Thinking about your 2016 holidays, mamas? This is the time to start planning and booking! With the help of our friends at Lightfoot Travel, we’ve put together a few ideas for holidays with kiddos of all ages, from tinies to teens. Prepare yourselves for a severe case of wanderlust, gather your gang of globetrotters and book in for adventure, relaxation and making magical memories.
Lightfoot Travel: MALDIVES
Only a short flight from Dubai, with no vaccinations needed and guaranteed superb service and facilities, the Maldives is a perfect destination for travelling with babies and infants. With tots this young, you can stay in a picturesque water villa, which is not possible for toddlers or babies big enough to crawl and walk themselves. To take advantage of travelling to the Maldives with babies or infants, we recommend the Four Seasons Kuda Haraa, only a 30 minute speedboat ride from Male, therefore avoiding seaplanes or longer transfers. The resort offers everything you would expect from a Four Seasons property, including spacious rooms, a top class Kid’s Club, an on-site doctor, and amenities for babies and infants including cribs and babysitting.
Price from AED 8,265 per night.
Sassy Mama: CYPRUS
Just under 4 hours on a plane from Dubai, Cyprus is a perfect Mediterranean escape for mamas (and dads) with babies in tow and one of the hottest (coolest) year-round destinations for 2016, complete with golden beaches, pushchair friendly promenades and picturesque little villages for exploring. The Anassa hotel is found on the north west coast of Cyprus with a small fishing village of Latchi (including charming restaurants, bars and shops) only 10 mins away, and the stunning Akamas peninsula nature reserve just a little further – perfect for walks with little one tucked up in a baby carrier. The Anassa is the ideal family friendly resort (read about our Sassy Mama competition winner’s experience here) – this is 5 Star luxury Mediterranean style, complete with gorgeous spacious rooms, a ton of activities (from diving to golf, jeep safaris to water-sports) and then, wait for it … An absolutely world-class kids club managed by travel experts Scott Dunn, that can take teenies from only 4 months meaning that mama can escape to the award-winning spa for some much needed R&R. Woohoo! There’s also plenty for older kiddos and an excellent baby-sitting service that’ll make sure your little people are safe and sound while you partaayyy (or just enjoy that much-needed meal out with the other half).
Price from AED 2,500 per night in a sea-view garden suite.
Lightfoot Travel: SRI LANKA
With only four hours on a direct flight from the UAE, Sri Lanka is a great option for families with young toddlers. There is great weather (at the right time of year, which varies from one area of the country to another), lots of wildlife, fantastic cuisine and a hefty slice of fascinating, colourful culture. Families should head to the southern beaches and choose one of the many luxurious villas, ideal for multi-generational gatherings with family or friends from overseas. Self-contained villas with swimming pools and big open lawns are safe for toddlers, with many beach front options offering activities galore, including sandcastle building and paddling. If you decide to take a private chef, dining can be tailored to your toddler’s needs, while if you have time on your hands you can head inland to an elephant orphanage or east to Yala for safari.
Our top villa choice is Elysium, with rates from AED 11,000 per night. This might sound quite a lot, but when you consider it is split across four individual chalets, the costs can be spread across a group of family or friends.
Sassy Mama: DISNEY CRUISE
Set sail to destinations including the Caribbean, Bahamas and Alaska, plus over 15 European countries, onboard a Disney themed cruise liner where there’s plenty of fun to be had for the whole family (honestly mama, while the kids are chasing Mickey around the ship, there are spas to chill in, pools to lie by and adult-only restos for uninterrupted dining plus much, much more). Perfect for the over 2’s, there are live-shows, deck parties, kids clubs, fireworks, character experiences, water slides and a whole load of other stuff to keep everyone smiling while on-board – plus fabulous adventures on shore too. We haven’t tried this one out yet but it’s top of our list mamas (anything to keep our little Frozen fans happy right?!)
Prices available on request depending on itinerary.
5-10 year old- primary school
Lightfoot Travel: NEW ZEALAND
With non-stop activity, iconic cinema locations and enormous variety of landscapes to explore, New Zealand is the perfect place to visit in the school holidays. On the South Island, it’s all about nature and thrills, including renowned Queenstown. Here guests of all ages can enjoy gondola rides, working sheep farms, family-friendly hikes, horse riding and even visit the Lord of the Rings set. Children can go whale watching or swim with dolphins in Kaikoura, or why not head out quad biking or immerse yourself in a day at an adventure park! With so many outdoor activities, and lots of interaction with animals, New Zealand is perfect for school kids and active families. This age group will also love the easy, wholesome food on offer in New Zealand (while mum and dad’s heads might be turned more by the excellent wines). We recommend The Rees, with great views and family friendly food, from
Price AED 1,100 per night.
Sassy Mama: OMAN
To fly or not to fly, that is the question – well with Oman just next door mamas, a road-trip is the perfect choice for a mini family vacay if you’d rather not face the whole airport/on-board scenario and fancy taking your own vehicle. Temperatures in Muscat are similar to those in Dubai but our kiddo friendly choice of hotel, the Shangri La Barr al Jissah, has plenty to do both indoor and out, the children’s facilities are amazing and we love to visit all-year-round. The Cool Zone Kids’ Club located in the Al Waha Hotel provides both air conditioned indoor and outdoor play areas, both under trained supervision. Open from 8am until 8pm daily, children up to 8 years old are welcome (under 4’s have to be accompanied by an adult). There’s also an ‘Adventure Zone’ which combines a variety of play areas, climbing wall, soft play areas and daily Nintendo Wii Sports challenges. Other children’s activities include treasure hunts, henna painting, the Sand City Competition and Arabian arts and crafts. Oh and did we mention a splash-pad for watery fun? And 20 bars & restaurants, beautiful swimming pools and beach, the opportunity to see turtles hatching and loads, LOADS more. We love.
Price from AED 750 per room per night.
Lightfoot Travel: NEPAL
In mystical Kathmandu and beyond, families will discover endless opportunities to discover and explore the Great Outdoors, perfect for this age group. Your tweens might want to go on elephant safari in Chitwan National Park, looking out for tigers, sloth, bears and deer from this unique, high vantage point. Or you could visit the Annapurna circle for incredible views, wildlife, and hikes for all abilities and ages. While here, take the chance to visit tea houses and local villages, with friendly Nepalese faces along the way, welcoming you everywhere you go. Cooking classes are also a fun and interactive way to experience the cuisine and culture of Nepal – a great chance to learn to make momo’s for all the family.
We recommend Tiger Mountain Lodge in Pokhara from AED 1,100 per night for a bungalow.
Sassy Mama: KENYA
Is there anything more amazing than teaching kids about the wildlife they often read about or see on the TV by showing how they live naturally, in the wild? A Safari trip with our gang is high-up on the agenda mamas, a once-in-a-lifetime experience complete with waking at sunrise, watching sunsets over the savannah and heading out on safari. Start with a stay at the amazing Giraffe Manor hotel in Nairobi (complete with resident giraffes who join guests at meal-times) and meet these amazing creatures face to face. From here, a transfer to &Beyond Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp in the Masai Mara is the perfect place for a really wild time – particularly if you go for the great migration (which conveniently falls over School holidays). Kids over the age of 6 are allowed on game drives (at the lodge manager’s discretion – if you’ve got a little tearaway on your hands then chances are they’ll have to stay behind and watched by childminders) – and over 12’s are good to go! The WILDChild programme is available for kids visiting the lodge and is filled with fun, interactive activities that offer opportunities to learn and discover new experiences from the Maasai who must be some of the world’s most charismatic teachers – children can learn about everything from tracking animals to reading the incredible landscape around them. the glorious landscapes around them.
Price from AED 2,424 per night for a Classic Tent (for two – so dad/mum + tween) – includes all meals and soft drinks, plus two guided safari activities per day.
Lightfoot Travel: SOUTH AMERICA
This region has a wealth of caries countries, cultures, landscapes and wildlife to explore, so you should make the most of this once your teenagers are old enough to appreciate it! Head to Peru to discover Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley. Following which you can spend a few days being kept on your toes in the Amazon, perfect for teenagers with a sense of adventure! Ecuador and the Galapagos islands are also an excellent choice, with abundant wildlife in the Galapagos, followed by horse riding and hiking at haciendas. Or, if you’re looking for direct flights from the UAE, there are few cities offering more fun than Rio, while Buenos Aires is sophisticated, beautiful and a perfect gateway to nearby horse riding, Malbec and steak!
We recommend checking into Pikaia Lodge for the full experience. From AED 29,380 for 3 nights, with all sorts of inclusions.
Sassy Mama: THE GREEK ISLANDS
Trying to persuade your teen to join a family trip is easy if you’re proposing somewhere awesome (that they can insta/facebook/snapchat to friends back home). Chances are they won’t want to hang out with mama and dad all day (sad, but true) so choosing somewhere with activities they can get stuck into alone – without the fear of them roaming around an unknown town – is a good option. We’ve got our eye on The Peligoni Club which can organise gorgeous villas (or yachts) in Zakynthos (and beyond), while offering a super cool looking rustic open-air club complete with games, swimming pool, little spa, bar, watersports and loads more for you to hang out at and enjoy each day. Kids can split off with friends their own age – perfect for teens who want to combine a little adventure and adrenaline with some freedom at nighttime. Looks fab!
Price from AED 4,130 for a gorgeous 2 bedroom cottage within walking distance of The Club.
Happy travelling, mama!
Lightfoot Travel is a luxury tailor-made tour operator offering bespoke itineraries to all corners of the globe. With offices in Singapore, Hong Kong and Dubai, Lightfoot can offer perfect holidays for families, couples, adventure lovers or those in need of a little R&R. For further details call 04 455 8788 or visit www.lightfoottravel.com
Featured image via Pinterest.