British Airways High Life

Family Blog

My favourite kids' club

June 2013

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Six top family and travel bloggers choose their favourite hotels and resorts that go the extra mile for their littlest guests
Playtime at the Levante Beach Resort, Rhodes

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'Zac tried out more new things than I did in the week we were there'

'I stayed at the Levante Beach Resort, Rhodes (markwarner.co.uk) with my youngest son Zac (then aged 4) not long after it opened in 2012. Because there were just the two of us, Zac and I hung out together in the mornings — swimming, usually, but also canoeing or visiting nearby Lindos — and then in the afternoon he'd toddle off to the kids' club to join in with their indoor and outdoor activities. He had a ball, and I had a swim and a rest (or went off mountain biking, or had a treatment in the spa, or took a pilates class...). The best thing was the range of activities Zac got to do — things he wouldn't necessarily have been able to do with me, such as sailing. I can honestly say he tried out more new things than I did in the week we were there. The kids' club gave me a bit of a breather and also meant he didn't get too bored with me!'
Rhonda Carrier, takethefamily.com

'We usually travel independently, renting apartments or small villas, but I recently visited the Now Amber Resort in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (nowresorts.com) and it was fantastic. It does all inclusive perfectly, with an impressive children's playroom, kid-friendly food by the pool and a water slide. Add to that all the amenities an adult could want — gorgeous pools, beach access, an in-hotel restaurant and non-stop access to Margaritas. Puerto Vallarta is a great town for kids with beautiful beaches and a long beach boardwalk called the Malecon. For older kids there are water sports from surfing to kayaking.'
Christine Gilbert, almostfearless.com

'My two children, Scarlett, 9, and Finlay, 6, are by and large not fussed by kids clubs but there are two exceptions where they had an absolute ball. The first was St James's Club in Antigua (stjamesclubantigua.com), a good value four-star all inclusive that has really upped its game by collaborating with children's authors and illustrators including Ed Vere and Rachel Bright. During the school holidays they are there to inspire children to draw, create and use their imaginations. There's nothing flash about the kids club itself — it's basically a large room under with a sandy play area outside — but the setting is incredible: next to Coco's Beach and the turquoise Caribbean Sea. This year they are branching out into children's cookery classes with TV chef Jo Pratt.
'Our other great discovery was at one of the most legendary (and expensive) hotels in the world, The Cipriani in Venice (hotelcipriani.com), which launched its Smile Club a couple of years ago. My daughter still talks about the welcome from flamboyant concierge Roberto and the mischievous way he encouraged her to feed bread from the breakfast table to the fish in the hotel's ornamental ponds. Scarlett loved the Venetian mask and pizza making, the private kids' pool and picnic banquets under the fruit trees. Excursions brought Venice alive for children in a way I'd never anticipated — an insider's tour of the Doges Palace, fishing in the lagoon and a guided trip to Burano to spot painted houses.'
Jane Anderson, 101holidays.co.uk

'We love children in St Lucia,' the beaming hotel manager told us, as we arrived at the Windjammer Landing Resort (windjammer-landing.com). And it wasn't just talk. Located in a little villa on the lush resort grounds, the Jacquot Fun Club was filled with toys, brightly coloured murals and a roomful of delighted kids. There were two sessions a day for children aged four to twelve: 10am—4pm and 6.30pm—10pm (so mum and dad can enjoy an evening to themselves). Activities included everything from storytelling and tie dying to princess pamper parties and DVD movie nights. Older kids were catered for at the Teen Club, with supervised water sports, a fully equipped games room and chaperoned shopping trips. In the evening, the staff organised bonfires, karaoke nights and visits to the local cinema. As a parent, it's a huge plus to have such great kids' facilities at hand. You can really relax knowing that they're being well looked after and having a fantastic time too.'
Jacqui Paterson, mummyslittlemonkey.com

'Babington House (babingtonhouse.co.uk) in Somerset is my absolute favourite place to escape to for a treat for the whole family. As soon as you arrive, you cannot help but relax. It is complete luxury but with the most laid back vibe. Children are so well looked after, with special menus, a crèche, special meal times and a super babysitting service. Meanwhile the parents can enjoy the spa, pool, amazing food and wonderful spaces to completely chill out and relax.'
Emily Quinton, startupwife.co

'We loved Canvas Holidays' Family Extra programme at the Camping la Croix du Vieux Pont park (la-croix-du-vieux-pont.com) just outside Paris. They encourage whole families to do water sports, games and crafts together rather than leaving children at a club while you do something else. I thought it was loads of fun, and a really lovely way to create family memories, rather than just parking the kids for a few hours.
'We also liked the kids' clubs at Keycamp's St Jean de Monts (keycamp.co.uk) site in the Vendée — really chilled out, a focus on team games and outdoor activities and brilliant leaders. I thought they were especially good for shy and younger children — my daughter was five when we visited and very reluctant, but within two days she didn't want to leave!'
Sally Whittle, whosthemummy.co.uk 

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British Airways flies to Rhodes, Mexico City, Antigua, Venice, St Lucia and Paris. Visit ba.com

Posted by Lucy Thackray

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