The best family holidays create cherished memories but can involve serious planning. For inspiration in 2018, try these recommendations from travel specialist Carrier
Carrier has made it easy to experience some of the world's finest places designed with families in mind, from fly, flop and forget-about-it beach breaks to exhilarating ski trips and multi-generational adventures. Below are five suggestions for groups of all ages and sizes.
BEST FOR: AN ALL-INCLUSIVE FAMILY ESCAPE
Grand Velas Riviera Maya, Mexico
The all-encompassing Grand Velas guarantees interconnecting rooms in its two sections of family-friendly accommodation. Choose between breathtaking ocean views from the Ambassador Suites, poised by the pristine white shores of the Caribbean coast, or gawp-inducing vistas from the Zen Grand Suites, spacious hideaways tucked away in the Mayan jungle. Then say 'yes' to everything: the ice-cold tequila cocktails mixed by your friendly private butler; a sprawling family dinner at one of the hotel's eight incredible restaurants; a snorkelling tour of the nearby crystalline waters. And to your children's requests to hang out in the Grand Velas Kids' Club, where they can get involved with arts and crafts such as piñata making, or an air hockey challenge in the Teens' Club. With everything included, there's carte blanche to indulge in it all.
BEST FOR: A REALLY EXCEPTIONAL KIDS' CLUB
Soneva Fushi, Maldives
This Robinson Crusoe hideaway, famed for its understated luxury, has always been an ideal destination for an exquisite family escape and soon, thanks to the recent launch of its superbly designed kids' club The Den, Soneva Fushi will be heralded as the ultimate Maldivian family property. Newly opened last summer, The Den is a thrilling playground, complete with cinema, library, two swimming pools, a room dedicated to Lego and another filled with musical instruments. From a model pirate ship on the powder white beach, a tunnel leads children to organic gardens filled with swings and tree-top nests begging to be explored. Teens can zipline through the surrounding jungle before grabbing a drink at the club's mocktail bar. Back on the ground, toddlers are catered for with their own shallow pool. The only drawback? Adults aren't allowed. So while the kids are entranced, we suggest you slope off to the outstanding Six Senses Spa.
Martinhal Beach Resort & Hotel, Portugal
This stylish, laid-back seafront resort on the unspoilt Western Algarve ticks off plenty on our beach-bliss list. For a start, every detail has been carefully considered for families of all ages and stages, from the dedicated baby concierge to the adolescent-approved Blue Room via five different age-graded kids' clubs. To describe this five-star resort as merely family-friendly is an understatement. Eating out all together is a real experience thanks to imaginative children's menus in each of the four restaurants, each of which have kids' corners to keep little ones entertained while you dine. There are also dozens of activities that make the most of the beautiful seaside location - dolphin-watching, fishing, hiking, biking and horse riding - as well as opportunities to acquire football, surfing and swimming skills. Then your entire clan can relax - tween, teen and baby massages are on offer at the impressive Finisterra Spa, alongside family treatments.
BEST FOR: SNOW ANGELS
Four Seasons Resort & Residences Whistler, Canada
Whether you're introducing your youngsters to the thrills of the ski slopes or gearing up to race older offspring down black runs, there are few snow resorts in the world better equipped for a more relaxing family holiday than this sumptuous mountain residence. Behold scenic grandeur (courtesy of Whistler and Blackcomb mountains), spotless luxury (cocoon-like bedrooms, cavernous bathrooms and cosy wooden interiors) and thoughtful touches (junior bathrobes, child-sized breakfast buffet). The slopes are a speedy shuttle away and a dedicated ski concierge whisks skis, boots and poles to the nearby lift for hassle-free access. Whistler is an undisputed snow paradise - sleigh rides, skating under the stars, heli-skiing, dog sledding, zip-wiring through frosted trees and campfire dinners abound - and exploring it all from the unparalleled comfort of a Four Seasons hotel will only make your family snow trip more special.
BEST FOR: A HOME FROM HOME
Borgo Egnazia, Italy
You'll feel instantly relaxed in this gloriously elegant hotel on Puglia's Adriatic coast. Families of all sizes will find their ideal roost, with the choice of sumptuous rooms at La Corte and exquisite townhouses and villas at Il Borgo. There are also four pools to jump in, including a heated family pool, two beach clubs for water sports and an impressive football academy. Need some parental downtime? Install your offspring in the carefully designed Trullalleri children's club or the Fichi d'India Teens' Club (they won't take any persuading, we promise) then take in the stunning views along with a perfectly mixed spritz. For supper there's Da Puccetta, a dedicated children's restaurant; or summon a private chef to whip up a delectable Mediterranean meal. And as it's open year round, you can go whenever you like.