Let kids take centre stage at a hotel that puts families first, says Katie McGonagle
Ask any parent their holiday priorities and sunshine, a short-haul flight and safe resort are likely to top the list.
Turn the question to the kids, though, and it’s all about the number of water slides and flavours of ice cream.
There’s no need to panic about pleasing everyone; North Africa and the ever-popular Red Sea are home to family-friendly resorts that will tick the boxes for grown-ups and little ones. Travel Weekly asked operators to name a few of their favourites.
1 Sofitel Essaouira Mogador Golf & Spa, Morocco
Kids’ corner: Four to 12-year-olds can practise their football, cooking and arts and crafts in the Kids’ Villa, while teens hang out in high-tech QG Lounge. One of two outdoor pools has a children’s section, plus the nearby beach offers windsurfing and camel rides along the sand.
Parental guidance: Choose from 28 two-bedroom villas or interconnecting rooms, plus extras such as complimentary inflatable booster seats for children. Once little ones are settled at the kids’ club, parents can tee off at the 18-hole golf course or have a massage at the Clarins spa and hammam.
Book it: Classic Collection Holidays offers seven nights’ B&B from £1,113 per adult and £621 per child during February half-term, including flights from Gatwick to Marrakech and private transfers.
0800 008 7288
2 Club Med Djerba la Douce, Tunisia
Kids’ corner: Become a budding Ben Ainslie or mini Andy Murray with the array of activities in this all-inclusive resort. Group sailing and tennis lessons are included, along with archery, beach volleyball and kayaking.
Parental guidance: New parents need a break more than any other, which is why Baby Club Med takes tots from just four months. Other age groups are catered for with Petit Club (two to three), Mini Club (four to 10) and Juniors’ Club (11 to 17), meaning parents can enjoy a cocktail without worrying about keeping the kids entertained.
Book it: Seven nights departing May 21 start from £1,075 per adult and £775 per child, with under-sixes staying free, including flights from Gatwick.
0845 322 4115
3 Sunwing Waterworld Makadi Hotel, hurghada, Egypt
Kids’ corner: Expect fun-loving little ones to be neither seen nor heard here, they’ll be too busy trying every attraction at the water park. With five water slides, flow rider, wave pool, rain fortress with slides and a lazy river, there’s little chance of getting bored.
Parental guidance: Red Sea Holidays offers fixed child prices for any date and duration, with rooms sleeping up to six, plus free water park access and late checkout. All children’s pools are supervised, plus there are indoor activities at the Maxi Kids’ Club and themed kids’ buffets to make meal times easier.
Book it: Red Sea Holidays offers a week all-inclusive in the summer holidays from £735 per adult and £439 per child, including flights from Gatwick or Manchester and transfers.
0845 072 2477
4 Holiday Village Manar, Hammamet, Tunisia
Kids’ corner: Take to the stage, spin the decks or become a clown for the day with expert-run activities including football, swimming and stage academies, circus workshops, DJ lessons, plus outdoor raft-building and archery, not to mention the water slides and splash pools at the aqua park.
Parental guidance: Themed family rooms sleep up to four and feature TVs, PlayStations and a separate bedroom without a door, plus free Wi-Fi. All kids’ club staff hold UK qualifications, first-aid training and are CRB checked.
Book it: Seven nights’ all-inclusive starts from £671 with First Choice, based on a family of four sharing a themed family room, with flights from Stansted on August 27 and transfers.
0871 200 7799
5 Aqua Blu Sharm, Egypt
Kids’ corner: Back-to-school chat doesn’t get cooler than saying they’ve conquered a kamikaze slide or hurtled into a black hole, but that’s exactly what kids can boast about here. The on-site water park features 44 slides, including 12 for tots and 12 daring slides for teens. Land-based activities include tennis, basketball and mini golf.
Parental guidance: Family rooms sleep two adults and up to three children. There’s also a complimentary shuttle bus to the beach at a sister property, plus shops, cafes and an entertainment complex just outside the hotel.
Book it: Olympic Holidays has added this property for 2014, with a week all-inclusive from £3,264 for four in August, including flights from Gatwick and transfers.
0844 499 4449
6 Four Seasons Marrakech, Morocco
Kids’ corner: From the super cute mini bathrobes and welcome gift for kids, to free daily kids’ activities, Wii and Xbox, and a chance to pick up some popcorn and catch a movie, this city resort has plenty to keep little ones occupied.
Parental guidance: Not every parent wants to lounge by a pool while their kids speed down water slides. Add a dash of culture to a family break with a visit to Marrakech’s famed medina, a bite to eat in bustling Djemaa el Fna square, or an excursion to the Atlas Mountains.
Book it: Sovereign Luxury Travel offers a week’s B&B in a superior room from £2,765 for a family of three. This includes two free nights, BA flights from Gatwick, airport lounge access and private transfers, departing July 29.
0843 770 4526
7 Three Corners Rihana Resort, El Gouna, Egypt
Kids’ corner: Despite sounding like it’s named after a popstar, kids are more likely to be found playing sports, getting their faces painted or making fancy dress costumes here. The kids’ clubs are split into two age groups: four to eight and nine to 12.
Parental guidance: Adults can indulge their hobbies too, with two dive centres and a golf course (chargeable), plus three marinas, 100 bars and restaurants, and a wealth of shops to browse in self-contained resort town El Gouna.
Book it: A seven-night all-inclusive stay starts at £585 with Thomas Cook, including flights from East Midlands to Hurghada on February 11.
0844 879 8442
8 Sofitel Agadir Royal Bay Resort, Morocco
Kids’ corner: When kids get bored of building sandcastles on the hotel’s private beach, they can try daily activities (split into four to sixes and seven to 12-year-olds) or play in the indoor and outdoor playgrounds, topped off by a meal at the dedicated children’s buffet.
Parental guidance: Show a stressed-out parent the hammocks dotted around the gardens, and you’ll close the sale straightaway, especially if you follow up with the private beach, outdoor heated pool and spa. Once they’ve chilled out, there is tennis, volleyball and quad biking, plus a golf course and watersports nearby.
Book it: Anatolian Sky Holidays offers a week’s B&B from £939 for adults and £375 for children at Easter, including flights and transfers.
0844 273 3585
9 Coral Sea Aqua Club, Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt
Kids’ corner: Splash in the wave pool, lazy river and slides or stay dry with daily activities, soft play area and playground. Tiny tots enjoy storytelling and dressing up, while pre-teens get to choose what they want to do.
Parental guidance: Mums and dads can get involved in the parent and baby room, crèche, and toddler time sessions, then enjoy time to themselves as UK-accredited and CRB-checked staff run three evening sessions a week. Family rooms sleep up to six or swim-up rooms accommodate four. Free Wi-Fi will be available from May.
Book it: Thomson offers seven nights’ all-inclusive from £722 based on four sharing, with flights from Birmingham on February 16.
0871 230 2555
10 El Mouradi Palace, Port El Kantaoui, Tunisia
Kids’ corner: Whether they prefer to pick up a tennis racket or a slice of pizza, this Tunisian resort will keep kids content. There’s a children’s pool, playground, clubs for five to 12-year-olds, plus day and evening entertainment.
Parental guidance: Once little ones are happily ensconced in the kids’ club or with in-house babysitters, parents can escape to the spa or gym, relax by the adults’ pool, or on the private beach.
Book it: Just Sunshine offers seven nights from £2,547, or 14 nights from £3,517, both all-inclusive with flights from Gatwick to Enfidha on August 9, for two adults and two under-11s sharing a junior suite with sea view.
justsunshine.com0844 756 0056
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