Rally the troops for a glamorous group getaway, as boutique travel experts Mr & Mrs Smith present three top picks for hosting holidays with a crowd. Choose from a butler-serviced stay in Bali, a view-blessed beach house on the north Australian coast or an art-filled villa in Phuket.
Villa Sungai, Bali, Indonesia
Style Bali goes Ibiza
Setting Charming Cepaka Village
Fancy the idea of a private villa but still have a hankering for five-star pampering? Well Sassy Mamas, we may have the destination for you. Bali holiday house Villa Sungai seduces with its whim-catering team of staff, including 24-hour butler service, chefs and a chauffeur, plus intimate, all-yours setting. This three-suite stay works a treat for a single family, or book it with smaller sister property Sungai Gold nearby, and you’ll have five bedrooms and a pair of pools. Plus, if you visit before the end of September, kids under 12 stay and eat for free.
Sleeping Villa Sungai’s three ensuite rooms all work well for children, especially bedrooms 1 or 2, which boast interconnecting doors; bedroom 3 is home to the villa’s only TV and DVD player, but also the most romantic alfresco bathroom so you may want to nab it for yourself.
Activities As well as the inviting pool at Sungai, kids will enjoy the villa’s bikes, basketball hoop, small mini gym and activities table. Local distractions include tennis, golf, elephant encounters and trips to a water park, markets or village schools. The nearest beach is a 15-minute drive away, or take the kids to see striking coastal temple Pura Tanah Lot, then cool off in the sea after.
Feasting Chef Wayan works wonders with pan-Asian and Australian flavours, but a children’s menu is also available in the restaurant, 24 hours a day, so fussy eaters (and your midnight cravings) are happily catered for around the clock. If you’re venturing out for the day, ask staff to prepare a packed lunch for the little ones. You’ll be sent a pre-arrival booking form ahead of your stay, on which you can specify any special needs or requests for children, so everything’s in place when you arrive.
Alinghi, Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Style Architect’s beach pad
Setting Heavenly Honeymoon Bay
Sitting pretty at the southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef Alinghi could well be Australia’s ultimate beach house. Overlooking idyllic Honeymoon Bay, this eco-chic eyrie comfortably sleeps up to 14 people, so it’s ideal for a gaggle of families. Throw in easy access to the sand and sea, breezy entertaining areas and high-tech gadgets galore, and you have the stuff of summer holiday dreams.
Sleeping In the larger lodge, there are two king-size bedrooms with ensuites, plus two kid-perfect bunk rooms that sleep four and share a family bathroom. You may have to duel it out for the master bedroom, however: a giant travertine terrace separates it from the main pavilion, offering a private sea-view boudoir with a sexy tree-shrouded shower room.
Activities This is the sublime starting point for the Great Barrier Reef, so the secluded beach is going to command most of your time. Swimming, surfing, snorkelling and tennis should keep Junior Smiths busy from dawn until dusk. On the larger estate, there’s also a tennis court and 30-metre swimming pool for off-sand activities.
Feasting A luxury welcome hamper of local and organic produce, a bottle of wine and six beers are included in the room rate. Beyond that, you’llneed to bring your own groceries (buy up in the nearby town of Agnes Water), but once you’re fully stocked, you can get cracking in the kitchen or on the barbecue. Catering and grocery shopping are available for a fee given advance notice.
Villa Yin, Phuket, Thailand
Style Art-house drama
Setting Kamala’s moneyed mile
If you’re travelling with teens or a team of couples, Phuket self-catering stay Villa Yin could be just the ticket. Clinging to the cliffs of Phuket’s ultra-luxe Millionaires’ Mile, this holiday house sleeps up to 10 in four Thai-style pavilions, with a seductive marble pool and a gallery’s worth of contemporary sculptures and objets d’art. The priceless pieces and steep inclines might make it tricky for tearaway tots, but entertaining over 12’s shouldn’t be a problem.
Sleeping Bag the master suite for yourself and let the kids bunk down in one of the bedrooms on the lower floor of the main pavilion, each with a double bed, ensuite bathroom and shared deck. For larger groups, grab neighbouring sister property Villa Yang, too.
Activities Kamala’s soft, sandy beach is perfect for sandcastle-sculpting smalls, and its gentle sea is kind to paddling bubs. Inland, elephant trekking in the hills will enthral junior Smiths as will horse riding on Bang Tao Beach. If your offspring are water babies at heart, Patong Beach proffers jet skis and parasails galore. There’s a shallow lounging ledge in the main pool but the infinity edge isn’t kid-friendly, so supervision is essential.
Feasting The in-villa chef rustles up tempting Thai cuisine and a handful of western dishes, and will woo the little ones with customised kids’ meals. Seafood barbecues on the terrace, gourmet picnic hampers and cooking classes can also be arranged.
To book a child-friendly Smith stay visit www.mrandmrssmith.com or call the expert Travel Team on 800 905 326. What’s more, BlackSmith membership is now free for life, so book through Smith to receive life-enhancing extras and exclusive offers at more than 900 hotels and holiday houses around the world.