Laura French asks three operators where to send families for an active summer holiday.
1 The scenario
A family is looking for a luxury, five-star summer holiday with plenty of sports and activities on hand, as well as space for parents in search of some downtime. They want a large resort with flexibility on where to eat, good childcare facilities, kids’ clubs and quality accommodation.
Lauren Ross, product and commercial manager for Europe, Simply Luxury by Travel 2.
For active families, suggest Sani Resort in Halkidiki. It’s set right on the beachfront and around a marina, and there are so many activities on offer – from water sports to beach volleyball and yoga – as well as full-on academies including the Rafa Nadal Tennis Centre, Chelsea FC Foundation football academy (for four to 16-year-olds), a scuba diving academy and a biking academy with the KTM Bike Club. This year they’ve also introduced an adventure park with ziplines, suitable for children aged six and up.
Accommodation-wise there’s something to suit families of all sizes and ages, with one and two-bedroom suites. It also has a babysitting service, a creche for children aged four months to four years, a kids’ club for four to 12-year-olds, and a teenage club for 13 to 17-year-olds.
It’s easy to reach, with a flight time of about three and a half hours from London to Thessaloniki (and a transfer of around 45 minutes from there) and guests staying half-board can choose from 22 restaurants across the resort without extra charge as part of its dine-around programme.
Families wanting to venture outside the resort will find lots to do too, from boat trips to wine tasting tours and hiking trails to farm visits, plus an abundance of culture and history in Thessaloniki.
Book it: Simply Luxury by Travel 2 offers seven nights’ half-board at Sani Beach in a Junior Garden View Suite from £599 per person, including private transfers, UK lounge passes and flights from London on October 2.
2 The scenario
The parents want to go long-haul with their children but don’t want the hassle of a connecting flight. They’re after an all-inclusive stay with a full-on, action-packed itinerary, but they also want the option of getting out and exploring the local area and culture.
Claire Brunel, trade marketing project manager for Club Med.
For families wanting to go long-haul I’d recommend Mexico, where Club Med has its Cancun Yucatán property.
There’s plenty to do in and around Cancun itself, not least snorkelling in the world’s second-largest coral reef, wakeboarding through the mangroves at Nichupté Lagoon, and visiting ancient Mayan ruins such as Chichen Itza, one of the wonders of the world.
There are direct flights to Cancun from London, which makes it fairly hassle-free for those travelling with kids in tow, and it’s also not too hot, with temperatures here averaging 28C in summer.
The resort is situated on three beaches and recently opened Aguamarina, a new family area featuring children’s day beds by the infinity pool, water fountains and a kids’ counter at the bar. It also added 60 new family rooms with separate bedrooms and bathrooms for children. There are kids’ clubs and childcare programmes for everyone from two to 17, alongside a range of activities including windsurfing, waterskiing and sailing.
In terms of selling tips, it’s worth highlighting the range of activities available, as well as the value you get with an all-inclusive offering. Guests can relax in the knowledge that all meals and a range of activities are taken care of, then see what takes their fancy on any given day.
Book it: A week’s all-inclusive costs from £1,747 per adult and £1,123 per child, including flights and based on an August 24 departure from Manchester.
3 The scenario
A family with young kids is looking for a good-value, active break in Europe with water slides, rides and other entertainment on site, plus baby and toddler provisions. They want to be close to the action with family-friendly beaches, shallow waters and restaurants within easy reach, plus special offers available to help them bag a bargain.
Craig Davidson, general manager of trade sales, Jet2holidays
If you’ve got clients with younger kids, The Land of Legends Kingdom Hotel is an excellent option. It’s a brand new five-star resort set in a picturesque location in Belek, Turkey, and it boasts an abundance of attractions.
These include a 41-slide water park, complete with a water ride, lazy river, family rafts and dolphins, as well as an on-site theme park offering rollercoasters and rides for all ages.
The rooms were designed specifically with families in mind and come equipped with 3D TVs, PlayStations and cartoon wall art – offering plenty to keep little ones entertained out of the sunshine – and the resort also features the unique 111 Restaurant, equipped with its very own aquarium where you can watch sharks swim past as you dine.
For those wishing to venture out of the hotel, there are shops, bars and restaurants nearby, and it’s only about four miles from the centre of Belek, where you’ll find incredible value for money.
Belek Beach is also just a short bus ride away, with gold-sand shores providing the perfect spot for little ones wanting to swim in blue, crystal-clear waters.
My number one piece of advice for agents would be to highlight deals when selling to families. Jet2holidays has thousands of free child places with pushchair carriage included, plus single parent offers, family-friendly flight times and a kids-go-free offer for under-twos.
Book it: Jet2holidays offers a week’s B&B at The Land of Legends Kingdom Hotel from £759 per person, based on four sharing and flying from Stansted on September 17.