A coffee plantation ringed by eight volcanoes may not be the first place that springs to mind when planning a family getaway, but MesaStila offers the perfect blend of parental pampering and child-friendly distractions. The hotel’s rustic mountain setting near Yogyakarta, in the cultural heart of Java, is inspiring, with 22 antique-filled villas set among 25 hectares of lovingly tended gardens, a restored railway station doubling as the reception, and authentic Dutch colonial buildings. This wellness retreat is home to an award-winning spa, which boasts one of Indonesia’s only Turkish hammam baths, so you can steam and soak your city stresses away.
Need to know
Rooms The 22 villas blend original woodwork and Javanese antiques with modern touches and a host of ‘wellness’ extras (we love the yoga mats and the home-made snacks and fruit drinks provided in each room).
Facilities Spa with Turkish hammam, beauty salon, gym, yoga pavilion, entertainment stage, library, DVD/CD selection, WiFi throughout (US$5 an hour). In rooms: TV, DVD player, minibar. Plus, rates include return airport transfers; a wellness appraisal; breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks; a daily massage and use of the hammam.
In the know
Larger families should head for the Bella Vista Villa (there’s a choice of either three or five bedrooms), which has oodles of living space, a private pool and a personal butler. If there’s four of you, go for a two-bedroom Ambar Villa. For a smaller brood, opt for a one-bedroom villa – up to one child under-12 can stay for free; extra beds for older kids are US$50 a night.
MesaStila’s Kids’ Club is packed with distractions, including dance, gamelan and Indonesian language lessons, kite flying, painting and coffee planting. There’s also a tennis court, croquet lawn and giant chess and backgammon tables for playing outdoors. No trip to Yogyakarta is complete without taking in a puppet show – small Smiths will love the wayang kulit (shadow theatre) performed at night on the second Saturday of every month at Sasana Hinggil in Alun-alun Selata. The colourful carved puppets make a gorgeous keepsake.
The emerald-sheened octagonal infinity pool beside the restaurant is fed with fresh spring water and overlooks the surrounding mountains and forests. The pool connects to a shallower area that’s suitable for petite paddlers.
Youngsters are welcome in the two restaurants, Java Red and the more casual Java Green, where you’ll find high chairs, a children’s menu and staff happy to heat milk and prepare packed lunches. Parents will love the healthy food focus here.
No need to pack
Highchairs and baby cots.
Smith members get a 20 per cent discount on a spa treatment, so ship the children off to the Kids’ Club – it costs US$6 an hour and requires a day’s notice – while you indulge in an energising Javanese massage. You’ll also score a bag of Losari coffee on departure.
To book a child-friendly Smith stay visit www.mrandmrssmith.com or call the expert Travel Team on 800 905 326. What’s more, if you sign up as a Smith member, you can enjoy exclusive offers at more than 850 hand-picked hotels around the world.