Boutique hotel website Mr & Mrs Smith has long been the go-to resource for trendy getaways. But no longer is the brand just about couples’ retreats. This year they are going global with their new website Smith & Family providing choice child-friendly accommodations for family holidays. Founder Tamara Lohan and mother to Tom (6) and Alexandra (4) gives suitcases&strollers her personal recommendations for the best places to stay and travel with kids all over the world.
How frequently do you travel as a family?
Travel is part of our job so we are often away at weekends in various parts of the UK; the boutique hotel scene is thriving so there are plenty of places to explore. We tend to do one bigger trip a year – next year we’re hoping to head to California: one of our favourite hotels there, the Post Ranch Inn, has just been voted Best Smith Hotel in our first ever boutique hotel awards, so that’s a stamp of approval from our members that I’m keen to verify! We have offices in Melbourne and New York that we visit once a year too, so all in all we are on the road at least once a month.
Where has been your favourite family holiday destination?
Our trip to Bali, Indonesia this past summer with the children was fantastic – we stayed at Alila Villas Uluwatu which is just stunning: each villa has its own pool and the bar juts out dramatically over the cliffs. The whole place is cool and contemporary with panoramic views over the Indian Ocean. It’s absolute heaven.
Which has been your most surprising holiday destination?
That’s a tricky question – there are so many places that we’ve loved for different reasons. The Upper House in Hong Kong is fantastic; it’s an incredible hotel that manages to guess what you want even before you’ve realised you want it. The children loved it because it felt special and it’s incredibly slick, but it didn’t make us feel out of place for travelling as a family.
Where has been your kids’ favourite holiday destination and why?
Italy is fantastic for children and our two keep asking me to take them back. The Italians know how to make families welcome. Borgo Egnazia in Puglia, Italy is an excellent place to head to when you’ve got kids in tow (and even if you haven’t – Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel got married there). There’s a fantastic kids’ club with activities such as pizza-making classes using ingredients from the kitchen garden.
Is it important to travel with children?
I believe it’s incredibly important for my two children to see the world and I feel fortunate that I can do that with them – as much for their sake as for mine! Seeing the world through their eyes is incredible. I want them to learn about variety and how different people live, to understand how fortunate we are and to see beauty in everything from a UK park to the raging sea off Bali.
What do children gain from travel experiences that they don’t get elsewhere?
Seeing new cultures, trying new food and flavours, exploring new landscapes and hearing foreign languages…there’s so much they absorb that just isn’t possible in the classroom. It makes a map of the world come to life for them: they understand basic things like flying times and distances between places and they learn to be accepting of different cultures and ways of doing things.
What is your recommendation for the ultimate kid-friendly accommodation?
Soneva Kiri in Thailand has just been voted the best stay for families in our Smith Hotel Awards: it has an incredible setting and the kids’ den is just fantastic; the architect asked children what their dream play area would look like and built it from there. In Europe, Martinhal Beach Resort & Hotel is excellent; it’s in the Algarve in Portugal on a great surf beach.
Your top 3 destinations for family holidays?
· Morocco is great as it provides a good mix of culture and activities; Fellah Hotel in Marrakech has plenty for children and they can organise all sorts of day trips such as camel rides.
· Thailand has plenty to offer families; it’s good value, and there are some stunning hotels and resorts, such as Anantara Phuket Villas.
To read more about Smith & Family go to the suitcases&strollers story Family-Friendly Accommodation Booking Websites
To read more about other family-friendly hotels type "family-friendly hotels" into the Search on the suitcases&strollers website
Images: Rachel Juarez-Carr