New Year. New You. New upbeat mentality? Well, yes, that was the resolution, but grey, rainy days and long afternoons spent inside can dampen even the happiest of spirits. If you’re in need of something to look forward to in the dark depths of winter, then how about booking a holiday to one of these gorgeous destinations?
Best for out-of-season sun: Abama, Tenerife
We know what you’re thinking. But, cast those pre-conceptions aside, Tenerife is where it’s at if you’re looking for an out-of-season holiday WITH sunshine (it’s currently 17 degrees). Not so long ago, the idea of a mammoth resort geared up for families sent me running for the jungle-clad hills, but nowadays with three under-5’s in tow, all i can say is Bring. It. On. With 469 rooms and villas, the Ritz-Carlton Abama resort is hardly small and intimate, but with 12 restaurants (including the two-Michelin starred MB), 7 pools and a spa from the team behind Chiva Som, who cares? It’s not cheap, but if you’re exhausted, ready to splash out and looking for a spot of spring or autumn sunshine, this could be the place. Scott Dunn offers 7 nights B&B at The Ritz-Carlton Abama from £1,085 per person based on a family of four sharing connecting Citadel Rooms, including flights from the UK and transfers. Price is based on 11th July 2015 departure.
Best for sun-seekers: Skiathos Princess, Skiathos
You can’t beat Greece when it comes to guaranteed sun. I’m still dreaming about the blue skies and idyllically calm seas of Mykonos where we visited last year. Skiathos isn’t an island I’ve been to, but if the Skiathos Princess is as good as it sounds, then it’s going straight onto my must-visit list. The beach setting is gorgeous, rooms are spacious (if not ultra-stylish), restaurants are great and the hotel is seriously family-friendly. There’s an awesome kids’ club (I am so into kids’ club it beggars belief) which – and this is the most important point as so many don’t – caters for children aged 6 months – 12 years. Meaning that you can ship ’em off for a few hours of activities with brilliant and highly-trained staff so you can sleep/eat/read or do whatever it is you do do when you’re left alone. Add to this an adventure playground, children’s menus in all the restaurants, a children’s pool and a stunning golden sand beach and you have family holiday heaven. Sovereign Luxury Travel offers seven nights at the five star Skiathos Princess from £679 per person. The offer includes a 30% early booking discount, a complimentary lunch voucher, seven nights B&B in a Double Room, return flights from London Gatwick with Thomson, private resort transfers and UK airport lounge access. Based on departures 8 May 2015 and must be booked by 31st January 2015.
Best for laid-back living: Mas de Jouas, Pyrenees, France
Nestled away in the midi-Pyrenees (just 1.5 hours from Toulouse airport), Mas de Jouas is a gorgeous little boutique hotel run by Brit ex-pats Abbi and Danny. As parents to two girls, they know what families are looking for when it comes to holidays and subsequently they’ve thought of tons of little touches that add that magic bit of sparkle to your stay. The nightly 5.30pm children’s suppers (where Abbi cooks and parents can relax with a drink) are genius as is the one night’s free babysitting included with every stay. There’s a pool, indoor playroom, a weekly cooking lesson and treasure hunt, and loads of extras such as dvds, bottle warmers and puzzles for kids. Mas de Jouas caters for 3-4 families at a time, many of whom book to come back year after year. From €2,200 per family of four (extra children from €207 each per week)
Sani Resort, Halkidiki, Greece
This is the kind of destination where it’s all about ease. One of the quickest parts of Greece to get to (it’s only a 3.5 hour flight), this family-run resort encompassing 4 hotels spread over 1,000 acres runs like a smoothly-oiled machine. Beaches are beautiful and the facilities fabulous. The Porto Sani Village is perfect for young families with an amazing creche (taking children aged 6 months – 4 years), fantastic – and healthy – kids’ food and the genius idea of breakfast babysitting (so you can enjoy your breakfast in peace). There’s also a great spa, kilometres of amazing hiking trails and 230 acres of wild wetlands. ITC Luxury Travel offers 7 nights at Porto Sani Village from £2,355 per family (2 adults and 2 children) sharing an Upper Floor Garden View Suite. Includes breakfast, return flights with Easyjet from Gatwick and transfers.