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A Childhood in Holidays

Issue 4 - 2016
Words by Oliver Bennett · Illustration Ben Kirchner

From tots to teens, here’s
when and where to go for
those rite-of-passage trips

 

0 to 2 years

baby’s first beach at Daios Cove, Crete, Greece

It’s perfect for this age because… There are private, heated pools that can be gated – ideal for those tricky first days gaining confidence in the water. Accommodation? Family-friendly suites and villas, all with separate sleeping areas for children. Rooms can be equipped with baby essentials including cots, push chairs, bottle warmers, children’s cutlery and so on. Activities? Try the Scott Dunn Explorers Kids Club, which has professional childcare for babies and children from four months upwards. The ratios of carers to infants is 1:2 so carers really get to know the children and parents have peace of mind. The hotel beach is a sandy cove that gently shelves into the water, great for paddling and building sandcastles. And if parents want to eat out, babysitting can be arranged. The journey There’s a good choice of regional UK flights to Heraklion, Crete, which reduces travel time to airports – a consideration for those with toddlers.

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15 to 18 years

grown-up getaway in California

It’s perfect for this age because…
California offers the ultimate teen holiday, with sun, sea, shopping and celebrity-spotting – as well as extraordinary cities and landscapes. Scott Dunn works with several hotels, where teenage children will be delighted with top-notch Wi-Fi, the better to tweet and Insta their friends at home.
Accommodation?
All sorts, but the Beverly Hills Hotel is a teenage favourite. It’s got velvet furnishings, flat-screen TVs and glamorous marble baths – as well as bungalows with private porches – and a starry feel: recent lobby sightings include teen crushes Miley Cyrus and Ashton Kutcher. It’s as if you’ve been transported into the movies.
Activities?
From Los Angeles, do a tour of Universal Studios, cycle around celebrity-rich Beverly Hills, catch a concert at The Staples Center or surf from Santa Monica Pier. Visit cool towns like Santa Cruz or do the road trip up to San Francisco, cycle over the Golden Gate Bridge, then rock-climb and zip-line in Yosemite National Park and whale-watch off Monterey. Parents might enjoy wine country or the Napa Valley while the favourite teenage add-on is Las Vegas.
The journey
Direct flights into SF, LA, San Diego and even San Jose (via British Airways) make California an easy destination. Then travel in an all-American SUV for a comfortable road trip.

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3 to 6 years

first family trip at Bastide des Virettes

It’s perfect for this age because…
This terrific villa in the south of France has a boules court, lawns and large heated pool with beach-style entry – perfect for younger children. Think paddling and swimming races, all in safety, and it’s close to the sea and lovely small towns.
Accommodation?
The Bastide’s rooms have antiques and artwork from the region. With a comfortable open-plan living and dining room and children’s TV and playroom, upstairs there are four bedrooms including a master bedroom with French doors and views across to the Mediterranean. A well-equipped children’s playroom has toys, games and equipment for indoor and outdoor play. The house is staffed with a Scott Dunn chef, host and nanny: especially good for fussy eaters and dietary requirements. Parents can eat with their children or dine separately.
Activities?
As well as the joys of the house itself, there’s masses to do nearby including the Gorges du Verdon. The Mediterranean is close and the small towns of Tourrettes-sur-Loup, Vence and the perfume centre of Grasse are delightful.
The journey
Easy. Some drive from the UK, exploring France – including Disneyland Paris – en route. Or fly directly to Nice, from where it’s a 30- to 40-minute transfer to the Bastide.

7 to 10 years

Seeing the Big Five on a safe safari

It’s perfect for this age because…
Kwandwe Private Game Reserve in South Africa is a “Big Five” game area on a private concession, making for an exclusive safari experience that’s also non-malarial – so no pills needed. And there’s a minimal time difference, so no jetlag.
Accommodation?
Big suites have wraparound wooden decks and private plunge pools and are large enough to house two extra beds for children. Or go to the Kwandwe Uplands Homestead or Kwandwe Melton Manor, exclusive-use properties that are perfect for larger families.
Activities?
The game reserve is a great entry-level safari, and children can see the Big Five – lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard, rhinoceros – as well as take part in guided walks, fishing, canoeing, bush picnics and rhino tracking. At Ecca Lodge on the Kwandwe Reserve, there’s a children’s day centre with activities including
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11 to 14 years

teen adventure on the Croatian coast at the Sun Gardens resort

It’s perfect for this age because…
This coastline, near Dubrovnik in Croatia, ticks all the boxes: great swimming, historic towns, clear blue sea – and while completely safe, a little more adventurous than the traditional Med destinations.
Accommodation?
Two-bedroom residence-like apartments with open-plan kitchens and sitting areas – perfect for families with early teens as they offer more space than the traditional interconnecting room combination – and the kitchenette appeals to these children (after all, they’re permanently hungry and thirsty). There’s also free Wi-Fi throughout for those iPad moments…
Activities?
Sun Gardens has a great selection of things to do. The CREW activity programme makes the most of land and water: perfect for kids of 11 and up seeking more independence alongside structured activities, with paddle-boarding, scuba-diving tasters, 70ft ziplines, snorkelling safaris, football, basketball and more… a great opportunity to have fun and meet new friends. Parents, meanwhile, can laze or discover the delights of historic Dubrovnik.
The journey
There’s a great choice of direct flights from the UK and a short transfer to the resort of about 25 minutes.

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