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Travel Awards 2019

We are thrilled to announce the winners, runners up and shortlisted entrants in our annual family travel awards. Click on individual names for further details and dream of holidays!

a&u Travel Awards 2019

The best family holidays (and some of the worse) become family folklore, filling your and your children’s memory banks, binding you together as a unit. In tune with the established trend for experiential travel, we wanted the hotels, villas and tour operators to be able to provide something special or different for families to experience, and where possible, shed light on a new, or slightly less well-known property. Overall, we want to inspire a feeling of wanting to head off with your kids on adventures and new experiences.  

BEST FAMILY OPERATOR

The Turquoise Holiday Company

Winner: The Turquoise Holiday Company

The one you should have on speed dial. Approachable, lovely walk-in premises in Clapham if you want to chat through face to face; good range of prices. They really get to know their clients.  

Runner Up: Original Travel 

For their attention to the little (and not-so-little) details. 

Shortlist: 

Audley Travel 

i-escape 

Mr & Mrs Smith

Powder Byrne

Tots Too 

Travelbeam 

BEST FAMILY RESORT  

LUX* South Ari Atholl

Winner: LUX* South Ari Atoll, Maldives 

Perfect for style-savvy parents and those looking for a Maldives hotel with a cool design edge, friendly, happy staff, kids’ club with an independent vibe. Great towel art!  

Runner Up: Ikos Dassia, Corfu 

Once again, IKOS raises the bar on flexible all-inclusive. We particularly like the option to dine out in local tavernas benefiting local business.   

Shortlist: 

Koyao Island Resort, Thailand 

Martinhal Sagres 

Paradis Beachcomber, Mauritius

Paws Up, Montana

The Peligoni Club, Zakynthos

Sani Resort, Halkidiki 

Yelloh Village Camping, Yacanau

BEST INTERNATIONAL FAMILY HOTEL  

The fact that none of these hotels are big ‘family hotels/chains’ reflects how we want to travel with our children and how we would like our experience to be while on holiday.  

Grootbos Garden Lodge

Winner: Garden Lodge, Grootbos, South Africa 

Eco friendly, fantastic personal experience from one of the panel, brilliant for kids as no jet lag. 

Runners Up: 

Sao Lourenco do Barrocal, Portugal 

Stunning, family-owned, low-key organic style.

Schloss Elmau, Bavaria 

Fairytale castle. Great kids’ programme with emphasis on outdoor: barefoot, streams, dam-making and mountain air.

Shortlist: 

Anantara, Bangkok

Capitan SuizoTamarindo, Costa Rica 

Gritti Palace, Venice

Roxy, New York

Wild Coast Tented Lodge, Sri Lanka  

BEST VILLA PROVIDER 

Scott Williams

Winner: Scott Williams 

Great personal selection of villas, many with a real home from home feel. 

Runners Up: 

Red Savannah 

The Thinking Traveller

Shortlist: 

CV Villas

Just Sicily

Oliver’s Travels

Scott Dunn

Son Bunyola, Mallorca  

BEST KIDS' CLUB  

soneva fushi the den

Winner: Soneva Fushi, Baa Atoll, Maldives 

Hands-down all-round splendidness, pared-back architecture with an eco twist. We love the fact the kids can learn to play local Maldivian instruments. And the legendary Chocolate room! 

Runner Up: Stanglwirt, Austria 

Family-run, authentic. A proper summer and winter destination. The Kids’ Club is a farm. 

Shortlist: 

Country Kids

The Marbella Club

Scott Dunn Explorers’ Kids Club, Six Senses, Zighy Bay

The Westin Resort, Costa Navarino

BEST FAMILY SKI OPERATOR  

Powder Byrne

Winner: Powder Byrne 

Simply ‘superlatively brilliant’  

Runner Up: PT Ski 

The epitome of why single resort specialists (Klosters) are sometimes the way to go.

Special Mention: Peak Retreats

For their good-value offering.  

Shortlist:

Camel Snow

Club Med

Meriski

Ski Famille

BEST FAMILY ADVENTURE SPECIALIST 

Black Tomato

Winner: Black Tomato 

Extraordinary experiences, Bespoke-ly tailored to you. 

Runners Up:

Activities Abroad

Excellent mid-priced group travel.

Yellow Zebra Safaris

Fantastic family safaris.

Shortlist: 

Aardvark Safaris

Cookson Adventures

Explore

SCIC

The Slow Cyclist

BEST UK FAMILY HOTEL 

Another.Place  

Winner: Another Place, the Lake

The Lake Watergate Bay team strike gold on the banks of Ullswater. 

Runners Up: 

Heckfield Place

Great General Manager; interesting activities for kids.

Gleneagles 

Recent refurbishment has put the hotel back on the map for families. 

Shortlist: 

Beaverbrook

Chewton Glen

Fowey Hall

The Pig Near Bath

Watergate Bay

BEST UK SELF CATERING 

Beach Retreats

Winner: Beach Retreats  

Runners Up: 

Bruern Holiday Cottages

Canopy and Stars 

Shortlist: 

Barefoot Retreats 

Perfect Stay

St Mawes Retreats 

Unique Home Stays 

Venn Farm 

THE PANEL    

Rose Astor

Rose Astor is a freelance travel writer who features regularly in the Sunday Times Travel section and Conde Nast Traveller. After spending 3 months on a family sabbatical in Sri Lanka last year, Rose stumbled into a new-found passion for yoga and is being trained to teach alongside her writing by TriYoga legend Julie Montagu. Rose lives in the Cotswolds with her husband and three children.

Marina Fogle

Marina Fogle  is the founder of London’s most popular antenatal class, The Bump Class.  She produces a brilliant podcast, The Parent Hood, as well as writing for The Mail, The Telegraph and The Times.  She lives in London with her husband, the adventurer, Ben Fogle, their two children, Ludo and Iona and their dog Storm. 

Francisca Kellett

Francisca Kellett  is a freelance travel writer and editor. She was most recently the Travel Editor at Tatler and now contributes regularly to the Financial Times, The Daily Telegraph and The Times.  An eco-nut and hotel junkie, she spends more time than is strictly necessary in Africa, and loves writing about sustainability and conservation (she gets quite shouty about plastic). She is also the co-founder of Mundi & Co, a creative content agency for luxury hotels.  

Juliet Kinsman

Juliet Kinsman  set up  Bouteco  to share enlightening stories of sustainability. As a freelance journalist and hotel expert, Louis Vuitton City Guides author for London and New York and founding editor of Mr & Mrs Smith, she has spent much of the last two decades celebrating the world’s most special places to stay. Her design and travel articles have appeared in various publications from The Week to Condé Nast Traveller. She’s a monthly guest on BBC Radio London. 

Harriet Whiting

Harriet Whiting is a writer and social media manager who likes travel to be at the heart of everything she does. When she’s not blogging, copywriting or hotel reviewing for travel media including Mr and Mrs Smith, i-escape and Bouteco she likes nothing better than getting out there and creating her own travel experiences preferably with her two young boys in tow. Harriet also writes about sustainability and parenting plus runs her own eco-campaign The Greenery.