Emily Ashwell recommends all-inclusive stays that will score highly with the whole family
Value and variety are at the top of the list when it comes to family holidays, so it’s little wonder all-inclusive packages are so popular.
But which hotel to choose? Take a look at our list below for inspiration, with options for long and short-haul, and a range of budgets.
1 FOR ALL THE EXTRAS
Sandals and Beaches resorts are experts at all-inclusive, even if they prefer the term ‘luxury included’.
The Beaches brand is specifically for families and the list of what’s on offer is pretty impressive. It includes water parks, an Xbox Play Lounge, Scratch DJ Academy, Kids’ Camps, teen nightclubs, and trained nannies. For tired parents there are butlers and spa treatments.
It also has a link with Sesame Street, which isn’t as well-known to kids in the UK as it is to those in the US, but most kids enjoy meeting brightly coloured characters. This year the Beaches Turks & Caicos property is opening its fourth resort on May 22, called the Key West Luxury Village.
2 FOR LUXURY CLIENTS
At the luxury end of the market, Elegant Resorts suggests Half Moon in Jamaica. The vibrant village for children aged three to 12 bases activities around the theme of Anancy, a character from Jamaican fables.
It includes a splash pool, sandpit, arts and crafts and a play area. There is also a kids’ club called Camp Half Moon for four to 15-year-olds in the summer holidays.
The Hype Zone for teens has facilities including a games room and mini spa services. There are nice little touches such as a children’s check-in and guests can order milk and cookies at bedtime. The Half Moon plan includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks, including cocktails and wine.
3 THE AGENTS’ CHOICE
If you saw Travel Weekly’s Hot Hotels supplement last year – and there’s another one out this September – you’ll know how highly agents rate LykiaWorld Oludeniz.
The massive 22,000sq metre Children’s Paradise area has eight swimming pools, 20 slides, inline skating, trampolines, a treasure island, pirate forest, children’s theatre, a special children’s restaurant and 24-hour baby kitchen for preparing bottles.
It’s not always listed as all-inclusive – Thomas Cook describes the plan as ‘full-board plus’ – but visitors will get three meals a day, snacks, drinks with lunch and dinner and loads of activities.
4 AN ASIAN FAVOURITE
All-inclusive is less prevalent in Asia than in other destinations, however, Evason Hua Hin in Thailand offers great value packages.
Emma Mitchell, Hayes & Jarvis product manager for the Far East, says: “It’s in a quiet location about half an hour from Hua Hin and has a range of facilities for children including a kids’ club. Interconnecting rooms are guaranteed, which are ideal for larger families or families with older children who want more space.”
Hua Hin can be reached by road from Bangkok, so families can avoid the cost of an extra flight.
All-inclusive includes three meals, fresh fruit and lollies by the pool at set times, all soft and some alcoholic drinks and some activities.
5 FOR OFF-SEASON SUNSHINE
Cyprus has two fantastic selling points for families: a short flight and winter sun so families can take advantage of relatively off-peak prices.
Olympic Holidays recommends the all-inclusive option at Macronissos Village Club on the outskirts of Ayia Napa, which is exclusive to the operator. The accommodation has a traditional feel, and there are plenty of pools, including a children’s one.
The kids’ club is for children aged four to 12, early meals are available, the beach is a few minutes’ walk away and it’s also near WaterWorld Waterpark for a day out. With a three-star rating, it will suit customers on a budget.
The all-inclusive package includes three buffet meals, snacks, local drinks and ice creams.
6 FOR LARGE FAMILY ROOMS
Iberostar Vell Mari in Ca’n Picafort, Majorca, is one of Thomas Cook’s Family World products, meaning it has loads of features just for families.
These include activities for all ages including toddlers, baby amenities, free 10kg infant luggage allowance, special play areas, children’s menus and Thomas Cook Kids’ Clubs for children aged three to 11.
It’s 800 metres from the beach and 1km from shops and restaurants. The four-star property has family rooms that sleep up to six and offers plenty for adults too, such as sports and a spa.
All-inclusive here means three meals a day, snacks at scheduled times between meals and unlimited drinks, excluding international alcoholic brands.
7 FOR WATER BABIES
If you work in a Tui shop you’re likely to turn to a First Choice brochure for family all-inclusives.
The properties are split into three categories – SplashWorld for water fun, Holiday Villages for kids’ clubs and First Choice Premier for something a bit more sophisticated. According to the operator’s own research, water fun came top of a poll of what families want on holiday, so new to the portfolio for this year is Rosamar Garden Resort, Lloret De Mar, Costa Brava.
As well as the hotel’s own water slides, guests are given unlimited access to nearby Water World Lloret, which boasts Europe’s biggest rafting river, the 260-metre-long X-Treme Mountain and Kamikace slides that are 77 metres high, as well as lots of activities for less-adventurous ones.
There are a range of different plans to choose, from standard to ultra all-inclusive.
8 THE EXOTIC OPTION
Bali is starting to feature more all-inclusive product and prices are certainly comparable to other long-haul destinations.
Travel 2 features the five-star Grand Mirage Resort & Thalasso and it’s perfect for families with teens who will appreciate an exotic location with fun cultural activities. The nearby Devdan Show is a spectacular night out with dance, thrilling acrobatics and special effects.
Travel 2’s Product Manager Oscar Lopera says: “Other excursions include white water rafting and the cultural town of Ubud shouldn’t be missed.”
All-inclusive includes drinks, meals, mini bar and room service.
9 THE TURKISH DELIGHT
Youtravel.com says as well as seeing a year-on-year increase in all-inclusive bookings, it is seeing more customers wanting to book all-inclusive packages that include a bit more in their plan, such as a spa or watersports.
The accommodation-only provider cites the five-star Grand Yazici Mares Hotel in Marmaris. The all-inclusive plan includes extras such as gymnastics, step, sauna and hammam.
It also has a good kids’ club, according to Hannah Wheeler, head of UK sales for Youtravel.com. She says: “We are increasingly seeing the added all-inclusive benefits becoming part of the decision-making process.”
10 THE MID-HAUL HOTEL
Club Med is one of the best-known names in the all-inclusive sector and the four-star Yasmina in Morocco is a good choice for families looking for a mid-haul sunny destination and who don’t want to be in a resort full of other Brits.
The Mini Club Med for children aged four to 11 is included, along with the Club Med Passworld La Réserve for 11 to 18-year-olds. Petit Club Med for two to four-year-olds is extra.
For grown ups there’s a Cinq Mondes Spa, circus skills, golf and tennis academy. All-inclusive means full-board throughout, including wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner, open bar and snacks at specific times.
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