Anyone who thinks style, luxury and children can’t go hand in tiny hand hasn’t explored our Smith & Kids collection of child-friendly boutique hotels. Following our round-up of the top 10 UK hotels for travellers with tots in tow – and, of course, Kayt Sukel’s run-down of top children’s travel accessories – we give you our run down of the best hotels on the Continent for those bringing the brood.
The outdoor pool at Château de Saint Paterne
Château de Saint Paterne
Style Chic stately retreat
Setting Lush lands of the Loire
There are few kids who won’t be excited by the prospect of staying in a real-life castle. Château de Saint Paterne may be chic, styled and atmospheric, but the down-to-earth owners have made sure it’s equally welcoming to Smiths great and small. After a day spent bouncing around on trampolines, splashing about in the outdoor pool and testing their sporting skills on the ping-pong table, they can enjoy dinner tailored to petite palates, served around 7pm. Afterwards, book a babysitter and settle down for a romantic meal à deux in the château’s inventive restaurant.
Rates From €135 a night
Douro Valley, Portugal
Style Sprawling spa retreat
Setting Dazzling Douro wine country
For parents, there’s the wine and the spa; for the offspring, there’s woodland to roam in, tennis courts, and an wealth of opportunities for messing about in boats. For everyone, there’s mind-blowing scenery. Two- or three-bedroom villa have kitchens and private pools, but you can hand over responsibility for entertaining your clan to hotel staff (€20 an hour), and lose an afternoon wine tasting in the surroundings quintas.
Rates From £250 a night.
Teddy bears and just-for-tykes cartoon city guides sit alongside chic Italian design at Hotel Savoy. When the young ones tire of art galleries and architecture, distract them with the hotel’s selection of child-tailored DVDs and PlayStations while you enjoy an in-room massage. Dining en famille is similarly stress-free, with a children’s menu boasting junior delights such as Captain Nemo fish fingers, and colouring books and small toys to keep teenies entertained between bites. All under-14s receive a special gift on arrival, too.
Rates From €440 a night.
Style Subtle, soothing and smart
Setting Medside Limassol
You might not expect Cyprus’ first couture getaway to offer a child-friendly welcome, but this stylish sanctuary does just that. By day the little and the not-so-little can enjoy its sheltered beach (arm bands and inflatables on hand); by night, you can hire a babysitter and sip cocktails in the bar while the resident DJ spins his stuff. Cots for babies are free, the minibar is great for storing milk and baby food, and the hotel has even hosted christenings.
Rates From €111 a night.
Masseria Torre Coccaro
Style Refined fortress
Setting Sea-scented olive groves
Children can let off steam in the lifeguard-monitored pool, the hotel’s garden, or in the surrounding farmland (the Masseria is a working farm). Bikes are free to borrow (but no baby seats or children’s helmets, sadly), and the Mini Club at the beach is close by. In fact, there’s so much for kids to do that you can be left in peace for hours, to enjoy the Turkish baths and Aveda spa. If you feel like venturing beyond the masseria, you’ll find plenty to amuse even the liveliest children among the rollercoaster rides, dolphins and elephants at the nearby Zoosafari amusement park. The hotel also has a private yacht you can hire for seafaring family jaunts.
Rates From €262 a night.
Style Couture comforts
Setting Green, historic Fredericksburg
Book a Family Room at this slick showcase of Danish design, which lies close to Copenhagen’s most child-friendly attractions, such as the Tivoli theme park, the zoo and the circus museum. The sandpit, toys (including skipping ropes and diabolos) and mini-library will occupy young visitors while the grown-ups make the most of the cool and cosy lounge-bar.
Rates From DKK1,175 a night.
Style Afro/Asian finca
Setting Backcountry oasis
The Med’s top party island may not seem an obvious choice for travels with children, but the laid-back Atzaró in peaceful central Ibiza is a whitewashed family-run, family-friendly finca. Every room has a private terrace, and some of the villas away from the main building have kitchens too. The extensive grounds are good for junior explorers, and the outdoor pool, spa and sauna will help even the most frazzled parents unwind. There are good dive schools in Cala San Vicente (on the north side of the island) and in the Marina area of Santa Eulalia (for children of 12 and above).
Rates From €150 a night.
Hotel de Russie
Style Grandeur with gardens
Setting Between the Spanish Steps and Piazza del Popolo
This family-friendly hotel’s huge garden is a calm haven after full-on Rome. Mini Attenboroughs will love the hotel’s Secret Garden, where the Butterfly Oasis butterfly reserve is endorsed by the World Wildlife Fund. Junior Smiths also enjoy DVDs and PlayStation 2 consoles, together with children’s toiletries, pint-sized robes and slippers made especially for small feet. Young children are given a Hotel de Russie teddy bear, milk and biscuits; and eight- to 12-year-olds will also be treated to chocolates and a cartoon guide to Rome.
Rates From €737 a night.
La Fuente de la Higuera
Style Trad Andalucian
Setting Close but no costa
Set in a secluded spot of Andalucia, this converted 18th-century olive mill is ideal for active youngsters, with horse riding, mountain biking and guided walks all arrangeable in the surrounding countryside. Every room has at least one private (and enclosed) terrace for outdoor play. The Double Suite has two bedrooms, or, if you’ve older kids, the Junior Suite has an adjoining Standard Room. Parents are welcome to store baby milk and children’s food in the kitchens, and the chef is always happy to dish up child-friendly foodstuffs, but if you’d prefer to feed your family yourself, book the hotel’s self-catering lodge.
Rates From £148 a night.
Style Rustic-luxe former farm
Setting Sheep-lined cypress hill
Outdoor adventures abound at this hilltop Tuscan retreat, where parents can lounge in the Jacuzzi while the youngsters splash around on inflatables in the adjacent infinity pool. There are acres of space to cavort in, and mountain bikes to borrow. The Pig Sty Suite (named for its origins, not its decor) has a sofa-bed that can be closed off from the rest of the room and the hotel has a full kitchen so you can whip up family feasts.
Rates From €250 a night.