All Kids’ Clubs are not created equal. From pirate ships to pony rides, here are the best of the best for an amazing family holiday
Stuck at home this summer, mama? If you’ve got a bit of wanderlust and are itching to start planning your next family holiday, we’ve rounded up the creme de la creme of hotel kids’ clubs across Southeast Asia (and beyond). We’re not talking just some board games or arts and crafts; these are spots that go the extra mile with activities like pony rides and flying trapeze, facilities like outdoor pirate ships and rock climbing walls, with a fair few waterslides thrown in for good measure. We’ve focused on nearby hotspots like Bali and Phuket, along with some particularly amazing resorts that are worth the extra distance. Bon voyage to you and your lucky kiddos!
Waterslide. Need we say more? This gorgeous 5-star resort in Borneo features a FAB kids’ pool, while ALL families get complimentary access to the Kids’ Club (for ages 5 and up). The resort offers all sorts of fun daily activities for kiddos, including messy play, sand castle building, movie time, treasure hunts, tribal dancing, pony rides, and MUCH more. On top of all that, the resort abuts a 64-acre nature reserve with scenic walking trails, a canopy walkway, a waterfall garden area and – best of all for kids – an adventure playground and climbing wall for children! Finally, Shangri-La Rasa Ria is making every effort to go green by eliminating plastic straws and even introducing its own reusable water bottles, so you can feel good about your stay, mama!
Shangri-La Rasa Ria Resort & Spa Kota Kinabalu, Pantai Dalit Beach, Tuaran, Sabah, 89208, Malaysia, Tel: (+60) 88 797 888, www.shangri-la.com/kotakinabalu/rasariaresort
WOWZA! At this absolutely stunning desert island hideaway of spacious luxury villas, kiddos can rock out to their hearts’ content at The Den, one of the largest kids’ clubs in the world at 1,300 square metres. Designed for children 4 and up and totally free for all guests, the Den features TWO swimming pools (one for toddlers and one for older kids, with a waterslide, natch), an outdoor pirate ship, a cinema room, a LEGO room, a music room, a dress-up room, a library, and so much more. One thing The Den doesn’t have: Wi-Fi, because nowadays even kiddos need to take a digital detox on vacay! On top of all that, Soneva Fushi offers all sorts of amazing family activities, including outdoor movie screenings, sunset dolphin cruises, ice cream tastings, and stargazing at the resort’s own observatory (IKR?). Are you as ready to book as we are? Why not splurge for the 9BR Private Reserve, which includes a special children’s bedroom and a massive private pool with its own waterslide?!
Club Med is synonymous with rad family holidays, and their gorgeous resort in Nusa Dua is no exception, with everything from a beautiful white sand beach to heaps of complimentary water sports, along with their famous Flying Trapeze School. Club Med Bali offers four separate kids’ clubs, including the complimentary Mini Club Med for kids ages 4-10 and Junior Club Med for 11-to-17-year-olds. For an additional cost there’s also Baby Club Med (4 to 23 months) and Petit Club Med (ages 2 to 3). Throw in all-inclusive food and beverage, and that’s just about as fuss-free as it gets!
This beautiful beachfront resort in Nusa Dua is a hit with kiddos thanks to its four different swimming pools – including a Kids’ Pool and a Lazy River – and a spacious kids’ club that features a soft play area with ball pit, video games, toys, and heaps of fun daily activities.
We were lucky enough to visit this gorgeous Ubud resort with our then-toddler shortly after it opened in 2015, and it’s only gotten better since then! The “Mini Explorers” program for kids 5 and up is like an immersive eco day camp, where kiddos can learn all about Balinese culture, food, healing traditions, and environmental sustainability. Who wouldn’t want to start their day with a “Jungle Gym hike”?! And munchkins of all ages will love the open-air kids’ club, which has its own chickens and bunny rabbits, along with all sorts of art activities.
If you’re after a quick no-flights beach getaway, this fam-friendly brand on Bintan is just the ticket! While mama and papa kick back by the pool or nip off for a massage, kids of all ages will love the Ranger Kids’ Club, which offers complimentary activities like nature walks, sea turtle feeding, painting, sand castle building and more. You can also spring for additional chargeable activities like “Pirates of Bintan” or cookie decorating. Upping the fam-friendly bona fides: kids under 12 dine free, and you get an extra bed or baby cot for free when you book the “Live for Family” package.
If you simply want a change of scenery, make a quick escape to Batam and this all-suites resort, which is perfect for families. You’ll find four swimming pools (one indoor and three outdoor, including one with a waterslide); a kids’ club with lots of fun daily activities; a nice playground for children of all ages, and even paintball for the older ones (or adventurous parents who aren’t afraid of bruising!).
This back-to-nature kids’ club (generally recommended for children 4 and up) is all about encouraging kiddos to jump, swing, climb, and explore! Resort staff will organise everything from pirate treasure hunts to craft workshops, fishing expeditions and jetty jumping! On a recent trip our kiddos learned how to carve their own bows and arrows (!) and ride ponies, and were delighted to cap every night off with marshmallows ‘round the bonfire. Sounds heavenly!
One of our all-time favourite getaways was to this amazing resort in the middle of UNESCO World Heritage jungle; following a massive 12-month renovation, we can’t wait to see what sorts of cool goodies they’ve added to go along with the world class beach and dedicated children’s pool. We suspect The Datai will be a huge hit with budding naturalists thanks to its brand new Nature Centre, which is adjacent to nature trails, a canopy walk, a butterfly garden and more.
Given Langkawi’s status as a UNESCO World Heritage site, it’s little wonder that this family-friendly resort offers lots of nature-oriented activities for kids. At the Kids’ Club (geared towards children ages 4 to 12), littlies can learn about the local flora and fauna via nature walks and birdwatching, and partake in daily themed activities like “Sun and Sand Sundays” or batik painting. Of course you’ve also got your requisite video games, a kids’ pool and kids’ menus in each of the resort’s many restaurants. We also give a thumbs up to their library of board games, which are always great for family bonding!
If your kiddos love the beach, look no further than this stunning gem of a private island in the Sulu Sea. Kid-friendly highlights include a daily cruise for fish feeding, snorkelling and turtle viewing, along with fun activities ranging from shell collecting to pizza making. The fab kids’ club, meanwhile, has its own playground, and is stocked with art supplies, books, toys, games and, most important of all, a fantastic staff.
Kiddos looking to escape the heat will adore the resort’s “Adventure Zone” indoor playground that includes a super cool drop slide and ball pit, along with all manner of video games, ping pong, karaoke rooms and even billiards. Of course you’ll also find multiple swimming pools, an eco centre, and heaps of daily activities just for kids.
A recent staycation checking out this hotel’s fab new Family Suites convinced us this has gotta be one of the most family-friendly city hotels on Earth. Our 4-year-old is still talking about the awesome rocket ship bunk bed in our room, and we’re still fondly recalling the stocked family pantry filled with everything from diapers to strollers! And then of course you’ve got free access to Buds, the amazeballs indoor/outdoor playground that includes a pirate ship, splash pad, music space, art studio and more. Top it all off with yummy brunch at The Line and you’re sorted for family fun, mama.
It’s no wonder this is regarded as one of the most family-friendly hotels in Asia, what with its massive Kids Suites and Family Suites (wisely located close by to the multiple Family Wing Pools replete with four waterslides!); its dedicated kids’ buffet restaurant; and its massive kids’ club (the largest in the area!), where you’ll find everything from an indoor play area, to a hangout for teens, to rotating daily activities and family movie nights. All kids stay and eat free, and kids 5 and up can hang out at the kids’ club on their own (littlies 4 and under are welcome, but must be accompanied by a parent or caretaker). Don’t forget your socks!
Giving its sister resort in Krabi a run for its money, this beautiful new hotel in lovely Hua Hin is Asia’s first integrated water park resort. The beautiful and spacious kids’ club features different zones geared toward various age groups (so teens can do their thang apart from pesky younger siblings in the ball pit, say…), not to mention the adjacent Vana Nava water jungle, which features 19 different rides and slides!
We’re so impressed by the Le Meridien Family initiative, which is all about sparking kids’ imaginations and encourages them to explore their destination at hand. Outside Bangkok that means you’ll find an AMAZING indoor/outdoor kids’ club where kiddos can get creative through hands-on play, cooking, and even excursions to the nearby KidZania. We hear equally great things about the sister resort in Phuket, which has its own ball pit!
Priding itself on its family-friendliness, this luxe spot features the rad “Kids for All Seasons” program for children aged 4 to 12, including a beautiful beachfront kids’ club and super cool daily activities like Thai cooking classes, fishing excursions, and even kids Muay Thai classes! Of course little ones will also be pampered with child-sized slippers and robes, along with beach toys and inflatables. They’ll even give you pool fencing for safety if you’re staying in a pool villa!
The Rosewood Explorers program is notable not only because it’s free for children from the age of 3 (instead of the usual 4), but also for its thoughtful themed experiences, including Eco-awareness (they’ve got their own children’s garden!), Great Outdoors (kid-sized pool loungers and cabanas!), and Indoor Fun (look out for an incredible indoor rope maze!). The resort also offers personalised nutrition for toddlers (parents can actually jump in the kitchen to provide chef with instructions for food preparation) and certified Napping Nannies!
Having just recently visited this beautiful resort, we can vouch for their kids’ bonafides, which include a huge kids’ club with a trampoline, children’s bikes, table tennis, and video games. They’ve also got a dedicated children’s pool, and offer heaps of kid-friendly activities, including Thai cooking classes for kids from the age of 3!
With a theme based on Phuket’s mining past, the kids’ club is imaginatively called The Tin Box, and young guests are referred to as “Little Miners”. With drop off available for kiddos 4 and up, the beautiful space offers a bevy of creative fun, including origami, mask making, and all manner of toys and games. Kiddos can also partake in Muay Thai kickboxing along with “petit sommelier” and cooking classes.
We’ve long heard raves about the family-friendliness of this beachfront resort, which offers two distinct (and complimentary!) “Planet Trekkers” kids’ clubs (for 4-to-7-year-olds and for 8-to-12-year-olds). Children can explore with a mini “jungle adventure”, learn traditional Vietnamese songs and games, fly kites on the beach, chill out with some yoga, or get hands on with arts and crafts. It’s all about immersing themselves in the destination!
Lead image courtesy of Rosewood Phuket