One of the aspects of life that changes most with the arrival of your precious bundle of joy is holidaying. Gone are the days of throwing a bag together and hopping on a cheap flight to who knows where for a couple of days of impromptu relaxation. lastminute.com doesn’t work as well with a buggy and travel cot weighing you down.
Successful first holidays as a family need planning. And luckily there are heaps of companies out there to make the experience a stress-free holiday for all of you.
Where to go?
One of our favourite companies specialising in travelling with babies is totstoo.com They have lovely looking holidays to Corfu, Croatia (perfect in September and October) and Morocco. Tots to Travel is another good company ( totstotravel.co.uk ). It was set up when Wendy Shand’s toddler fell into an unenclosed pool. All the villas and cottages on their books have been personally inspected by her team and come equipped with full child and baby kit.
This is not to say that baby-friendly has to mean without style. Baby Friendly Boltholes babyfriendlyboltholes.co.uk has a fabulous selection of self-catering and hotel options at home and abroad. Their Holy Grail is ‘stylish, contemporary AND family friendly’.
Increasingly, hotels across the board are welcoming children of all ages but it is worth looking at the ones that really focus on little ones. The Luxury Family Hotel group luxuryfamilyhotels.co.uk has seven country house hotels that are genuinely geared towards families. Cots, bed guards, potties, bottle warmers, pureed food are all easily supplied and I wish the ‘breakfast club’ had been available when mine were little. On Sunday morning a nanny comes and collects your babe from your room, giving you a chance for a lie in with the papers. If there is a Luxury Family equivalent in the sun, Portugal’s Martinhal martinhal.com would have to be a contender. We visited last year and for a relaxed seaside break it is be hard to beat.
For many of us, a bit of me time is an essential part of a holiday. So a set up with a good crèche or available childcare is crucial. Make sure you check the minimum age your child has to be. Generally it is four months. Plaudits go to top end operators Powder Byrne powderbyrne.com (editors’ fav) and Scott Dunn scottdunn.com, while in the mid-range, we hear good things of the childcare provision of Neilson neilson.co.uk and Esprit esprit-holidays.co.uk. Individual crèches that are recommended include Simpson Travel’s Hatchlings Crèche (from 6 months) that has some good free childcare weeks running this year simpsontravel.com. Do check out our website for our selection of the Top 10 Kids’ Clubs worldwide. Alternatively, you might want to consider taking a nanny with you. Holiday Nanny holidaynanny.org, Kids in Greece kidsingreece.com and My Travelling Nanny mytravellingnanny.co.uk are all recommended.
Finally, if you have just had twins, we love the sound of the new twin friendly house at Retallack in Cornwall, complete with a large nursery room with matching oak sleigh cots and a specially designed indoor playhouse. retallackresort.co.uk
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