Chewton Glen Hotel, NHYM 2014.
1. Babington House, Somerset
For the ultra-cool media types, Babington is the ultimate London getaway. It has amenities to satisfy parents and kids alike, as little as 1 yo to 80 y.o. The only (biggest) downside is that it is incredibly difficult to book, with the hotel being booked months in advance, especially as a non-member of the Soho House Conglomerate.
For mums & dads: Cowshed Spa, indoor & outdoor pool, tennis courts, Library, Cinema, Cricket Pitch.
For Kids: Teeny House for tots 1 and up, The Loft for children 8 and up.
2. The Grove, Hertfordshire
The Grove Hotel Wall Artwork, NHYM 2014.
The Grove wins tons of points for being only 45 minutes away from London, easy booking (i.e. always having availability) and having everything to please the whole family. There are a variety of restaurants, although some may criticise the main restaurant for being too ‘canteen-like’ and on the ‘WAGGY’ side. The hotel itself is modern luxury, although some of the rooms may feel somewhat corporate with its 191 rooms in the West Wing. But there are some lovely communal spaces such as the beautiful ‘adults only’ lounges and the scattered art works in its grounds. Overall, for a quick and easy family break, there are not many hotels that beat it.
For parents: Luxurious Spa for the mummies, Golf for the daddies.
For Kids: Anoushka’s Kids Club, Creche for the little ones, Kids activities, tennis courts, outdoor beach in walled garden, own kids indoor pool, with another larger swimming pool in the Spa with family swimming times, children’s food.
3. Calcot Manor, Gloucestershire
The Grove Hotel Artwork, NHYM 2014
With only 35 rooms, this is ideal for those looking for a more boutique feel alternative to bigger hotels without scrimping on facilities. It has a cozy, country manor feel to it, and offers close access to the Cotswolds and all its activities nearby. It has special events such as ‘Meet-The-Author’ lunches and clay pigeon shooting.
For the Parents: Calcot Spa is a lovely haven of peace while the children are being looked after at the Creche. There is a new horse-back riding school for those looking to learn or to brush up on their riding skills.
For kids: The Playzone, Ofsted registered Creche and the Mez, for children 8 and above. There is also an outdoor heated swimming pool during warmer months and a heated indoor pool for children during Family Swim Times.
4. Chewton Glen, Hampshire
Front courtyard at entrance of Chewton Glen, NHYM 2014.
Chewton Glen is a Relais & Chateux Hotel that has (cleverly) become a great family friendly hotel with plenty of family friendly room options: Courtyard suites, Coach House Suites (where they will arrange for you to have children’s beds on the ground floor and a King Bed on the top floor) and its famous Family Treehouse Suites, for a true treehouse experience. It was recently voted Best UK Holiday Hotel 2014, by Conde Nast Traveller, UK edition.
For the parents: Spa, cycling for the whole family, visiting nearby fishing villages and the coast.
For the kids: There is an outdoor pool, a Kids club during weekends and school holidays, special dining times with special buffet for kids, bicycles available for the hotel family to cycle to the beach. There is also an indoor pool with family swim times.
5. Coworth Park, Ascot
Wisteria, NHYM 2014
Part of the Dorchester Collection, Coworth Park lives up to its reputation; it recently won the 2015 Best Hotel with Spa Award at the Conde Nast Johansens 2105 Awards for Excellence. Located in Ascot, it is close to London and with an emphasis on horses, horse-riding, and polo playing with its Guards Polo Club Academy at Coworth Park. It is ideally located near all sorts of family attractions.
For Parents: Polo and Equestrian lessons, spa, and indoor swimming pool. Rooms in the ‘Stables,’ are beautifully appointed luxurious rooms.
For Kids: Kids Club at Coworth Park 2-8 yo, and a Teen den for children 8 and above. There are a wide variety of activities from horse riding and indoor pools to Legoland, Windsor, and Thorpe Park.
6. Limewood Hotel, New Forest
The Grove Hotel Artwork, NHYM 2014
Limewood loses points for not having a Kid’s Club but because of it’s cool factor, it still makes the list. With under 30 rooms, it will feel intimate and familiar. There is a heavy emphasis on fitness and wellbeing with fitness retreats for adults and a large spa/fitness centre which includes: sauna, steam room, outdoor & indoor pool, workout studio, Raw & Cured food, Caldarium etc…There are specific rooms designed to be family friends such as the Forest cottages and cabins for families.
For Parents: Everything.
For kids: Little actual organised activities, therefore best for older children who need less looking after.
7. The Four Seasons, Hampshire
Fresh fruit salad for breakfast for the healthy-minded. NHYM 2014.
The Four Seasons, Hampshire is ideal for the American expats around who like to know what to expect and are Four-Seasons-Loving. The brand says it all and you can expect impeccable service and grounds. It is also pet-friendly, so for the full family+pet experience, look no further. It is no longer for the child-less parents, as I was once told by a couple who found it too child-friendly for their taste, since it has become so popular with families.
For Parents: Tennis, horse-riding, dog-friendly, fishing, clay pigeon shooting and falconry. Glass covered infinity indoor pool with outdoor vitality pool. Children are welcome most of the time in the swimming pool apart from Adult Quiet Time Swimming.
For Kids: Kids For All Seasons, Kid’s Club for children 3 – 10 years old. (Under 3 can attend with a babysitter), Pony Club for those 4 and up.
** The next three hotels are part of the Von Essen Luxury Family Hotel chain which are specifically focussed on providing a luxury family holiday. These may not have the same 5 star service and immaculate rooms as the previous hotels, but are ideal for parents looking for more low key, family-centred, 3 or 4 star hotels, with country charm in its place**
8. Woolley Grange, Wiltshire
It is a self proclaimed ‘luxury family hotel’ in the Cotswolds, where ‘we put family life at the core of your luxury holiday.’ There is a family friendly spa with an indoor and outdoor pool and tots treatments, a walled garden with medicinal herbs and chicken/duck nesting boxes to collect fresh eggs. It is close to Bath and Cotswolds for family outings.
For Kids: There is a Children’s Club for babies up to 8 years old, with 2 hours complimentary childcare, baby listening and babysitting service. There is an outdoor play area with swings, climbing frames and a sandpit. The Hen house is for older children with a pool table, table football and wide screen TV.
9. The Ickworth, Suffolk
With 1,800 acres of national trust parkland, biking, children’s playground, farm and deer-studded parkland, this is a children’s heaven. Other nearby activities include Cambridge and Colchester Zoo. There is a Family Friendly Spa with an indoor swimming pool and Mamma mio treatments for the yummy mummies.
For kids: Creche from babies to 8 years old, baby listening and babysitting services, Sunday breakfast club from 8 to 9:30am, Club Blu for older kids with table tennis, pool table, Wii & Playstation as well as a cinema 6pm screenings.
10. Fowey Hall, Cornwall
This hotel is the furthest away from London, therefore is not for the faint hearted with 4 and a half hours of driving or flying into Newquay but has excellent reviews on TripAdvisor. It is thought to have been the inspiration for Toad Hall in The Wind in the Willows. It is essentially a hotel for families though, so don’t expect Child-Less Clients. It is for those who love sea-side Cornish holidays by the sea, where you can imagine the Famous Five playing by the beach and on the river.
For Kids: Four Bears Creche Den, trampoline, zip wire and beach adventures. Indoor pool and outdoor hot tub, children’s high tea between 5 and 6pm.