In each issue of Days Like This, three Scott Dunn experts will craft three very different tailor-made solutions to a real travel brief

The Challenge

“To celebrate my mother’s 70th birthday next year my parents have offered to treat us all to a really memorable holiday – something we can all take together while they are still young and active enough to enjoy it. We need a trip that will please everyone, from my still very sprightly parents to our youngest son of eight. We also have two teenagers, aged 13 and 15. We all like a bit of adventure, enjoy swimming and love nature and the outdoors. We also want great food and drink and some proper relaxation along the way. Can you help us choose?”

1. Mauritius
The Mauritius ocean getaway

The four-bedroom villas each have their own pool and kitchen, so you can really feel at home if you want proper family time

Mauritius is an easy place to get to for somewhere so exotically beautiful. British Airways flies there directly from Gatwick – it takes 12 hours. Once you’ve landed, your private driver will pick you up and take you to Anahita the Resort on the east coast of the island. It has enough activities to keep everyone in the family happy: two golf courses and a spa for those taking it easy, a protected lagoon for watersports, with an exclusive serviced beach just a speedboat ride away, plus an adventure park and great snorkelling. The resort also has a kids’ club and a teens’ club.

Guests stay in private four-bedroom villas with their own pool, garden and kitchen, so you can really feel at home if you want to enjoy proper family time. A chef can prepare meals in the villa, or you can head out to one of Anahita’s stylish bars and restaurants.

Then perhaps your parents might want to make the kind of suggestion that’s music to your ears, and offer to give you both some quality time – while they look after the kids? That way you could head off for two nights at the tiny Lakaz Chamarel lodge in the mountains, where it’s all about gentle walks in the peace and quiet. It really is a completely different take on Mauritius, away from the busy resorts in a protected natural heritage site. Meanwhile the Scott Dunn Our Space team, who oversee the wonderful children’s club, will make sure the younger generation are content back at Anahita.

And then when you’re reunited, the whole family will love a day trip to Casela Nature & Leisure Park, which is home to 1,500 birds, big cats, giant tortoises, zebras and other exotic animals. The park also has quadbiking, Segways and zip-lining, including the longest zip-line in the Indian Ocean. Then head home – doubtless with some great stories to share.

2. France
Riding, gliding and wine-tasting in France

Explore the Camargue on horseback, relax in the privacy of an elegant hillside villa and enjoy wine, food and family adventures 

The wonderful thing about the south of France for a big party is that you’ve got different options for getting there. You and your kids could fly directly to Marseille. But if your parents wanted, they could take the scenic route – because driving across France can be great fun, and not too arduous if you stop off along the way. Gevrey-Chambertin in Burgundy is a gorgeous spot in which to break the journey south, with world-class wine tasting and absolutely idyllic countryside. We’d recommend two nights at Les Deux Chèvres. It is the perfect French country hotel, with lovely old antique-filled interiors, stunning food and excellent service.

We’d suggest the family then rendezvous in the Camargue – which is beautiful and wild, but just an hour or so’s drive from Marseille Airport. Le Mas de Peint is the perfect base from which to explore the national park, on horseback if you like, getting close to the famous wild white horses of the Camargue or even going riding with the gardians, the local cowboys. Two nights’ stay will give you plenty of time to take a family bike ride to one of the nearby beaches, or visit Nîmes, which has amazing Roman ruins and some celebrated restaurants. There’s also great bird-watching for those so inclined: the Camargue is famous for its flamingoes.

From there, it is a very pleasant few hours’ drive through Provence to the Côte d’Azur. Just on the edge of the medieval village of Tourrettes- sur-Loup is Bastide des Virettes – a four-bedroom villa with plenty nearby for everyone to do, a gorgeous pool with a view of the valley, and your own Scott Dunn nanny, chef and host to ensure you have all you need.

You can taste local wines at the rustic, vaulted caves in the village, and for a celebratory family dinner there’s legendary restaurant the Colombe d’Or in St-Paul-de-Vence. For a bit of an adventure you can take a boat trip out from Antibes, which is about 40 minutes away, or even a helicopter along the coast to Monaco. And you’re only an hour or so from the Gorges de Verdon, which has great family-friendly stuff to do like swimming, rock climbing and gliding. And then you’re really handy for Nice Airport for those heading straight home.

3. South Africa
Gardens and game in South Africa

A day trip to the penguin colony at boulders beach would be unforgettable for everyone – you can even swim close to them

South Africa is a really wonderful family destination – no jet lag, so much to see and do, and some of the world’s best food and drink. After an easy 11-hour 30-minute British Airways flight, I suggest you begin your trip with a stay at the Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel in lush gardens at the foot of Table Mountain yet right in the heart of Cape Town. A day trip to the penguin colony at Boulders Beach would be unforgettable for everyone – it’s one of the few places in the world where you can get up really close to a colony of penguins and even swim close to them in the sea. Local wine tours and the teens’ lounge with its big-screen TV and Nintendo Wii should please the older and younger generations respectively, and there are also floodlit tennis courts, golf practice nets and a spa and fitness centre.

Further east along the famously scenic Garden Route is Kurland Villa, a luxurious five-bedroom private home with the option of a three further bedrooms in the west wing, which is great for teenagers. Alternatively, two cottages at the adjacent Kurland Hotel would work well, and teens love the loft rooms. Kurland’s natural surroundings offer plenty of things to do for all ages, especially the vast indigenous Tsitsikamma Forest and the lovely Nature’s Beach. Childcare staff are available, and there are quad bikes, mountain bikes and horses. Kids’ mealtimes can be arranged for earlier, with adults eating later.

Then your driver will collect you from the airstrip for the drive to Kwandwe Uplands Homestead, located on a private game reserve. The homestead is the original colonial house on the estate, and is now an exclusive-use property with three en-suite bedrooms, full catering and its own dedicated driver/guide and vehicle. It’s bliss, and you’ll have the chance to go on game drives together in search of elephants, lions and leopards, take bush treks or relax by the pool with views of the reserve, before another easy flight home.

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The Challenge

Issue 3 · Winter 2015/16

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