Travel // The Mr & Mrs Smith Awards 2016 for Best Family Hotel…

le-jardin-des-douard_little-green-shed_sept-2016-2A truly luxurious family-friendly stay treats it’s little guests with just as much style and substance as it’s grown-ups. The nominees in The Smith Awards 2016 category Best Family Hotel, offers up adventures for the little ones, while not compromising on quality time for the adults.  Let’s look at the nominees, and dream about booking our holiday for 2017…

the smith awards 2016 best family hotel

Castello di Casole, Tuscany, Italy

Little Smiths will feel right at home in 4,200 acres of luscious Tuscan countryside. If you’d like a private garden for your little ones to potter around in, book a spacious Oliveto suite or one of the Limonaia suites, some of which are spread across two levels. The hotel organises art classes, pizza-making cooking classes and gelato sessions which will bring smiles to all the family, while croquet, biking, swimming and cricket can be enjoyed whether young or old. All tired out? There’s a cinema and games room with a whole host of board games to borrow. The gamekeeper will escort little ones around the game reserve to spot wild boar, hare and pheasant and to top it all off, there’s a children’s menu to keep tummies as happy as hearts.

Rates: Double rooms from £472.80. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €5.00 per person per night on check-out. A generous Continental breakfast is usually included. WiFi is free, as is valet parking.

the smith awards 2016 best family hotelRosewood Tucker’s Point, Bermuda, Bermuda

This Bermudan hideaway will make a perfect bolthole for all the family. Kids from 4-12 can sign up for Camp Seahorse during the summer season, and enjoy active and creative pursuits such as swimming, baking, golf and tennis. Kids from 5-16 can be enrolled in pro-lead tennis lessons and little ones from 4 up can take part in golf, including introductory courses. The private beach makes seaside escapes stress and worry free, while you can borrow buckets, spades and snorkelling gear from the Watersports Hut. Fancy dipping your toes in the pool? The resort has four pools, so take your pick. You’ll want to choose the two-bedroom Manor House Suite for the most comfortable stay with space and privacy for the whole family, but equally the one-bedroom suites in the Manor House can fit a cot or extra bed if you’ve got a little one.

Rates: Double rooms from £579.55. Please note the hotel charges an additional service charge of $30.50 per person per night on check-out. Rates are room only. There is an additional $15 service fee per person per night for suites.

the smith awards 2016 best family hotelVila Monte Farm House, Algarve, Portugal

Vila Monte is a bohemian bolthole for your whole brood. The family-friendly pool has a swimming pool kitted out with Roman steps and pool toys aplenty, and the hotel will provide everything on request from bibs to baby baths. The Farm House will arrange pottery slinging, horse riding, fishing, dolphin-watching and boating for your littl’uns and outdoor play areas, bikes, activity packs and an open air cinema are sure to keep your little ones entertained. Should you wish to venture out of the hotel, head off to Fuseta Island to feel the sand between your toes at the beach, or to the charming fishing village of Tavira. For a little quiet time, there’s an adults-only pool too where you can kick back with a cocktail amongst the citrus trees and pink bougainvillea.

Rates from: Double rooms from £146.64. Rates include a buffet breakfast (usually €25 for adults and €12 for children) and parking.

the smith awards 2016 best family hotelEkies All Senses Resort, Halkidiki, Greece

As child-friendly as it is eco-friendly, Ekies is all about natural, laid back luxury. The private beach is perfect for small children, with soft sands and shallow azure waters, while the older kids will enjoy snorkelling and windsurfing on the nearby coral-reef. For the prime spot on the beach, choose the Junior Suites and Loft Suites, which sleep two adults and two children and most have an outdoor space. If you’re pining for the poolside, there’s a separate pool attached to the main, palm-fringed pool, perfect for toddlers. Just 300 metres away is the beautiful Karidi beach, where you’ll find a playground with swings, a playhouse and table tennis. Should a storm linger, there’s a pool table, a library, toys and a Mac for guest use in the hotel, alongside a communal kitchen table with beanbags where the whole family can veg out until the storm passes.

Rates: Double rooms from £79.81. Rates usually include a buffet breakfast featuring fruit, cereals and eggs cooked to order.

the smith awards 2016 best family hotelSamujana, Koh Samui, Thailand

Bag a villa here at the lush, luxurious hilltop villas of Samujana; some even have playrooms with table-top games, consoles or slides. Your villa host will tailor an activity programme to your little ones with Muay Thai, boxing, yoga sessions and cookery classes, and ATV and zipline adventures waiting in the jungle. Should it rain, there’s also an enormous television and a home cinema in which you can watch on-demand movies. The private pools don’t have shallow ends, but the decks have loungers, barbeque areas and dining tables so that you can easily keep an eye on your brood. If you prefer the beach, there’s an array of watersports on offer and, since you’re feeling sporty, why not have a family tennis tournament? With kids’ menus, high chairs and formula at your fingertips, and a babysitting and nanny service on offer, there’s little left to worry about here in paradise.

Rates: Double rooms from £436. Please note the hotel charges an additional service charge of 10% per room per night on check-out. Rates include breakfast (Continental, full English, American) served in your villa. Guests in three- and four-bedroom villas get a free one-way airport transfer by minivan (additional transfers THB850 each), free return transfers for higher categories.

the smith awards 2016 best family hotelMarbella Club, Marbella, Spain

It’s the kids’ village at Marbella Club which makes it a standout family favourite. On offer here, you’ll find something to entertain your little ones, whether it’s planting seeds in the dig-your-own garden, splashing about in the lagoon pool, whipping up a storm in the learning kitchen or burning off that energy in the art and music studio. With 78 family suites, there’s a room to suit you just moments from the beach. If the kid’s tire (we think it’s unlikely) of the kids’ club, golf and riding lessons can be arranged alongside bike rentals, while the Old Town is merely a stone’s throw away. After your day trip at the markets or dolphin-watching, put your feet up at the in-house restaurants, all of which have kids’ menus. For a little alone time, babysitting can be arranged so that you can go off to enjoy the Thalasso spa in peace.

Rates from: Double rooms from £394.46. Green fees at the golf club are included in the room rate. Breakfast is not included.

the smith awards 2016 best family hotel

Le Jardin des Douars, Essaouira, Morocco

Your little ones are unlikely to be bored here at Le Jardin des Douars. Friendly staff will treat your little ones like rockstars, whether they’re being pampered in the spa, paddling in the pool or being treated to adventures on quad-bikes, horseback or camelback. Maybe they prefer roaming the seas with windsurfing or kitesurfing, or perhaps they’re a budding chef looking to get creative in the kitchen. Family rooms are the best choice, with a double bedroom and another bunk room, or if you’re a larger lot, there’s the Douaria Rooms which are small, self-contained houses perfectly suited to bigger broods. Fancying some alone time? Babysitting is on offer, and we’d recommend a room in the main building if you’d like to sneak in a quiet dinner while you’re tots sleep. They’ll be dreaming sweetly of that morning breakfast of pancakes, home-made jams, fruit salad and hot chocolate.

Rates: Double rooms from £94.84. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of MAD30.00 per room per night on check-out. Rates include a Continental breakfast of flaky Moroccan pancakes, breads, home-made jams, cooked eggs, fruit salad and fresh orange juice, as well as tea, coffee and hot chocolate.

the smith awards 2016 best family hotelTreehotel, Norbotten County, Sweden

If you’re after a Merry Christmas set amongst the snowy treetops, or a summer spent filling your boots with hiking, climbing and bird-watching, then Sweden’s most inventive escape is for you. Take your pick from Lapland, a UFO, a bird’s nest or a huge treehouse, there’s something for everyone’s tastes, whether young or old. Keep a weather eye out for the Northern Lights, or perhaps for Nordic wildlife like moose and reindeer fresh out of a Disney animation. Fancy something a little more active, try snowshoeing, dog sledding or fly away on a zipline. On your return, keep an eye on the kids building snowmen on the forest floor whilst you simmer in your hot tub, before sharing a scrumptious campfire meal (there’s an ice cream sundae machine, but you might prefer to keep that to yourself).

Rates: Double rooms from £439.20. Rates include a buffet breakfast, served in Britta’s Guesthouse (the reception building), with pancakes, bacon and eggs, cheeses and meats, freshly baked bread with homemade jams, muesli and fresh orange juice.

the smith awards 2016 best family hotel

Hotel Esencia, Riviera Maya, Mexico

If Mr and Master love the high-octane adventure life, but Mrs and Miss prefer a poolside pamper, or perhaps it’s the other way around, there’s enough to keep all the family happy here. For the active ones, there’s on-site scuba instructors while the X-plor adventure camp offers zip lines, cave rafting and a whole host of vehicles to explore in. For beach-lovers, you’ll find a sandy, gently shelving coast with calm waters, whilst the energised can try their hand at watersports. One of the pools is family-friendly, and if you’d like a day relaxing with a cocktail by the adults-only pool, nannies can be arranged. The chef will prepare fresh fruit and vegetable purees for your little ones upon request, or simply order from the kid-friendly menu. The family will feel right at home in the garden cottages with their very own private pool, multimedia room, bar and chef.

Rates: Double rooms from £609.32. Rates exclude breakfast; à la carte items, which include coffee and teas, fruit-topped yogurts, porridge, pancakes, eggs many ways and freshly pressed juices, range from $5-$15.

the smith awards 2016 best family hotelJean-Michel Cousteau Resort, Fiji Islands, Fiji

As winner of the Best For Families category in last year’s Smith Hotel Awards, it’s no surprise it’s back in the running again. This South Pacific resort has been a favourite with families for some time now, thanks to its fantastic, free kids’ club and day-to-night nannies who tailor their service to your particular needs. For one-size-fits-all fun, head to the seas for watersports including kayaking, paddle boating and glass bottomed boat rides, or alternatively combine eco-friendly fun with culture vulture activities as you snorkel with a marine biologist or bake something delicious in a traditional sun oven. The two-bedroom Oceanfront Bures or Oceanfront Suite Bures offer the most luxurious stays for your brood, where indulgence and this island sanctuary come together in family-friendly bliss.

Rates: Double rooms from £1,006.81. All-inclusive rates cover à la carte meals, non-alcoholic drinks, kids’ club, nanny service (8am–9pm) and Fijian buddies for older children, most resort activities, meet and greet at Nadi and Savusavu domestic airports, and return Savusavu transfers.

Voting takes place Voting takes place 1–30 September (only a few days left to cast your vote) – head to to cast your vote for the Best Family Hotel (and all the other 12 categories – world’s sexiest bedroom!).  All who vote will be entered into a prize draw to win a £1,000 Smith gift card.

Which would you vote for?  Mine is on the treehouse in Sweden – OMG!

Collaborative Note:  This post is written in collaboration with Mr & Mrs Smith. Thank you for supporting the posts that make this blog possible.

Lou Archell, a writer, photographer, stylist and founder of Littlegreenshed.  A UK lifestyle & travel blog

Lou is also a busy mum of two amazing boys and the founder of Sisterhood Camp – an annual creative retreat for recharging and empowering brilliant ladies, Lou is passionate about supporting and inspiring others whether through her workshops, writing, photography or lifestyle hacks.