Travelling with teens? Before you start tearing your hair out, check out our top tips from boutique travel experts Mr & Mrs Smith. From a Fijian beach escape and action-packed Great Barrier Reef getaway, to a hip hangout in New York, these family-friendly breaks offer something for all ages, and sassy savings guarantee smiles all round.
Namale Resort & Spa, Fiji
Style Fijian coastal cool
Setting Rainforest meets ocean
Set on Fiji’s second largest island Vanua Levu, Namale Resort & Spa, offers a raft of activities, from golf to village visits, but we reckon it’s the perfect place to bask by your plunge pool and ogle ocean views. Namale only caters to kids aged 12 and above, making it the ideal retreat for families with older, more adventurous offspring.
Sleeping All the spacious Villas have the wow-factor, but if you’re travelling with teens the two-bedroom Dream House is ideal, with lavish Fijian styling, indoor and outdoor showers, a spa bath, a wraparound deck for dining and a glam pool.
Activities There’s little chance of teens getting antsy, thanks to motorised watersports, snorkelling, a water trampoline, spa, gym, nine-hole golf course, indoor basketball court and an entertainment room with virtual golf simulator, billiards table, Fussball, table hockey, projector screen and two 10-pin bowling alleys. Phew.
Feasting Bure Levu, Namale’s restaurant, is set in a grand, traditional thatched bure, with soaring ceilings, ornate decoration and an alfresco deck dotted with trees. An eclectic menu of local and international dishes draws heavily on local produce, from fish to tropical fruit. Generous breakfasts, three-course lunches and five-course dinners are all included in rates, as is all alcohol for the adults.
Sassy savings Namale has a host of hot offers, including five nights for the price of four. Book through Smith and you’ll also score a private alfresco dinner for two and a free hydrotherapy spa experience.
Hamilton Island Yacht Club Villas, Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Style Reef meets Riviera
Setting A meander from the marina
Group getaways don’t come more glam than Hamilton Island Yacht Club Villas, a coastal-chic collection of holiday houses on Hamilton Island on the Great Barrier Reef. With four bedrooms, expansive entertaining areas and jaw-dropping views over Dent Passage, these family-friendly beach houses take laid-back luxury to new levels.
Sleeping Each of the four-bedroom villas can happily house your brood. Cots are provided free of charge, and one bedroom has a king-size bed that can be split into twins. The four-storey villas have the bonus of a ground-floor games room.
Activities With around 60 activities offered across the island, from sedate koala-cuddling at the Wildlife Park to action-fuelled go-cart racing and motorbiking, there’s something for all ages and interests. Aqua babes will love snorkelling, older teens might fancy trying their hand at scuba diving or yacht sailing. Golf and spa treats beckon for adults, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg…
Feasting Under 12s eat for free from the special kids’ menu when dining with their folks in selected restaurants, including the Pool Terrace Restaurant (breakfast, lunch and dinner), Manta Ray Café (lunch and dinner), Sails Restaurant (breakfast, lunch and dinner), Hamilton Island Wildlife Park (breakfast only), and Steakhouse (dinner only).
Sassy savings Book a stay of seven nights or more and save AU$100 a night
Ace Hotel New York, New York, United States
Style Rock ‘n’ roll retro
Setting Midtown flower district
Bursting onto the NYC boutique-hotel scene with a thrum of guitar strings and a bohemian shrug, Ace Hotel New York is one for the creatives, the young and the young-at-heart, with turntables in some rooms, art-lined walls and a youthful air of hipster chic.
Sleeping The higher you go, the better the view – you can glimpse the Empire State Building from the upper storeys. For a boho New York-apartment stay, book one of the nine Lofts on the corners of the building. Budget-conscious families or friends travelling together can go for one of the Deluxe Doubles, which have two beds (one king-size, one queen). Plus, there are free cots for babies, and roll-away beds for older kids (US$25 a night).
Activities Musically minded teens will love the Gibson guitar and Music Hall Radios that come as standard – some rooms also have turntables and Smeg fridges loaded with munchies. Borrow bikes to tootle around town, or pose in the lobby’s photobooth. Madison Square Park is the nearest patch of greenery, offering not only sun-basking space and mini-rambles, but also a packed calendar of art exhibits, open-air concerts, readings and events.
Feasting The Breslin restaurant showcases nose-to-tail dining and takes its style cues from low-key 19th-century bars and saloons – think mahogany, period detailing and distressed green leather upholstery. The menu is masculine and meaty, but for fussy tastes, there are crowd-pleasing kids’ selections up for grabs.
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 950 hotels and holiday houses around the world.