Smith Travel BlogTravel tales and hotel news from the boutique hotel experts at Mr & Mrs Smith

Top 10 child-friendly hotels in Europe

Posted by Anthony Leyton on January 26th, 2010

Anyone who thinks style, luxury and children can’t go hand in tiny hand hasn’t explored our Smith & Kids collection of child-friendly boutique hotels. Following our round-up of the top 10 UK hotels for travellers with tots in tow – and, of course, Kayt Sukel’s run-down of top children’s travel accessories –  we give you our run down of the best hotels on the Continent for those bringing the brood.

The outdoor pool at Château de Saint Paterne

Château de Saint Paterne
Normandy, France

Style Chic stately retreat
Setting
Lush lands of the Loire

There are few kids who won’t be excited by the prospect of staying in a real-life castle. Château de Saint Paterne may be chic, styled and atmospheric, but the down-to-earth owners have made sure it’s equally welcoming to Smiths great and small. After a day spent bouncing around on trampolines, splashing about in the outdoor pool and testing their sporting skills on the ping-pong table, they can enjoy dinner tailored to petite palates, served around 7pm. Afterwards, book a babysitter and settle down for a romantic meal à deux in the château’s inventive restaurant.

Rates From €135 a night

Aquapura
Douro Valley, Portugal

Style Sprawling spa retreat
Setting
Dazzling Douro wine country

For parents, there’s the wine and the spa; for the offspring, there’s woodland to roam in, tennis courts, and an wealth of opportunities for messing about in boats. For everyone, there’s mind-blowing scenery.  Two- or three-bedroom villa have kitchens and private pools, but you can hand over responsibility for entertaining your clan to hotel staff (€20 an hour), and lose an afternoon wine tasting in the surroundings quintas.

Rates From £250 a night.

Hotel Savoy
Florence, Italy

Teddy bears and just-for-tykes cartoon city guides sit alongside chic Italian design at Hotel Savoy. When the young ones tire of art galleries and architecture, distract them with the hotel’s selection of child-tailored DVDs and PlayStations while you enjoy an in-room massage. Dining en famille is similarly stress-free, with a children’s menu boasting junior delights such as Captain Nemo fish fingers, and colouring books and small toys to keep teenies entertained between bites. All under-14s receive a special gift on arrival, too.

Rates From €440 a night.

Londa
Limassol
, Cyprus

Style Subtle, soothing and smart
Setting Medside Limassol

You might not expect Cyprus’ first couture getaway to offer a child-friendly welcome, but this stylish sanctuary does just that. By day the little and the not-so-little can enjoy its sheltered beach (arm bands and inflatables on hand); by night, you can hire a babysitter and sip cocktails in the bar while the resident DJ spins his stuff. Cots for babies are free, the minibar is great for storing milk and baby food, and the hotel has even hosted christenings.

Rates From €111 a night.

Masseria Torre Coccaro
Puglia, Italy

Style Refined fortress
Setting Sea-scented olive groves

Children can let off steam in the lifeguard-monitored pool, the hotel’s garden, or in the surrounding farmland (the Masseria is a working farm). Bikes are free to borrow (but no baby seats or children’s helmets, sadly), and the Mini Club at the beach is close by. In fact, there’s so much for kids to do that you can be left in peace for hours, to enjoy the Turkish baths and Aveda spa. If you feel like venturing beyond the masseria, you’ll find plenty to amuse even the liveliest children among the rollercoaster rides, dolphins and elephants at the nearby Zoosafari amusement park. The hotel also has a private yacht you can hire for seafaring family jaunts.

Rates From €262 a night.

Avenue Hotel
Copenhagen, Denmark

Style Couture comforts
Setting Green, historic Fredericksburg

Book a Family Room at this slick showcase of Danish design, which lies close to Copenhagen’s most child-friendly attractions, such as the Tivoli theme park, the zoo and the circus museum. The sandpit, toys (including skipping ropes and diabolos) and mini-library will occupy young visitors while the grown-ups make the most of the cool and cosy lounge-bar.

Rates From DKK1,175 a night.

Atzaró
Ibiza, Spain

Style Afro/Asian finca
Setting
Backcountry oasis

The Med’s top party island may not seem an obvious choice for travels with children, but the laid-back Atzaró in peaceful central Ibiza is a whitewashed family-run, family-friendly finca. Every room has a private terrace, and some of the villas away from the main building have kitchens too. The extensive grounds are good for junior explorers, and the outdoor pool, spa and sauna will help even the most frazzled parents unwind. There are good dive schools in Cala San Vicente (on the north side of the island) and in the Marina area of Santa Eulalia (for children of 12 and above).

Rates From €150 a night.

Hotel de Russie
Rome, Italy

Style Grandeur with gardens
Setting Between the Spanish Steps and Piazza del Popolo

This family-friendly hotel’s huge garden is a calm haven after full-on Rome. Mini Attenboroughs will love the hotel’s Secret Garden, where the Butterfly Oasis butterfly reserve is endorsed by the World Wildlife Fund. Junior Smiths also enjoy DVDs and PlayStation 2 consoles, together with children’s toiletries, pint-sized robes and slippers made especially for small feet. Young children are given a Hotel de Russie teddy bear, milk and biscuits; and eight- to 12-year-olds will also be treated to chocolates and a cartoon guide to Rome.

Rates From €737 a night.

La Fuente de la Higuera
Ronda, Spain

Style Trad Andalucian
Setting
Close but no costa

Set in a secluded spot of Andalucia, this converted 18th-century olive mill is ideal for active youngsters, with horse riding, mountain biking and guided walks all arrangeable in the surrounding countryside. Every room has at least one private (and enclosed) terrace for outdoor play. The Double Suite has two bedrooms, or, if you’ve older kids, the Junior Suite has an adjoining Standard Room. Parents are welcome to store baby milk and children’s food in the kitchens, and the chef is always happy to dish up child-friendly foodstuffs, but if you’d prefer to feed your family yourself, book the hotel’s self-catering lodge.

Rates From £148 a night.

La Bandita
Tuscany
, Italy

Style Rustic-luxe former farm
Setting Sheep-lined cypress hill

Outdoor adventures abound at this hilltop Tuscan retreat, where parents can lounge in the Jacuzzi while the youngsters splash around on inflatables in the adjacent infinity pool. There are acres of space to cavort in, and mountain bikes to borrow. The Pig Sty Suite (named for its origins, not its decor) has a sofa-bed that can be closed off from the rest of the room and the hotel has a full kitchen so you can whip up family feasts.

Rates From €250 a night.

 

Explore the entire Smith child-friendly hotel collection, or hop over to Smith & Family, our parent-approved collection of family hotels and child-friendly stays…

Compiled by Abi Dare.

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28 Responses to “Top 10 child-friendly hotels in Europe”

  1. If/when I have kids, I know where to stay. Château de Saint Paterne sounds especially appealing!

    By Erica

  2. Really? Hotel de Russie? If only I can afford the 700 Euro price tag per night. Limassol, Cyprus sound more like a reasonable stay for our family of 4. Or the Chateau de Saint Paterne in Normandy.

    By Jen Laceda

  3. I’m glad to see that two hotels out of 10 in all of Europe are in Tuscany!
    Do you also take into account the availability of a food-preparation area for babies’/ toddlers’ meals?

    By Alexandra

  4. Hi Alexandra. We take into account absolutely everything that could make a stay with children easier, including food prep areas, naturally.

    By Anthony

  5. Nice list – could have used one in Germany though!

    By Quebec

  6. Yes I like the sound of Chateau De Saint Paterne. This would be fantastic location for the family no matter what age the children are. Congratulations!

    By Amina

  7. […] SPC, separate from the mansion, with an inviting indoor pool looking over the gardens. It’s a child-friendly hotel […]

    By Stoke Park, Berkshire, Hotel of the week

  8. Please could you recommend a hotel in Barcelona for teenagers and younger children. Could it also have rooftop swimming pool. When we return we have a few days in Barcelona and thought we should go somewhere up the Costa Brava coast.

    By Tonia Rezek

  9. @Tonia There aren’t many truly family-friendly hotels in Barcelona, but at Grand Hotel Central, under 12s stay free, cots are available for babies, and there’s a babysitting service from €18 an hour. And, yes, it has a rooftop pool!

    A self-catered apartment can be a good choice for families, as it gives you more flexibility. At Destination BCN, cots for babies are provided at €7 a night; its Apartment Principal is the best option for families – it can sleep up to six, two on fold-out beds.

    For more ideas, check out our child-friendly Barcelona city guide

    By Lucy

  10. Could you possibly recommend a hotel on the Cote D’Azur that’s suitable for young children (we have a baby under 1 year)? We loved the Tiara Yaktsa but don’t remember it being particularly child-friendly. Thanks!

    By Toni

  11. @Toni Mais bien sûr! The French Riviera isn’t renowned for being child-friendly but there are options – Tiara Yaktsa in fact welcomes children and staff are super-accommodating.

    Alternatively, browse our family-friendly hotel collection for more ideas – try extending your search to Provence/Languedoc for more options, or contact our Travel Team for further assistance (0845 034 0700): Bastide St Matthieu in the Côte d’Azur also welcomes children, for example, but just hasn’t made it into our ‘child-friendly collection because it doesn’t have any special children’s facilities per se. Hope that helps!

    By Lucy

  12. Just looking for a child friendly hotel by the beach within 5 hours travel time for september.

    By Mark brown

  13. Hi Mark – five hours from the UK or…?

    By Lucy

  14. Hi we recently returned from our second day at Almyra in Cyprus – boutique hotel, great spa, and kids very welcome. Looking to stay someplace similar in Europe. My boys are 7, 5 and 3 so kids club, good swimming pool and early dinner sitting (amongst other guests who don’t look down on you and staff that understand) is what we’re looking for, without having to go buffet/downmarket. What can you recommend?

    By Angela McCardle

  15. Hi Angela,

    You’ve come to the right place! We can indeed recommend a variety of family-friendly boutique hotels that we think you’d love, although ‘Europe’ is quite a broad brief! If you’re UK-based, you might enjoy a staycation at super-kid-friendly Calcot Manor or St Moritz Hotel in Cornwall; Château de St Paterne offers en famille fun and unfussy food in a fairytale castle (no kids’ club, but plenty of things to do and nannies on hand); and Crete’s Domes of Elounda has a similar ‘sun, sand and happily occupied siblings’ offering. In Puglia, lovely Masseria Torre Cocarro has a free kids’ club for three- to 10-year-olds running in summer.
    For more ideas, check out our child-friendly hotel search, or if you’d rather talk to a human being, give us a ring!

    By Lucy

  16. Hi Mr & Mrs Smith,

    Great site. We stumbled upon a hard copy of your book while on holiday in Ubud, Bali and immediately hunted down your site.

    Do you have any child friendly suggestions for Sardina (Italy), Corsica (France) & Singapore?

    We will be traveling with an active 2 year old this coming June.

    Thanks,
    Jason

    By Jason Chin

  17. @Jason

    Why thank you – glad you found us! You can search our child-friendly hotel collection online here:

    http://www.mrandmrssmith.com/child-friendly-hotels

    But to answer your queries, we don’t currently recommend any specific family hotels in Sardinia or Corsica, although La Coluccia in Sardinia has beach access, a pool and does welcome children (under threes stay free in cots).

    In Singapore, your best bet is probably the Fullerton Bay Hotel, which also provides cots free for toddlers and can book you a babysitter if you need one; Wanderlust has themed interiors that your toddler would probably love, but they’re not really that child-friendly (sharp edges, snazzy lighting).

    Watch this space for more family-friendly hotel tips coming soon!

    By Lucy

  18. I´m looking for a holiday that can accomadate my 15 year old autistic son (dvd player will help) and 2 year old daughter. Where a childrens club can cater for both. My son has some food issues so a chef thats open to special diets. Also a spa, and therapies for extremely exhausted parents.Also 200 a night max!

    By kerry

  19. You sound like you really need a holiday! You haven’t given us much indication of how far you’d like to travel or whether you’d prefer a hotel or a villa? Your best bet is to give our Travel Team a call and see if they can help you. Otherwise try searching our child-friendly hotels for inspiration – hope you get the break you want.

    By Lucy

  20. Hiya, my husband and I are looking for a holiday with our one-year old. We would ideally like four hours (no more) travel time from the UK and somewhere relatively close to a beach. We love food and wine and would like to hire a car and explore while we are there. We are not into resorts and would prefer a hotel rather than villa. Can you recommend anything?

    By Zoe

  21. @Zoe Hello, some good options for your family might be:
    * Bellevue Syrene, Amalfi Coast
    * Tiara Yaktsa, Cannes
    * El Palauet, Barcelona
    * Martinhal Beach Resort, Algarve. As the name suggests, it is resort-y, but it’s also great for families
    * And also Masseria Torre Coccaro, Puglia, above…

    By Sarah

  22. Hi,

    We would be so obliged for your knowledgeable advice of a holiday.
    We are planning one-week holiday in August or October, with 3 boys aged 9, 6 and 1.5.
    Looking for a simple (and budget) place somewhere in Europe, with full pension, in a green place inside the nature, with options for active recreations in the area (walking, cycling, riding) and built with kids in mind, i.e. safe, and with some kind of challenging playground on-site or children park nearby where elder boys may sometimes safely have fun on their own.

    Thank you!

    By Natali

  23. Hi Natali,

    Thanks so much for your comment – tall order! I know there are plenty of fantastic options for your family holiday but unfortunately not yet where Mr & Mrs Smith have been to approve them personally; and not many of our handpicked boutique hotels offer full board, so you may have to shop around a bit to find something. In our current collection of child-friendly hotels and houses though I’d suggest the following:

    At Le Lodge Kerisper, a child-friendly hotel in Brittany, a Suite-Apartment can have up to three extra beds added (€35 each): they’re on the ground floor, with a shady, child-proof terrace. Older children can be kept busy fishing, sailing and playing tennis. Some of Brittany’s finest stretches of sand are just a 10-minute walk away (the hotel also has mountain bikes to borrow if you prefer pedal power).

    In Portugal, Memmo Baleeira‘s two-bedroom Memmo Suites are great for families, as they’ve lots of space, as well as a kitchenette to prepare meals in. There’s surfing for your older boys and a nice pool for the toddler.

    Domes of Elounda in Crete is a lovely getaway with pools, a little beach and kids’ club activities. There are three restaurants (two are Michelin-starred).

    I know these don’t exactly match your brief, but you’ll find more ideas on the Smith site. Please do come back and see us again later in the year, as we’re dedicating our summer to finding and reviewing the best family hotels. We know we’ll have some great suggestions for your October family holiday in Europe.

    By Lucy

  24. What a crazy list: do you even have kids?
    1. Château de Saint Paterne, Normandy, France
    trampolines, outdoor pool and ping-pong table

    Is that it? That takes you from breakfast until 10 past 10 (assuming breakfast finishes at 5 to 10)

    2. Aquapura

    woodland, tennis courts, and boats (seemingly without supervision as the parents are enjoying a spa)

    3. Hotel Savoy

    Seriously? Art galleries and DVDs? This is your idea of a child friendly holiday?

    At this point I give up. You have no idea at all, and I couldn’t be bothered to look through the list any further. No help whatsoever.

    By Tom Wisdom

  25. @Tom

    Hi there – sorry you feel that way. Yes, we do have kids; ranging in age from just months old to fussy teenagers. This list from 2010 featured our then-favourite child-friendly boutique hotels; ultimately, they are from a collection primarily curated for couples looking for romantic, stylish escapes. As such, they don’t claim to provide the ‘best family holidays’, but to provide good child-friendly facilities for parents looking to carve out a little time for themselves in stylish surroundings. However I dispute your claim that these hotels aren’t great for kids, too.

    Some parents still want to be able to take a city-break weekend from time to time, and to share the cultural pleasures on offer with their kids; at Hotel Savoy in Florence, all children under 14 get a welcome gift, and there are special menus, PlayStations for rent and baby amenities. Interconnecting rooms, extra beds (€20-€95 plus VAT), and babysitting are all available.

    At Château de Saint Paterne, extra beds can be added to all rooms, except Maréchal, for €15 a night (free if you book a family room); cots for babies cost nothing. Baby monitors can be borrowed. A special children’s dinner is served at 7.15pm. As well as the pool and trampoline, there are swings, a tree house, football goal posts, tennis courts and bicycles… The hotel also has local nannies on hand to step in when required (€8 an hour).

    We are currently in the process of building a brand-new, family-dedicated hotel collection of child-friendly hotels, family resorts and family-friendly holiday houses to run alongside our existing collection of romantic boutique hotels – hopefully you’ll find something there that better matches your ideal holiday?

    Best,

    By Lucy

  26. We are seeking a hotel in England to celebrate our 10yr wedding anniversary in October to stay for 3-4nts. We are travelling with our 5yr old twins who are both autistic and one has additional complex needs. We require a luxury setting with separate sleeping area for the boys. Outdoor space would be super too.
    Advice please.
    Many thanks, Kerrie

    By KERRIE

  27. @Kerrie

    We’d love to help! Autumn is a great time to visit the UK, and we’ve got lots of properties that might suit your needs. Just bear in mind that in the UK, schools close for half-term holiday around mid-October, so you might want to time your trip around those dates to get the best availability. For a luxury adventure, family-friendly spa hotel Chewton Glen in Hampshire has Tree House Loft Suites with cute separate sleeping areas that would be ideal.

    If the complex needs you mention affect your child’s mobility, however, perhaps consider one of the following:
    Bovey Castle in Devon (Lego by room service, Michelin-star dining, miles of great outdoor space, interconnecting room options or separate three-bedroom lodges)
    Calcot Manor in the Cotswolds (fantastic spa; Large Family Suites with separate kids’ bedroom; 220 acres to explore; excellent childcare)

    If you have specific dates in mind, our Travel Team can give you some more ideas; but in the meantime, you might like to hop over to our shiny new sister site, Smith & Family, or try searching the Mr & Mrs Smith child-friendly hotel collection.

    Good luck and do ring us if we can help more!

    By Lucy

  28. Hi, I’d like to find a place for my husband and I and our toddler for June for a week and finding it really hard to find somewhere! We’d like to be in the south of france (incl. corsica) or italy, preferably close to the sea. We are looking at the mazzeria torre coccaro but is there anywhere else we should consider. Don’t really want to stay in a resort and prefer smaller hotels. thanks!

    By stephanie

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