Does the concept of ‘luxury family travel’ seem like a misnomer? Do balmy, champagne-tinged nights feel like a distant memory from your pre-children days?
We have good news for you. As it turns out, you can keep the luxury in travel even after you’ve had kids.
Luxury manifests itself in many different ways, and the notion is totally unique for each individual. For some, it’s the thought of fine dining in an opulent setting; for others it’s the novelty of a serene and bustle-free atmosphere; and for some people, luxury is all about intuitive service and attention to detail.
When it comes to family travel, the most important – and often most difficult – element is keeping every member of the family happy. You could even say achieving this seemingly impossible equilibrium is a luxury in itself.
This is where ‘experiential travel’ comes into play. We are big believers in garnering a sense of luxury and happiness from experiences that are unusual, rare, highly-coveted and cherished. We encourage travellers to find their own brand of luxury by chasing unique experiences that will delight all members of the family; regardless of age.
Soneva Kiri – Thailand
A luxury resort surrounded by untamed jungle and idyllic beaches on the island of Koh Kood, Thailand; Soneva Kiri is full to the brim of one-of-a-kind opportunities for families to have fun together.
Foodie families can take fine dining to new heights – literally – with the resort’s famous Treepod Dining. Comfortably seated in a bamboo pod, you and your family will be hoisted up into the tropical foliage of Koh Kood’s ancient rainforest. Gaze out across the boulder-covered shoreline dancing with gentle waves, as you savour gourmet delights and wines, delivered via the zip-line acrobatics of your personal waiter.
For inquisitive minds, Soneva Kiri’s Koh Kood Butterfly Quest takes you on an explorative trail through the rainforest, guided by the resort’s expert Tropical Ecologist. Marvel in the discovery of a secret waterfall before you acquaint yourself with the 100 species of exquisite butterflies on the island.
Soneva Jani – Maldives
One of the most luxurious resorts in the Maldives, Soneva Jani – a collection of water and island villas in the crystal-clear waters of the Noonu Atoll – is home to an impressive range of signature experiences.
A three-course family dinner at So Starstruck, the first overwater observatory in the Maldives, is a must. Soneva Jani boasts the largest telescope in the Maldives; a beautiful blue 16” Schmidt-Cassegrain designed scope named Eleos that offers an ‘out of this world’ experience for aspiring astronomers. Sit at one of the four dining tables around Eleos, gaze towards the heavens, and dine on an expertly crafted menu while the resort’s resident Astronomer is on-hand to help navigate the skies.
Other memorable activities include: an evening at Cinema Paradiso, the resort’s outdoor, starlit movie theatre; or an aquatic adventure through the Noonu Atoll where you’ll discover the diversity of Maldivian marine life, guided by the resort’s resident Marine Biologist.
Nihi Sumba – Indonesia
Located on Indonesia’s most unexplored island, Nihi Sumba is a soulful destination where rugged meets unregulated freedom. Operating in perfect harmony with the stunning local environment and Sumbanese people, it’s a place to unplug and find peace with earth and community.
Find yourself immersed in the raw beauty of the natural surrounds, as well as the island’s magnificently preserved ancient culture. Spend your days horseback riding on the beach, surfing private breaks, indulging in a Spa Safari, savouring a picnic underneath a waterfall, or taking a butterfly trek.
For an extra meaningful and cultural activity, a family trip to the Sumba Foundation is highly recommended. The foundation’s aim is to provide humanitarian aid through village-based projects that measurably impact local health by establishing access to clean water, creating educational programs; lessening the effects of Malaria; and preserving and respecting the fragile culture and traditions of the Sumbanese people.
The Anam – Vietnam
Overlooking 300 metres of beachfront on Vietnam’s stunning Cam Ranh peninsula, The Anam is a five-star hotel that combines warm-hearted Vietnamese service with a suite of experiences designed to keep every member of the family entertained.
From a 3D cinema to a chocolate discovery tour, there’s plenty to do at The Anam, but where the hotel really shines is its culinary offering.
Mama’s Cooking delivers authentic Vietnamese cuisine twice a week, where a team of none other than the resort staff’s own mothers to serve up a feast of classic Vietnamese dishes, as if they were cooking for their own families. Dishes include grilled beef in betel leaf, Hue-style beef noodle soup and crispy Vietnamese pancakes, complimented by fresh salads and other treats.
The dishes, which include bò nướng lá lốt (grilled beef in betel leaf), bún bò Huế (Hue-style beef noodle soup) and bánh xèo (crispy Vietnamese pancakes), are cooked and served at cooking stations. Set against the backdrop of one of the resort’s three swimming pools with views of Vietnam’s ‘Long Beach’, it is the perfect setting for a traditional, gastronomic feast.
Vakkaru – Maldives
Designed as an ideal space for families to reconnect with each other, Vakkaru is a timeless sanctuary located in a breathtaking enclave within the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve of the Baa Atoll. A lush and secluded floating paradise of palm-lined beaches and powder white sand, the five-star resort epitomises tropical escapism.
Whether you are feeling energetic or prefer to relax, Vakkaru Maldives offers extensive engaging experiences for all ages. The resort’s Parrot Fish Club & Coconut Club offer extensive facilities and tailored activities for children and young adults, while the Merana Spa is a luxurious overwater spa with indulgent treatments and wellness facilities for parents.
Splash Water Sports and Dive Centre offering adventurous excursions, exhilarating water sports activities and scuba diving with accredited PADI dive instructors from beginner to advanced level.
Not much needs to be said about this iconic luxury property in the Maldives that caters exceptionally well. As described by Wayfarers Atlas, there’s a billion buzz words to rave about when it comes to Soneva Fushi, with barefoot and castaway chic being the first swish superlatives that spring to mind. This is a private island from paradise; sure, you have the coconut strewn sands and glossy blue sea, but it’s the level of luxe that really ramps up this captivating corner of the Maldives. Thatched mansions are prisms of eco-perfection stashed among thick lush greenery and wild rabbits. If jungle dreams, sustainable surf charters, and dedicated rooms for cheese and chocolate aren’t enough to swing the vote – perhaps the added advantage of an award-winning spa and dedicated family butler will tip the balance into pure bliss.
Voted ‘Best Kids Club in the World’ numerous times, The Den is a whimsical two-floor open-air playground with a Nemo-shaped toddler pool, a saltwater pool with slide and pirate ship, a music room full of instruments, dress-up area, cinema and bar for mixing mocktails. For those aged under four, babysitting can be arranged at $25 (£18) per hour. Babies get cots with mosquito nets and parents can borrow everything from prams to monitors. Restaurants have kids’ menus, highchairs and drawing materials.