredibly easy for families with even very young children to make the flight over.
Where to stay: Desroches Island Resort
One of the most spectacular properties in the Seychelles, Desroches Island Resort is also one of the best for families. Its Kid’s Haven provides educational activities in a wonderful outdoor setting, and encourages parents to get involved as well. The island is incredibly safe, and parents can rest assured that it is malaria-free, which means no vaccines necessary. There are no dangerous animals, insects or snakes; and you don’t have to worry about cars as there are no tar roads. The whole island is essentially a parent’s dream when it comes to providing a safe and fun-filled environment for kids of all ages. Plus – it is home to an impressive number of giant tortoises, a Seychelles speciality that will enchant children and adults alike!
Lightfoot Travel is a Dubai-based luxury tour operator specialising in tailor-made family holidays, honeymoons, private villas and corporate travel to countries spanning seven continents. Visit lightfoottravel.com or call +971 4 455 8788 for further details.