One thing all parents of little ones know for sure – a holiday just isn’t the same without a kids club.
Attempting to entertain, pacify, referee, organise and delight children away from their own toys, beds, blackout blinds and personal routines is a formula for sleeplessness, tears and occasionally utter disaster.
Ironically, pre-parenthood, kids clubs don’t really register – and if they do, they are to be avoided at all costs. However, once you find yourself travelling with your own tribe in tow, they become a lifeline, a godsend, and entire vacations are planned around the good ones. Here are 10 of the best for 2020…
Turkey’s top kids club
The Cornelia Diamond Resort in Turkey in the beachside town of Belek – an hour from Antalya Airport
A rendering shows the new Cornie Kids World, which is being relaunched at the Cornelia Diamond Resort in April 2020
The new Cornie Kids World will include a large waterpark with slides for both parents and children
Already one of the most family-friendly hotels in the world – Cornelia Diamond Resort in Turkey, is expanding and relaunching its kids club on April 1, 2020.
Resting beachside in Belek, (about an hour from Antalya Airport) this place is over the top spectacular; set on its own 27-hole golf course, it’s surrounded by sand and a plethora of swimming pools.
The new ‘Cornie Kids World’ (which will helpfully run until midnight), will include a large waterpark with slides for both parents and children. It will also have its own restaurant with tables and chairs (individually designed for each age group), and extensive playgrounds both outdoors and indoors.
There will be three separate movie theatres allowing films to play in multiple languages at the same time. A Lego room will delight aficionados and there will also be a mini disco, PlayStation, foosball and large shaded pools. Food-wise, the property is a family–friendly all-inclusive, with eight restaurants to choose from.
Zip-lining through paradise
The outdoor playground at the newly opened Emerald Maldives Resort & Spa, which is home to one of the largest kids clubs in the Maldives
Indoor activities for children at the Emerald Maldives Resort include cupcake making, cinema nights, Zumba lessons, and cookery classes
The newly opened Emerald Maldives Resort & Spa is a five-star all-inclusive resort that is home to one of the largest kids clubs in the Maldives.
The outdoor playground has its own mini pool, splash park, trampoline, winding slides and climbing frames. There is even a zip-wire, where adventurous children can jet from one jungle canopy to another with endless views of the Indian Ocean and the lush greenery underneath.
Indoor activities include cupcake making, cinema nights, Zumba lessons, and cookery classes.
The kids club at the Es Saadi Marrakech Resort, which offers traditional Moroccan cooking classes, henna lessons and Arabic writing practice
If you want your kids to feel like they’ve been transported to another land – look no further than Es Saadi Marrakech Resort. This Moroccan five-star resort is set in one of the largest private parks in Marrakech, and this year it is re-launching its kids club following a complete renovation.
Already, there are traditional Moroccan cooking classes, gardening and planting in the exotic resort gardens, henna lessons, children’s yoga and Arabic writing practice.
Creative kids can spend time exploring Es Saadi’s own on-site art gallery – home to over 400 works of art by local artists – and then return to the kids club for a painting workshop of their own.
The magical snowy kingdom
The kids club at Les Airelles in the heart of Courchevel is called ‘The Kingdom of Children’ and features a heated treehouse, pictured
The indoor playroom at Les Airelles is filled with toys and even has a castle that children can play inside
Les Airelles has a cinema room for children, pictured, as well as a private ice rink and a fairground carousel
Located in the heart of Courchevel, Les Airelles will make visitors feel like they’ve stepped onto the set of Frozen II.
A 19th century Austro-Hungarian castle, every detail here feels charming and considered – and there is an obvious effort to make families feel welcome. The kids club is called ‘The Kingdom of Children’ and features a heated treehouse, a private ice rink, an indoor arcade, children’s fairground carousel and a cinema room.
The swimming pool in the La Mer spa is home to a snow cave and waterfall for families to enjoy and during school holidays, there is a daily programme of exciting alpine-themed activities including dog sledging, snowmobile rides, pastry workshops, magic shows and dressing up.
The Forte Village Resort in Sardinia has a kids club that features its own child-sized village, pictured, that includes a fire station, restaurant, beauty shop and town hall
Forte Village Resort in Sardinia is already kind of legendary in kids club circles – long enjoying a reputation as a must-visit for families. It’s hard to top this one, to be honest.
Called the ‘Children’s Wonderland’, the kids club is on a protected oasis near the beach with play parks, shady areas, shallow pools and its own sandy lagoon. Children can also ride around the resort on a train and explore a child-sized village that includes a fire station, restaurant, beauty shop, library, mini-mart, cinema and town hall.
The nursery has clay modelling, pizza making, Barbies, Hot Wheels and musical instruments. For older kids, there is bowling, go-karting and waterslides abound. New this year – a circus-inspired children’s restaurant serving healthy food headed up by Michelin-starred chef Rosanna Marziale.
The Sani Resort in Greece features an impressive adventure park with no less than six treetop experience courses
Also iconic on the kids club grapevine is the family favourite Sani Resort in Greece, and this year they have something special – Bear Grylls.
The resort is launching a Bear Grylls Survival Academy in partnership with the world’s most recognisable face of outdoor adventure. The new Survival Academy at Sani will allow children and families to learn Bear Grylls’ extreme survival techniques and experience their own spine-tingling adventures.
Also on offer are the Sani Academies (dance, sailing and football in partnership with Chelsea FC Foundation) and the snazzy Rafa Nadal Tennis Centre along with an impressive adventure park featuring no less than six treetop experience courses.
Mini rangers in South Africa
The Ulusaba Private Game Reserve offers a mini rangers/tracking course so youngsters can learn about animals in the reserve
Ulusaba Private Game Reserve (part of the Virgin Limited Edition portfolio) is located in the Sabi Sands Reserve in South Africa – and offers a great introduction to children about nature conservation.
There is a mini rangers/tracking course for youngsters to learn about how animals are protected on site. Outside of this, children will head out with their family on twice-daily game drives for encounters with incredible wildlife while developing knowledge about vital conservation efforts.
You can spend evenings star-gazing under the wide night sky spotting which animal constellations can be seen before retreating to the spacious and luxurious lodge. On arrival, children are also given a backpack full of goodies to keep them entertained and educated.
Coconut bowling in the Caribbean
The Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort, in St Lucia caters to young children and teens with its Sugar and Spice Clubs
The Sugar and Spice Clubs offer a range of activities including treasure hunts, archery and coconut bowling
Sprawled across the site of an old sugar plantation on the East Caribbean island of St Lucia lies the gorgeous Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort. Life seems to run at a slower pace here – and from the moment you arrive, you feel like your heart rate is palpably slowing down.
The hotel’s Sugar and Spice Clubs cater to young children and teens, respectively, and offer a range of fun things to do including treasure hunts, arts and crafts, archery and coconut bowling, as well as fish feeding and sandcastle building at the beach.
At the Spice Club, teens and tweens can enjoy indoor activities such as table tennis, billiard tournaments and video games, as well as outdoor experiences including kayaking, paddle boarding and tennis.
Magical Mallorcan memories
The Zafiro Palace Alcudia in Mallorca, which has 11 swimming pools, including swim up suites, where families can stay
From the enormous wet bubble in the pool for bouncing and sliding to the giant pirate ship in the water – Zafiro Palace Alcudia knows how to have fun.
And with 11 swimming pools to choose from, including swim up suites for families, kids will be spoiled for choice. There are also rooftop jacuzzi suites for a bit of privacy and dining wise there are options suitable for even the fussiest of eaters with all-inclusive options available.
And while children are entertained, adults can enjoy moments of well-deserved grown-up relaxation at the adults-only pool, lounging on Bali beds or they can step over to the spa for a sauna and Turkish bath. For those that want to get out and explore the area, there’s a Zafiro cycling station equipped with mountain bikes and e-bikes for rental, and private boat trips can be arranged.
Teen dream in Portugal
The Magnolia Hotel, pictured, is a Miami-style destination in Portugal’s Algarve region. It offers a variety of teen-driven experiences
The Magnolia Hotel offers access to a brand-new multi-sports hub, ‘The Campus’, pictured, a bustling hive of activity in the Quinta do Lago area
Sleek, boutique, The Magnolia Hotel is a Miami-style destination in Portugal’s Algarve region that is geared for the trickiest of demographic – the hard to please teen.
Interiors are decked out and designed to appeal to their tastes and there are a variety of teen-driven experiences on offer – such as live streaming of the Love Island final across the pool area.
Nestled within the beautiful Algarve region, the hotel also offers access to a brand-new multi-sports hub, ‘The Campus’, a bustling hive of activity in the surrounding Quinta do Lago area.