Family Holiday – Can You Holiday in Luxury AND Cater to Families?

Following on from Ali’s article last week on how to make travelling with small children on a plane easier, I wanted to let you in on a gem of a family holiday destination that we have found, that caters for kids but also affords you a bit of luxe along the way….

Whilst looking for a family friendly Easter retreat late last year, we considered several options but ended up plumbing for a hotel that we’d been to before (which we’d never normally do), as it seemed that no other destination matched our long list of criteria and budget.

The hotel that we stayed at was The Gran Melia Isora Palace in Tenerife. Previously we had booked with Thomson but this time we booked directly with the hotel and flew with Jet2 airlines, as Thomson couldn’t beat the price that I had been quoted.

After a bit of a chaotic flight (Frankie high five-d all passengers the whole length of the plane roughly 7 times each and tantrumed if ignored), we arrived after a 35 minute taxi ride from the airport, to be greeted with cocktails for us and mocktails for the kids.

The stunning design and architecture of the lobby was just as impressive as the first time we visited and we were checked into our suite quickly. I’d mentioned at check in that Frankie had various food allergies and Guest Relations were quick to organise some almond milk for him, and put us in touch with the kitchen.

The Room

The Suite was stunning. With two kids in tow we wanted the option to segregate them into another room so that we had a bit of privacy once they’d gone to bed. Ruby had a giant sofa bed, and Frankie had a cot. There was a TV and kitchen area which was handy for bottle preparation and this part of the suite led out to the balcony. Our room had a super king sized bed (a proper one, not two beds shoved together!) and both rooms were linked with a gorgeous bathroom with a double jacuzzi bath, double basins, separate toilet and a double monsoon shower.

The Food & Drink

We’ve been to all inclusive hotels before and the food has been pretty disappointing even at 4 and 5 star offerings, but the buffet options at The Gran Melia were premium quality and ridiculously varied. It was so easy to appease Ruby’s fussy eating and Frankie’s limited and inflexible diet. Kids were certainly catered for and along with children’s plastic animal plates and cutlery, there were kids corner meals that were made with less salt and sugar and themed to entertain little imaginations….they even had Mickey Mouse bread rolls! Frankie’s allergies were also taken very seriously and the chefs were happy to explain clearly what ingredients were used and directed us to suitable alternatives.

There were another 4 restaurants that were bookable, but still included within the full board package, including a stunning glass walled Italian with sensational views, plus another 4 a la carte paid for restaurants (with a 30% discount for those that booked directly with Gran Melia).

There was also the option to upgrade your drinks package to “gold” which meant that all premium spirits and best quality wines were included which I was delighted about when I noticed the bar was stocked with Hendrick’s and Fever Tree!

The Facilities & Entertainment

The hotel had multiple stunning pools (the family pool was salt water and heated to a temperature even I was happy to splash about in!), waiter service around the pools – a simple press of a button and one of the hotel staff appeared with Mojitos (um, I mean water), a Clarins spa which unfortunately I didn’t have time to enjoy this time, but last time I had a couple of massages there and they were amazing.

There is a fantastic kids club and even though we had no intention of encouraging Ruby to attend, she was desperate to go there. She took part in lots of activities and made lots of new friends, who she was then excited to see in the evenings.

At night, this family hotel really comes into its own with  the ‘Playhouse Live!’ kids entertainment. Every day at 19:30 a British cast put on a live kids show in the huge theatre on site. It was like a live version of 80’s/90’s Saturday morning TV…with lots of audience participation, competitions, singing and dancing (I might have even been persuaded to get on stage myself!). Once the show was over, we’d planned on allowing Ruby to stay up a bit later than usual, and walk Frankie to sleep in the pushchair, so that we could have a nightcap at one of the bars with live music. On the first night we discovered ‘Kids Palace’ which wasn’t on offer when we’d previously visited. It was a huge indoor space with 2 big bouncy castles, giant games, colouring stations, a stage and PA system for kids karaoke, plus a chill out area and a bar with waiter service. We couldn’t believe our luck! The play area was open so parents could sit close by and see in to supervise their children, but it was also supervised by the kids club staff, so there was the added reassurance of extra eyes on the kids. The Kids Palace was open until 23:45, but most nights we headed back to the room around 10pm.

 

Yoga

As with most luxe resorts these days, the hotel offered a programme of Yoga and when Ruby saw that the children’s club was offering children’s yoga, she excitedly asked to join in. The teacher was great and took it slowly, making sure that all the children understood what was required, but she also made it really fun and Ruby thoroughly enjoyed it.

I also managed to sneak off to take a yoga class, which was beautiful. A nice gentle flow outside in the hotel gardens. The kids had been practicing whilst I was away, too!

The Local Area 

We ventured out to a local beach one day (Playa San Juan) which was 10 minutes away, man made and blue flag, which the kids adored (despite Frankie’s fear of the sea!) and provided a bit of a scenery change. If the thought of flopping and dropping in one place for a week makes you feel fidgety, I’d also recommend Loro Parc, a zoo and sea world-esque park about 40 minutes away, which we visited during our first trip. There’s loads of animals to see and an option to upgrade to VIP where you’re taken on a behind the scenes tour of the whales, penguins and gorillas. The Sea Life shows are amazing and just as spectacular as Sea World in Florida. Mount Teide National Park is about 50 minutes away, and is supposed to be beautiful, but having never visited I’m not sure how family friendly it is.

We really did have an amazing time at The Gran Melia. Although we’d visited before, there were even more enhancements this time. The children were thoroughly entertained and occupied, the food was delicious and the staff were so friendly and made a big fuss of the kids greeting them with affection “Hola! Chica guapa, Chico guapo!”. We certainly felt spoilt and not as if we’d substituted “our” holiday for the kids.

The cost of a family of four staying at The Gran Melia Isora Palace in a master suite 5th-12th April was €3970.00*.

A flight for 2 adults, 1 child and 1 infant with Jet2 from Birmingham airport to Tenerife South was £650.00*.
To upgrade to a gold drinks package the cost is €55.00* pppd – so €770.00 (kids were free).
Bali Bed packages from €65.00-€265.00* per day.

*all prices correct at time of publication

Have you managed to find any gems that hit the sweet spot of luxe for adults and family friendly without flying long haul? Do share your wanderlust secrets with us – we cant wait to book the next family holiday!

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We’re two Mums who are getting through motherhood one day at a time whilst enjoying Yoga and other ‘me time’ activities. We don’t profess to be experts in Yoga, Pilates, exercise, meditation, the human anatomy or medicine and we’re certainly not experts in parenting. We are simply sharing our experience and opinions and occasionally those of people who’s advice we value, and we’ll always reference them. If you’re unsure of starting any new exercise or practice, please consult your GP. And if you’re unsure of purchasing any products we suggest, please consult your bank balance!