FOR A SPLASHING GOOD TIME
Outrigger Laguna Phuket Beach Resort
The sprawling resort sits on a prime spot on Phuket’s famed Bangtao Beach. Accommodation options include the Family Room and the two-bedroom Villa. The Family Room on the ground floor is perfect for two adults and two children up to the age of 12, with its large outdoor area, spacious bathroom, and a choice of a king-size bed or two twin beds, a daybed and an extra bed. The Villa perfect for a family of six, with one king-sized bed and two twin beds.
One of the resort’s central features is the massive waterpark, with waterfalls, a curvy water slide for hours of fun, and an outdoor pool that overlooks the beach. There’s also an outdoor playground and the Koh Kids Club, which offers supervised activities and entertainment. Enjoy the unique charm of the Bangtao beach area by shopping at the local markets, visiting Thai temples, horse riding, and dining at the inexpensive food outlets – it all makes for an enjoyable family outing.
PRICE: A one-night stay at the resort starts from THB3,495 ($136) per night. www.outriggerthailand.com/laguna-phuket-beach-resort/
Four Seasons Resort Langkawi
This luxurious Malaysian retreat is located within the pristine Langkawi Geopark, a geological and ecological wonderland of 550-million-year-old rock formations, mountainous rainforest and deserted islands. Outdoorsy, nature-loving families will find plenty to do here, from rock-climbing and abseiling for adults and kids as young as five, to water sports like kayaking, snorkelling, wind surfing and paddle boarding.
The resort also offers safari tours by boat, foot and kayak: Explore ancient mangrove forests, where you may see eagles, otters, colourful tree-climbing crabs, and fish that “walk”; check out the 1.2-metre-tall hornbill on a bird-watching excursion through Gunung Raya, Langkawi’s tallest peak; hike through the rainforest on Pulau Langgun; or catch squid on a squid scooping tour. Your kids will love the Kids Club, in its own building, complete with an adventure playground and a large garden. There, they can create art from recycled materials, try children’s yoga, take part in treasure hunts, and learn about traditional Malaysian culture through batik painting and kite making.
The resort has 90 pavilions and villas in tropical beachfront gardens, but for that true “beach holiday” feel, why not stay in one of the 10 Family Beach Houses? Each unit is just steps away from the sand, and features a private plunge pool, spacious dining and living areas, and a children’s bedroom equipped with board games, sandcastle-making kits, an LCD-screen television and a PS3 game console.
PRICE: One night in the Family Beach House starts from MYR$5,940 ($2,326), plus 10 per cent service charge. It includes breakfast for two adults and two children. www.fourseasons.com/langkawi
KIDS’ PERKS GALORE
Sheraton Bali Kuta Resort
It’s a new resort in the popular Kuta Beach area, and is the epitome of luxury, with an outdoor infinity pool, dining options, an impressive spa and rooms offering views of the beach and sea.
The resort recently launched its Play@Sheraton Family Package, tailored to younger travellers up to 12 years old. The Play@Sheraton team will get in touch with you prior to your arrival, to find out about your children’s interests. Upon checking in, each child receives a drawstring bag filled with kid-friendly items. In-room, they will find kid-sized hooded bathrobes, bath amenities and slippers. The package includes complimentary access to the Play@Sheraton Kids Club, where they can learn about Balinese culture, socialise with other children, watch movies, create works of art, read, build sandcastles in the sand pit, and play PS3 games.
The perks don’t stop there. Also part of the package is a mani-pedi for the kids, and daily breakfast for two adults and two children under 12. Children get the SPG Kids Pass, which gives them all-inclusive access to a variety of dining options, including children’s menus, buffets and beverages during their stay. They’ll receive a free-flow bottle too, which they can fill up with chilled juices or milk at any of the resort’s venues. While the kids are having fun, Mum and Dad can indulge in retail therapy at the attached beachside shopping complex or enjoy a Balinese temple tour.
PRICE: The family package starts from US$200++ ($250++) a room a night for one room, for a minimum two-night stay. It includes access to the Play@Sheraton Kids Club and daily breakfast for two adults and two children under 12 years old. www.sheraton.com/balikuta
ALL FUN AND GAMES
Shangri-La Rasa Ria Resort
Kota Kinabalu, East Malaysia
This resort on Pantai Dalit Beach in East Malaysia is surrounded by the Rasa Ria Nature Reserve and fronted by a sparkling blue ocean. Besides popular sea sports like jet skiing, hydro-biking, banana boat rides, boogie boarding and kayaking, you and your family can try horse riding, petanque, golf, and table tennis. The resort also offers guided river excursions and bicycle tours.
Head for the nearby Rasa Ria Nature Reserve, which was established by the resort in collaboration with the State Wildlife Department of Sabah. A protected ecological space, the reserve aims to facilitate rehabilitation programmes for endangered species, and those native to Sabah. Its activities include jungle walks, bird watching, orang-utan viewing, and nocturnal animal watching. Most are suitable for kids aged five and older.
Your kids can also try the Ranger Experience, which lets them assist the reserve’s rangers in their work. Children aged 11 and older will like the Researcher Experience, where they’ll study flora and fauna at the reserve. Back at the resort, there’s lots for the kids to do – coconut leaf weaving, pony rides, face painting, baking, seashell collecting, batik painting, origami and hopscotch and more.
PRICE: Rates start at RM780++ a night. http://www.shangri-la.com/kotakinabalu/rasariaresort/
THE PERFECT DE-STRESSER
Anantara Seminyak Bali Resort & Spa
Surrounded by ocean and coconut palms this is the ideal family retreat, which has beautiful sea views and expansive balconies from which to enjoy them, as well as a relaxing infinity pool that faces the Indian Ocean. The suites are packed with modern comforts to help you relax, including jacuzzi terrazzo tubs, outdoor loungers, and roomy living areas complete with satellite TV.
The resort has plenty of on-site activities for the whole family, like beachminton (badminton on the beach), kite-flying and water sports. Away from the resort, try an elephant safari, horse riding, river rafting and snorkelling. Of course, you can also shop at countless stores and markets in Kuta, Legian and Nusa Dua.
To ease your kids into relaxation mode, the resort’s spa offers a Kids Spa menu. Services include a 30-minute chocolate oil massage for children aged two to 12, mani-pedis for girls using fresh strawberries and featuring nail art, and hand and foot massages for boys using chocolate butter.
PRICE: A one-night stay at a suite starts from US$555++ (S$690) per night. http://bali.anantara.com
This article was originally published in Simply Her October 2014.
All product and pricing information was correct at the time of the magazine’s publication. We advise readers to check with the stores for the latest availability and pricing information.