Fancy a splurge this summer? Here’s a selection of Europe’s most exclusive resorts… and don’t worry, I’ve made sure the kids are welcome too.
Kresten Royal Villas & Spa, Rhodes
For a country even more messed-up than our own, Greece is still capable of some awesome luxury resorts. Opened in 2012, the Kresten Royal Villas & Spa (pictured) is a five-star hotel overlooking the Aegean on Rhodes. Sharp styling, fab sea views and 256 rooms and suites are all within a stroll of the newly-restored Kalithea mineral springs, and a 6km taxi ride of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Rhodes Town.
Details: olympicholidays.com; thekrestenroyal.gr.
Martinhal Beach Resort & Hotel, Portugal
Set within a protected national park and overlooking a sandy strip of the Algarve near Sagres, Martinhal Beach Resort & Hotel has certainly got its location right. A choice of luxury rooms and villas with sea views, a fine dining restaurant and a spa named Finisterra – “ends of the earth” – are the icing on the cake. Younger guests can look forward to kids’ clubs, watersports, T-shirt printing, cookery classes, football, tennis and more. Ryanair and Aer Lingus fly to Faro.
Details: martinhal.com; Ryanair.com; aerlingus.com.
The Sensatori Experience, Tenerife & Egypt
Several Irish tour operators say they’re seeing an increase in customers booking Thomson’s Sensatori product. Perhaps that’s because the resorts pair “affordable” five-star rooms with the full spectrum of family facilities, from fine dining to lagoon-like pools, live shows and discovery days for kids. Thomson Holidays has packages at the Tenerife Sensatori Resort, whilst Cassidy Travel has the Sharm el Sheikh Sensatori from €2,647 for two adults and one child departing September 4th.
Details: thomsonholidays.ie; cassidytravel.ie.
Princesa Yaiza, Lanzarote
Here’s a luxury resort that will be familiar with many Irish package holidaymakers. The five-star Princesa Yaiza is one of the most popular top-end escapes on the Canary Islands, pairing stylish surrounds with a prime seafront location, stunning pools and little extras like – oh, I don’t know, waterfalls in tropical gardens, anyone?
Details: sunway.ie; princesayaiza.com.
Kempinski Hotel, Barbaros Bay, Turkey
Turkey’s been the rising star of summer holidays for several years now, selling its sun, sea and sand at an affordable prices. It does top-end too, however – and nowhere more so than at the Kempinski Hotel at Barbaros Bay. An ideal escape for young couples with a small baby, this is a hip resort with an award-winning spa, private beach and children’s club near Bodrum.
Details: kempinski.com; itcclassics.co.uk; wingsabroad.ie.
Resort & Spa Le Dune, Sardinia
“If the children are happy, then their parents are happy too.” That’s the thinking at Le Dune, a beachfront complex bundling no less than five different hotels in Sardinia. Overlooking the northern coast at Badesi Marinia, framed by hills and sand dunes, the resort has enough activities to keep the busiest of families occupied – from pools to playparks, cinemas to themed parties, inflatable pirate ships to educational trails and kids’ clubs.
Details: resortledune.com; concordetravel.ie.
Alpenpark Family & Spa Resort, Seefeld, Austria
A summer holiday in Austria? Spa breaks don’t have to be solely for adults you know. This resort and spa in Tirol has a 750m2 spa area devoted to families, complete with splash pool, water slide, Finish sauna, infra-red cabin and a suite of steambaths. A play area, children’s club, water canons, puzzles and toddler slides are other family-friendly facilities.
Details: crystalsummer.ie; alpenpark-seefeld.com.
Hotel Caesar Augustus, Capri
It doesn’t accept children under 10 years of age, but somehow, we don’t think guests at Capri’s Hotel Caesar Augustus will be unduly worried. Readers of Condé Nast Traveller voted this their Top European Resort after all, and views look out from 1,000-feet above the Bay of Naples. The Caesar Augustus is a former Russian prince’s mansion, today a Relais & Chateaux hotel, and boasts a world-class spa, split-level infinity pool and luxury rooms with private balconies just a short stroll from Anacapri. And the prices? If you have to ask… well, ok then, rooms start from €460 per night in high season.
Details: relaischateaux.com; travelmood.ie; caesar-augustus.com.
Westin Dragonara, Malta
Malta’s merits as a Mediterranean bolthole are well-known at this stage, but the Westin Dragonara Resort takes things up a level. Set on a private peninsula, the 344-room resort boasts two outdoor pools, a private beach and watersports ranging from windsurfing to fishing, parasailing and diving. In-room spa treatments are an option for adults, and younger guests can enjoy a kids’ club – plus the option to order their food ahead of time, so it will be ready and waiting when they arrive.
Details: westin.com/malta; concordetravel.ie.
NB: Prices and availability correct going to press, but subject to change. Packages include flights, transfers and taxes except where stated otherwise. This feature originally appeared in The Irish Independent.