Sprawling across 46 hectares on Dubai’s world-famous Palm Islands, this aquatic wonderland offers everything you could want at a resort and much more. Thrill-seekers can feel the rush at Aquaventure Waterpark, which features an award-winning aquarium (Dubai’s largest), water slides, splash zones for little ones and lots of animal encounters. Or jump into the fun at Wavehouse, where you’ll find a bowling alley, games arcade and the Surf’s Up wave rider. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, you’ll find 23 restaurants on offer at Atlantis, The Palm including options by celebrated chefs Gordon Ramsay and Giorgio Locatelli. Even the rooms are magic, especially the Underwater Suites, which boast floor-to-ceiling windows offering views of the 65,000 marine animals in the aquarium.
With a private beach on one side and dramatic mountain views on the other, this five-star resort in Cam Ranh Bay is picture-perfect. Spend your days lounging beside one of three pools edged with bougainvillaeas, strolling through immaculate gardens or tasting your way through the resort’s four restaurants. Kids can head to the kids’ club or take part in daily water sports, yoga and tennis. The Anam now has indoor and outdoor movie theatres that screen a selection of movies daily. When it comes to exploring, the hotel staff can organise a fishing excursion in a traditional Vietnamese boat or a number of cultural experiences.
Fun-filled adventures are endless when Disneyland is on your doorstep. Blending into its surroundings, Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel is a lavish Victorian palace nestled along the shores of the South China Sea. Kids can play the role of a princess for a day, meet their favourite Disney characters at the Grand Staircase, partake in games in the Children’s Activity Center or head outside to the resort’s playground, pools and waterfall-themed slide and whirlpool. Test your navigation skills in a garden maze in the shape of Mickey Mouse, then feast on a selection of Asian and Western culinary creations.
4Sun City Resort SUN CITY, SOUTH AFRICA
Body surf and safari in the same resort? Yes please! Sun City Resort is the only retreat within two hours of Johannesburg where guests can go on a safari in the morning and then tear up the waves in the afternoon. The resort water park (Valley of Waves) is jam-packed with water slides and wave generators, as well as a Lazy River for anyone looking for a more relaxing time. Accommodation is spread across four main buildings and caters to families of all sizes.
After a long day exploring the magic of Paris’ Disney parks, a little bit of luxury is just what you deserve. Fortunately, Disneyland Hotel delivers this in spades. Just a five-minute walk away from the parks, this hotel also affords its guests extra time in Disneyland, outside of the usual opening hours. Visit one of the two restaurants to fuel up, a family favourite being the open-kitchen and buffet-style eatery Inventions, where you might just bump into a Disney character straight out of the movies.
Located in the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Banff National Park, Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise Canada is all about the great outdoors. Surrounded by soaring mountains, the immense Victoria Glacier and the green waters of Lake Louise, this luxury mountain resort offers year-round alfresco activities, with everything from skiing to horse riding and canoeing on the table. Concierge guides are available to help you plan your days, making your family trip stress-free and fun-filled.
A perennial New Zealand favourie, The Rees Hotel, Luxury Apartments & Lakeside Residences is the perfect place to stay. An exceptional library of rare books will excite any bibliophiles, and the fleet of mountain bikes available provide an easy way to explore the spectacular surroundings. Large rooms sleep up to six. Head into town on the courtesy shuttle bus for shopping, and maybe to try one of those famous Fergburgers.
8LEGOLAND Resort Hotel WINDSOR, UNITED KINGDOM
If your kids love playing with lego, then they won’t be able to wipe the smiles off their faces at LEGOLAND Resort Hotel in Windsor. Pick from Pirate-, Ninja- or Adventure-themed rooms and enjoy the ultimate sleepover experience during your LEGOLAND holiday – yes, LEGOLAND Park tickets are included. With interactive LEGO features around the hotel, imaginations will run wild, especially at the pirate-themed indoor water play area and pool. Wake up to breakfast served in BRICKS Family Restaurant and enjoy a range of evening entertainment before you hit the hay at night.
With six kilometres of private coastline, including 12 beaches and two stunning swimming pools, One&Only Reethi Rah makes this list year after year for good reason. As romantic as their beach and water villas look, there’s no reason why kids can’t have fun here, too. The luxury family villa caters for up to nine guests, and a complimentary kids club offers programs suitable for youngins through to teens. Water is the main attraction, so gear up to go snorkelling, diving, kayaking, on dolphin cruises… and so much more. Then get dry on the synthetic football field and tennis courts or the outdoor climbing wall.
9Giraffe Manor NAIROBI, KENYA
Somewhat of an icon, Giraffe Manor in Nairobi harks back to the 1930s when safari tourism was growing in popularity. This beautiful building is on nearly five hectares of private land and is lucky enough to be home to a herd of Rothschild’s giraffes, which like to pay a visit intermittently throughout the day – they’ve even been known to poke their head through a window in search of a treat. Getting up close and personal with these elegant creatures is a must here, and recommended experiences include taking a guided walk through the sanctuary or sharing your breakfast with one the long-legged animals.