I’m delighted to have Laura Dixon, associate editor at the wonderful i-escape, sharing her favourite ideas for family honeymoons – or familymoons as they’re often called – with us today. It just goes to show that travelling with children doesn’t have to mean sacrificing style or comfort, and I’m sure that many of these hotels will even appeal to couples who are honeymooning without children.
Familymoon is a new word on our radar and a growing trend: plenty of couples have children before they are married, then decide to take their brood away with them on their honeymoon once they are.
We have a huge array of properties on i-escape.com that cater for honeymooning families, offering a dose of romance as well as entertainment for your kids. The majority also include essentials like babysitting so you can have a candlelit dinner in the evening if you like, too. We have just launched our kids collection which brings together a diverse array of properties around the world – villas, hotels, mudbrick houses, you name it – and they all have the wow factor for parents as well as kids.
These four are my fantasy familymoon favourites:
This private island is all about barefoot luxury, and is the archetypal honeymoon getaway, with white sand beaches, rainforests full of birds, and coral reefs around it. But when you start thinking about taking children to a paradise island, there are some other considerations: how will they cope with the long-distance travel? And will there be enough for them to do, or will you have to cope with the same ‘I’m bored’ chants that you get at home?
The good news is that this place is the whole package. It’s two hours by boat from Singapore, so although it is far flung, it’s not completely off the beaten track. You can break the journey with a stop in Singapore if you like – there’s enough to do for a family there for a day – before moving on. And as for being bored, forget it! The staff are brilliant, organising treasure hunts, beach combing and multiple walking adventures. I especially love the fact that they have a dressing up box so your children can dress up like pirates or mermaids – fitting, given the beachfront location.
And getting down to brass tacks, the two-bedroom villas are exactly what you need as a honeymooning family. There’s a twin room for the kids and a double for you – no sharing – plus babysitting is available and you don’t have to cook: food can be delivered straight to your beachfront house.
2-bedroomed beach house from £275 per night.
Luxury safaris and children don’t traditionally go well together, especially if your children are young, noisy and can’t sit still. But RiverBend Lodge in South Africa gives a truly family friendly spin on this once-in-a-lifetime trip. In a malaria-free national park an hour from Port Elizabeth, the eight-suite homestead has babysitting so if your children don’t fancy the crack of dawn awakening typical for an early morning game drive, you can still go.
They also run special safari drives with children in mind, and have snake experts on site to show off their favourite serpents. You can travel together in a specially-designed family vehicle that you don’t have to share with others and, at the other end of the scale, bespoke bug hunts can also be put together.
What this means for families is that you get the best of both worlds: you can relax and enjoy a safari drive with your new husband or wife in the knowledge that your children are being looked after well in your absence, then you can join them in getting excited about the wildlife later in the day. In the evening, the lodge serves seven-course gourmet meals for adults only, and you can book a babysitter for your little ones at this time.
We recommend booking two luxury suites which have interconnecting doors; otherwise, you’ll be sharing the same sleeping space as your children.
Luxury suites from £495 per night
These four large beachside villas are extraordinary and one of our favourite honeymoon spots in the world, with or without children.
Hidden away in the north of Bali, they are a bit of a trek to get to (3.5 hours by car) but you could book a 25-minute helicopter trip if you wanted to be particularly extravagant. What you’ll find when you arrive is an eclectic space with vibrant décor, a warm host, private pools for each villa and your own personal staff, who make great babysitters.
The focus is on making you feel special, and by having staff on hand to help out, you won’t have to worry about keeping your kids occupied. Within the grounds, there are lawns and swimming pools to explore plus the beach and a bit further afield, boat trips and snorkeling are popular with older children.
If you have a baby, the honeymoon villa is perfect, otherwise you could book either a two- or three-bed villa so you all have plenty of space. The hotel serves fantastic food and each villa has a great kitchen, eliminating the problem you might have at other hotels when your kids refuse to eat the food. For the ultimate in luxury, when the kids have gone to bed, book the private chef to cook you a romantic meal.
From £398 per night for a 2-bedroomed villa
For somewhere short-haul with the romance factor, look no further than Tuscany. The ancient villages and olive groves tug at our heartstrings and we think it’s a great option for the kind of relaxed honeymoon that will work well with the demands of a family.
These three ultra-stylish serviced villas give you the best of a hotel – room service and a concierge plus someone to clean up after you – with the privacy of a private villa. They are modern and super styled and not what you’d expect from a family-friendly spot at all, but that’s the beauty of them. We thoroughly disapprove of the notion that family holidays have to include primary colours and basic furniture – supersleek and sophisticated works too.
You’ll be wowed by the architecture, while the surrounding countryside offers corn and sunflower fields, olive groves and ancient villages, perfect for visiting with kids, who can borrow the villa bikes to explore on their own. The villas all have kitchens so you can self-cater and whip up easy kids meals, but there’s also a chef on hand and a personal shopper so the stress can be taken out of it for you, and romantic meals can be created in a flash. It’s like eating out, except that you don’t have to book a babysitter.
Gallo is the villa to pick, perfect for a family of four with a pool that is shared with the neighbouring villa. We hear that daytrips to Siena are popular with families, who use the bell tower as a tourist attraction with dual functions: it offers views and a sense of history while at the same time tiring out the kids!
4-bedroomed villa Galetto from £363 per night.
All images courtesy of i-escapeYou might also like: