Let’s face it: holidaying with kids is pretty much the polar opposite of a relaxing break. Between the chaos of packing, the hours spent in the pool and the cacophony that soundtracks most kid-friendly resorts, it’s no wonder that parents come away from their vacation feeling frazzled. But parents don’t have to bid farewell to restorative retreats; family wellness holidays are becoming a huge travel trend, with parents now opting for laid-back, wellness-focused getaways for the whole family. Here are a couple of spots that are giving us all the holiday feels.
Four Seasons Resort, Chiang Mai
An easy two-hour flight from Hong Kong, Chiang Mai is known for eco-activities, spas, and action-packed day trips set against the lush northern Thai jungle. For families seeking some downtime, the Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai, situated in the lush Mae Rim Valley, is placing both families and wellness front and centre with their range of wellness programmes.
Traveling with multiple generations? Book into the Residences. These gorgeous two- to four-room villas offer families space and privacy, with plunge pools, pavilions and a living and dining area, meaning you don’t feel trapped in your room come naptime. The residences also have a decidedly family-friendly design – think wooden floors that are far safer for kids than slippery marble, and homey furnishings with no sharp corners in sight. The villas come with a live-in butler who can take care of anything, from putting guard rails on the bed to calling a buggy to take you around the resort.
Activities For Kids
There are daily free activities for the entire family, the highlight of which is the rice-planting. Dress up in traditional farmers’ garments and wade out to the hotel’s working paddy fields to learn more about the life cycle of this staple crop. Don’t miss the nature walk, an hour-long guided adventure that’ll take little ones on a tour of the expansive grounds, pointing out local flora and fauna along the way. Save a banana from breakfast for the friendly resident buffalos; guests are welcome to join in the buffalo-bathing, which takes place daily. You can also sign up for paid family activities such as cooking classes, Muay Thai and yoga.
Activities For Parents
Bespoke wellness itineraries are the name of the game here, and visitors can choose from an exhaustive menu of spa, yoga, Pilates, bootcamp, Muay Thai, TRX and more – check the website for inspiration. Drop the little ones at the well-appointed, supervised kids club, or book a babysitter with 24 hours notice. Or bring grandma along to watch the kids while you spa!
Raw, plant-based and nutritionally balanced dishes are gaining prominence among the hotel’s dining options. For instance, the buffet breakfast at Khao restaurant has added a roster of health- conscious choices, from superfood smoothies to raw bites, to name just a few. Don’t worry – you’ll still find pancakes and other treats for the little ones.
Six Senses Zighy Bay, Oman
Six Senses hotels have long been known for their ecological bent, and their Zighy Bay property on the coast of Oman has launched a range of programmes to entertain and educate little eco-warriors about the natural world.
It’s all about barefoot luxury here, with natural stone and wood structures inspired by the local architecture. Think cool flagstones underfoot and rustic, minimal decor. Each villa or suite has its own plunge pool.
Activities For Kids
Go on a tour of the hotel’s own farm and organic garden, and get up close with baby goats, camels, chickens and cows. Kids are encouraged to collect their own food for breakfast, all the while learning more about agriculture. Don’t miss the Earth Lab, where children are introduced to the concepts of upcycling and recycling through fun programmes; or the snorkeling adventure, where the hotel’s resident marine biologist teaches kids all about the ocean and the importance of conservation. There’s a kids club and separate teens club, both of which offer dozens of activities, from beach bowling and arts and crafts for the little ones, to slacklining, abseiling and moonlight kayaking for the teens.
Activities For Parents
Adrenaline junkies will find lots to do in Oman; the country is well known for its magnificent canyons, and rock-climbing carabiner adventures can be arranged through the hotel. For a once-in-a-lifetime adventure you can even go paragliding off the top of Zighy Mountain. Also not to be missed are mountain biking adventures, snorkeling, scuba and spectacular hikes.
Six Senses resorts also make a big environmental commitment in their kitchens. Zero-waste, sustainability and plastic-free are key tenets of their philosophy, and the hotel makes great efforts to avoid palm oil, source ethically and even make their own cheeses, milks, ice creams and more onsite.
Want more wellness travel info? Check out the best short-haul wellness retreats within easy reach of Hong Kong for some easy inspiration.