Is there anything more relaxing than immersing yourself in the ocean, lying by the pool or getting a little bit of sand on your skin? The problem is that kids can find drifting off for a nap in the sunshine or leisurely strolling on the beach just a tad boring. So boutique travel experts Mr & Mrs Smith have found three beach breaks where you can chill out and the kids can run themselves ragged. Don’t forget to pack the sunscreen.
Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort, Fiji Islands, Fiji
Style The Life Aquatic
Setting Seaside coconut plantation
Shoreside eco-retreat Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort, on Fiji’s second largest island Vanua Levu, is all about underwater exploration. The diving here is run by the son of scuba pioneer Jacques Cousteau and there’s a marine biologist on hand should you want to play ‘what fish is that?’ There’s a whole range of organized activities for the kids to enjoy while Mum and Dad take advantage of the adults-only dining and seductive spa.
Sleeping All the bures are family-friendly but to give everyone a bit of space the Two-bedroom Oceanfront Bures or Oceanfront Suite Bures sleep two adults and two or three children respectively. In the smaller rooms, extra beds are free for the first two children under 13; for a third or more, a bed costs AU$166 a night including tax.
Activities Every day at the free Bula Club there’s a fully supervised programme of activities for littlies aged 12 or under, with kids aged six or over assigned a Fijian buddy to look after them (with a ratio of five kids to one adult). They go off snorkelling, discover tidal flats, enjoy Fijian arts and crafts, as well as a whole range of other fun and educational experiences. There’s also tennis, kayaking, sailing, volleyball on the beach and a Family Pool with waterslide, so they’ll never be bored! Free babysitting for infants is available from 8am to 9pm, and then just FJ$5 an hour for later stints.
Feasting Healthy meals are served at the Bula Club (parents are welcome to join their kids there), and the main restaurant has a menu with plenty of Fijian and international dishes – even the pickiest eaters will be satisfied. Want to do something special for the whole family? Ask the staff to pack a beach picnic.
Sassy savings Get two nights free and a range of extras, including three days of two-tank dives or three one-hour massages for each bure, when you book the seven-night Rejuvenation and Dive package.
Anantara Si Kao Resort & Spa, Krabi, Thailand
Style Indochine-chic retreat
Setting Chilled Kamala Beach
Enveloped by nature 90 minutes’ drive south of Krabi, Anantara Si Kao Resort & Spa has the perfect blend of buzzy beach club, soothing spa, local adventure and rustic elegance to please families of any age. Send the kids off to the Dugong Club while you laze by the pool or organise an adventure that you can all take part in: snorkelling from the private beach on Koh Kradan or sea kayaking around the extraordinarily beautiful Hat Chao Mai National Park.
Sleeping You’ll appreciate the two rooms connected by a spacious deck and they’ll just love the private pool with its dugong fountain in the Family Pool Terrace. These rooms also have a DVD player and iPod connectivity. If you intend spending most of your time outdoors enjoying the resort facilities, the Deluxe Family and Deluxe Family Sea View rooms have a king-size bed with bunk beds (and a trundle bed) in a cosy arrangement.
Activities Your brood will never tire of being here. The Dugong Club is open from 7am to 7pm for games and arts and crafts. The staff organise daily activities, from elephant rides to kayaking on the gentle ocean. The kids’ pool has inflatable rings and a lifeguard on hand. There’s even a pamper pack for each young visitor on arrival with colouring books, pencils and more to keep them occupied in the evening.
Feasting All the restaurants are child-friendly, with kids’ menus and high chairs available. You’ll probably find everyone is most happy at the relaxed, open-air Leelawadee, where an enormous buffet breakfast, light lunches and evening meals consisting of southern Thai dishes are served.
Sassy savings Book through Smith to score a THB500 voucher for food and drink (excluding alcohol) and a THB500 voucher for a massage treatment at Anantara Spa.
Karma Kandara, Bali, Indonesia
Style Supersized villas
Setting Dramatic cliffhanger
Take relaxation to a higher plane at Karma Kandara resort in southern Bali. Perched above the azure Indian Ocean, on the Bukit Peninsula, this brace of vast villas, each with a private plunge pool, is hidden behind white-washed walls among tropical gardens. Cheeky monkeys make themselves at home by the top-of-the-cliff infinity pool, but your cheeky monkeys will no doubt become obsessed by the inclinator that drops slowly from the resort to the beach.
Sleeping Each of the villas has two to four bedrooms, and those with three or more actually have twin beds. Cots are free, but extra beds for bigger kids cost US$75. Some of the larger villas are split into several buildings, so if you all want to be under the one roof at night, opt for three-bedroom villas 1, 3, 5 and 7, or four-bedroom villa 2.
Activities The Karma Kids Club offers all-day fun, from treasure hunts and dressing up to activities on the beach and Balinese dancing. There’s also a play room stocked with movies, toys and games. The lower level of the main pool is shallow enough for splashing and a lifeguard keeps an eye on proceedings from 9am to 5pm. Smaller kids will probably be happy building castles in the sand on the beach and paddling at the water’s edge, while you read and soak up the sunshine. Hire a driver for the day and explore some of the nearby beaches (try intimate Padang Padang), before doing a sunset stop at clifftop temple Pura Luhur Uluwatu for the daily kecak (monkey) dance.
Feasting Karma Kandara’s restaurant, di Mare, is an open-air affair, serving Mediterranean-influenced cuisine. There’s also a children’s menu that has offerings such as Incredible Hulk grilled cheese sandwiches and Little Buddha’s nasi goreng. Nammos Beach Club serves great wood-fired pizzas that most kids seem to love (and you won’t mind sharing). The villas also have full kitchens if you want to do some stocking up so that you can make them snacks and light meals yourself.
Sassy savings Escape to Karma Kandara for a minimum of four nights and take advantage of the Karma Come Together offer, with a 25 per cent discount on the best rate available plus breakfast, free WiFi throughout the resort and free access to the Karma Kids Club.
To book a child-friendly Smith stay visit www.mrandmrssmith.com or call the expert Travel Team on 800 905 326. What’s more, BlackSmith membership is now free for life, so book through Smith to receive life-enhancing extras and exclusive offers at more than 900 hotels and holiday houses around the world.