The results are in! We have spent the last few months carefully deciding who we feel offers the very best in family travel. These are the angels & urchins Travel Awards, chosen by our team. Every single one of these winners has been tried & tested by someone here at a&u, bar Martinhal Lisbon which is at the very top of our wish-list! It was incredibly difficult to choose a winner in many of the categories, so we also want to congratulate all of our runners' up, who are all also highly-rated by a&u. Congratulations to all of our winners!
Best UK Family Hotel
WINNER: Fowey Hall Hotel
Our Pregnancy & Baby expert Jill Forbes took her children Kitty (6) and Albert (4) to Fowey:
"Fowey Hall feels like a home from home but with amazing childcare, friendly helpful staff, a great restaurant and views of the sea! They think of everything for families and if they haven't got it, they'll get it!
Fowey is a lovely little town, there is always so much going on, the smell of newly made fudge wafting from the shops as you walk down the main street to try your hand at crabbing (lines, nets, bate and buckets all ready for you at reception). You can pretend that the crabbing is for the kids but its the parents that are the most enthusiastic when you pull up a crab!" foweyhallhotel.co.uk
Best International Family Hotel Operator
JOINT WINNERS: Turquoise Holidays and Tots Too
Turquoise arranged Veronica Olszowska’s trip to Sri Lanka with her husband and three children and she was thrilled with the service:
"they created a fun-packed and varied itinerary which in two weeks gave our family a fascinating overview of the island. Turquoise arranged first rate hotels and kept within a very reasonable budget." turquoiseholidays.co.uk
Editor Emily Turner rates, "this wonderful London-based travel company, set up and run by two sisters (with seven kids between them) which continues to go from strength to strength. Fantastic luxury hotels across the globe, a more adventurous ‘Big Kids’ programme and new this season, ski. Personal service across the board, just fab." totstoo.com
Best Kids' Club
WINNERS: The Royal Palm Marrakech and le Paradis, Mauritius, Beachcomber
Best for pre-schoolers:
Daisy Allsup visited the Royal Palm Marrakesh: "It might be for children but I’d happily have spent the day in this gorgeous Kids Club. Playing on Berber tradition, the light, airy playroom is full of fluffy sheep for the children to climb on, wooden market stalls stocked as full as the medina plus tree houses, reading corner, workshops and a mini spa. Outside there is a shallow kids pool permanently shaded by a canvas canopy, as well as mini tennis courts."
Best for older kids:
Julia Colls took her daughters to Le Paradis for half term: "From Henna tattoo art to treasure hunts on the glorious sandy beaches, the Paradis Kids Club were brilliant at keeping our 12 and 10 year old girls entertained whilst we could chill with cocktails by the pool. Super friendly and energetic staff really helped our girls engage with all planned activities - great food too.'
Best Family Kids' Ski Operator - Luxury:
WINNER: Powder Byrne
a&u weekly Editor Claire Gill and her husband took their three sons to Priva Alpine Lodge, Lenzerheide with Powder Byrne.
"We’d never done an arranged family ski holiday before so we didn’t know what to expect. We were completely wowed by the Powder Byrne service; never has sorting out ski passes and kit been more straightforward, and nothing was too much trouble for the smiling, red-jacketed staff. Our apartment had a huge balcony overlooking the slopes – heaven. The kids were grouped according to age and ability; they needed no persuasion from us as their Powder Byrne guides were super-friendly and positive, and nothing beats the feeling of watching them whiz down the slopes by the end of the week." powderbyrne.com
Best Family Kids' Ski Operator - Mid-range:
WINNER: Family Ski Co
Anya Waddington took her family skiing with Family Ski Co:
"Family Ski’s packages are more reasonable than most, in part due to their lower key destinations. They’re small enough to offer the personal touch. The ratio of staff to guests is high. The young staff, without exception, were unflappable, good-natured, well-organised and a huge hit with the kids. Nothing fell between the cracks and nothing was too much trouble." familyski.co.uk
Best Family Adventure/Activity Specialist
WINNER: Hungry Lions
Faith Short travelled with Hungry Lions:
"It is a myth that you need more than a week to go to South Africa. Ali created a fantastic seven-day itinerary for our family. A few days exploring Cape Town were followed by a brilliant mini-safari where we spotted the big 5 including a mother cheetah making a kill for her pups. Wonderfully well organised, gorgeous accommodation and a memorable trip for all." hungrylions.co.uk
Best Villa Specialist
WINNER: Red Savannah
Editor Annie chilled out in Cap Ferret last summer:
"This is something unusual, quirky or sought-after in each of the Red Savannah properties, whether it is the beautiful villa setting, the specific location, the gorgeous villa itself or in a location that is reserved for those seriously in the know. This, combined with personal service from their small team, guarantees you’ll have an unforgettable holiday." redsavannah.com
Best UK Self-Catered
WINNER: Perfect Stays
Julia Colls and family keep on coming back to this dreamy house in Devon booked through Perfect Stays:
"We have quite simply found our perfect place. We have just booked Overcome for the third year in a row and intend to book every year for probably the rest of our lives. The house sits up high on a cliff top with STUNNING views over Bantham Bay and Bigbury-on-Sea. Completely refurbished a few years ago the house is immaculately furnished and has a really luxy feel. Total Devon heaven." perfectstays.co.uk
Best Family Resort
WINNER: Sani Resort, Halkidiki
Editor Emily took her kids Jemima (13) and Jimmy (11) to Sani:
"Effortlessly combining 5 star luxury, glorious space, miles of golden sand with the buzz of a seaside town and the intimacy of a boutique hotel, Sani Club is, in Emily’s view, pretty close to perfection. Take advantage of a host of activities from tinies to teens or sit and look out over the bay onto a distant snow-capped Mount Olympus and just breathe. Utter heaven." sani-resort.com
WINNER: Martinhal Lisbon
Lisbon is definitely on the travel hot-list this year, but city breaks can be off-putting with kids in tow. Enter Martinhal, a sleek new hotel within a 19th century townhouse in the heart of Lisbon where to focus is entirely on families. There is an enormous kids club and pyjama parties if you want to go out for a grown-up dinner. We are dying to go! martinhal.com/chiado/en/
Best Family Travel Extra - sunsuits/ski suits/books/cameras/etc.
WINNER: Solar Buddies
Many schools and nurseries now have a ‘no touch’ policy making it very tricky to ensure that kids are safe in the sun. Solar Buddies provides a genius solution; a re-fillable rollerball sunscreen applicator that makes it fun for kids to put on their suncream themselves. Small enough to fit in a backpack. £8 www.solarbuddies.co.uk