Dreaming of a family holiday with nary a caravan or theme park in sight? The family-focused hotel connoisseurs from Smith & Family have three luxury Australian stays that’ll impress the headphones off even the most angst of teens. With enough kit to occupy the brood for days – and plenty of parent-pleasing extras too – these digs will have whines of “I’m bored” replaced with “When are we going back mum?” And that’s just how we like it!
Emirates Wolgan Valley, Blue Mountains
Style Outback eco-luxe
Setting Private nature reserve
Ever fancied a jaunt in a Jurassic Park-sized canyon? Make for Emirates Wolgan Valley… this outback luxury lodge features sun-blessed escarpments, creature comforts and sumptuous styling. Add in a top-notch spa, private swimming pools and belly-bursting dining and you’ve got one special mountain playground.
With enough room for the Brady Bunch (and then some) the no-expense spared Wollemi suites have large communal areas in earthy tones, private swimming pools and breathtaking views from wrap-around verandahs. With two bedrooms, these suites sit up the hill closer to the lodge, allowing for optimum wildlife-watching opportunities for the kiddos, while parents snatch some coveted alone time. The three-bedroom Wolgan Suite has bucketloads of space, a landscaped garden, private terraces and a private swimming pool. As a totally self-contained lodge, it’s ideal for larger groups.
Nestled smack-bang in the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage area, we almost ran out of fingers – and toes – checking off Wolgan Valley’s offerings. Explore more than 4,000 acres of pristine wilderness by making for the purpose-built equestrian centre and have your own Melbourne Cup-inspired jaunt. Got a green thumb? Field Guides are on hand to share their knowledge of native flora and fauna. Tots can run wild with bush craft and cooking, archery lessons and stunt kite-flying, leaving parents to retreat to the restorative powers of the Timeless Spa.
With a food philosophy that favours seasonal, regional and organic produce, Wolgan Valley has turned to boutique farms, private growers and vintners to supply the ingredients used in its on-site eateries. The Country Kitchen is a providore-style restaurant, open from morning to dusk in the main lodge building; the Ploughman’s Platter champions regional flavours and is sure to replenish any empty tank. Breakfast and dinner are taken in the Dining Room; during the colder months, nab a place by the fireplace.
Hamilton Island Yacht Club Villas, Great Barrier Reef
Style Modern beachside bungalows
Setting Sun, sea, sky
A collection of coastal-chic holiday homes, Hamilton Island Yacht Club Villas takes laid-back luxury to new levels. With a beach-blessed location in the Whitsundays, you’ll be perfectly positioned for Great Barrier Reef island-hopping. Prepare to cast off… we have a feeling you’ll be here for a while.
Enjoy views of pristine coastline from every angle in each of the resort’s luxury villas. The Premium Yacht Club Villas score extra brownie points for its wow-worthy waterfront position. With four bedrooms in each villa, ankle-biters may even bag a room to themselves (depending on how many tots are in tow that is!). For a private balcony plunge pool, opt for Villa 32, while movie buffs can make a beeline for Villas 13 and 15… their basement-level media rooms are perfect for family movie nights.
Mini Smiths will love zooming around the island in golf buggies – the preferred mode of transport on the island! Hamilton Island is also home to the Clownfish Club, a kids centre and childcare facility that caters for bubs as young as six weeks old, as well as under-15s. Older kids can wile away the day by trying their hand at any of the water-and-sand sports on offer; consider a family day spent sailing to spectacular Whitehaven Beach or choppering over the reef. Animal-lovers can seek out the Wildlife Park to check out koalas and cuddly critters, try mini-golf, or venture up Passage Peak for spectacular views of indescribably blue ocean that melts into the horizon.
Villas are decked out with impressive Miele appliances, affording budding masterchefs the chance to rustle up a family meal. If you’d rather avoid the kitchen, choose from Bommie Restaurant – suitable for under-13s – and Bommie Deck, both serving contemporary Australian cuisine. There’s also a smattering of cafés and restaurants dotted around the island, with offerings including East Asian fare and laid-back Italian.
QT, Port Douglas
Style Retro vibrant
Setting Lush, tropical gardens
Turning up the heat in the tropics is QT Port Douglas, a boutique hotel with quirky designs and staff dressed as if they’ve stepped straight out of an episode of Gilligan’s Island. It’s only a short stroll from hotel to beach or even town centre (but if you find you can’t coax yourself from your sun lounger, that’s perfectly fine too mama).
The Two-bedroom Villas are perfect for groups and families… the second room can be configured with twin beds, plus there’s a kitchenette for heating up bottles and snacks. All of QT’s rooms and villas have airy interiors, splashes of bright pop-art colour, private bathrooms and views over the garden or pool.
With World Heritage rainforests and sugar-sand beaches on your doorstep, your hardest decision will be knowing where to start. Squeeze into a wetsuit – or Speedos – and make for the Great Barrier Reef to discover darting fish and mosaics of coloured coral (get the kids to keep an eye out for Nemo!). Wander through the 135 million-year-old Daintree forest, stroll along Four Mile Beach or plan a day-trip to visit Cape Tribulation. Closer to home, the hotel has table tennis and a pool table by the outdoor pool (supervision required), and there’s free retro bikes available too for an afternoon cycle.
Bazaar, QT’s main restaurant, dishes up healthy breakfasts and a generous buffet that will have your eyes – and belly – overflowing. A trickling pond decorated with oversized carp surrounds this open-air eatery, popular with locals and guests alike, it’s a great distraction for restless rugrats. Estilo’s bar menu boasts wood-fired pizzas, fresh seafood, and antipasto plates that are best enjoyed alongside a fruity libation created by the resident mixologist. The swim-up Pool Bar is the go-to spot when the rising temperature call for some cooling off in the name of a fresh kid-appropriate mocktail.
Find more family-friendly stays at Smith & Family or browse other Mr & Mrs Smith collections. Smith members enjoy exclusive extras with all stays.