This is my first blog post for Monarch which is very exciting, it’s great to be part of the family. I have teamed up with Monarch to work on my brand-new travel website Hamilton’s Hotspots which is all about recommended travel as either a solo traveller, a couple or as a family. With two little ones of my own, what better way to start my first blog with some ideas on where to holiday with the family in 2017?
I have travelled with my children; Rocco age 3 and Tahlia 19 months since they were 3 weeks old. I flew to Austria with Rocco when I took part in The Jump just 3 weeks after he was born, and Tahlia’s first trip was to Palma, Mallorca. It wasn’t easy but I did it – even though I got some funny looks at the boarding gate. Travelling with young children doesn’t have to be difficult and I was definitely of the mentality that I DID NOT want my love of travel to stop once I had little one. One of my favourite sayings is ‘the world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page’, Rocco and Tahlia are extremely well read and long may that continue!
The children have now visited a few of the Caribbean islands, The Middle East, America, South Africa as well as to lots of countries in Europe. Next week we are off to Lapland and the day after we get back we are heading to the Canary Islands; two extremely different climates and scenery but it’s exciting. Even though we have been to lots of far-flung places I think that when you have children visiting the Canary Islands and the Balearics it is always a safe bet. On my travels, I have found that Mallorca, and Tenerife are two of the most family friendly places. I also think Cyprus is a great option, for that reason these places would be top of my list of countries to visit with the family this year!
The Canary Islands have a fantastic year-round climate. I found myself basking in 26 degrees on 9th December last year when I was filming in Tenerife. There are so many things to do with young children (who always need be kept occupied). If you don’t speak much Spanish it is easy to get by as a lot of people speak English. If you love shopping, then Tenerife is ideal. A visit to the Safari Centre in Playa de las Americas is a MUST where you will find lots of familiar brands. There are great beaches, brilliant water parks, go-karting tracks, basketball courts, fantastic soft plays and outdoor adventure activity parks. I would be surprised if you, or the children get bored. Add to that the fact that it’s excellent value for money, Tenerife is a great option when travelling with little ones can be costly.
Here are some suggestions of places to stay in the Canary Islands.
In Tenerife try 4* Parque Santiago III & IV Apartments in Playa de las Americas. There are very popular apartments in Tenerife that are always high in demand. They are perfect for families and will provide travel cots free of charge. There is a Splash Park on site with water slides and the Accommodation is centrally located it’s close to the beach, bars, restaurants and shops.
In Lanzarote try 4* Sands Beach resort, Costa Teguise. It is the ultimate family unit with a beautiful beachfront location and private beach. There is a Hotel Kids Club, 5 Separate children’s pools and a playground.
I have travelled to Fuerteventura a few times with the children and the 4* Barcelo Castillo Beach Resort, Costa Caleta is perfect for the family. It benefits from a beachfront location with a brilliant hotel Kids Club. There are 3 separate children’s pools, and entertainment shows during the day as well as in the evening.
The Balearics are another great option for family holidays with some of the most beautiful sandy cove beaches and clear turquoise waters. I would say in many ways the Balearics are comparable to the Canaries, with one of the few differences being the flight time. It’s around 4 hours to get to the Canaries whereas it’s usually just over two to get to the Balearics. If you are concerned about the extra two hours in the air with the children, then here are some of my top family picks in the Balearics for 2017.
Head to Ibiza and try Intertur Miami Ibiza Hotel & Apartments. This is a very popular hotel with Half Board, Full Board and All Inclusive options available at a supplement. It is located next to beautiful Es Cana beach and 500m from the main resort area. With regular day and evening entertainment which include professional evening shows it’s a lively place and great for the family. There are dancing competitions, daytime sports and a children’s pool with pirate ship and waterslides. The Kids Club is for children age 4-12yrs and best of all you can make FREE use of family utility room with a washing machine, fridge, ironing facilities and microwave for babies and toddlers use.
In Menorca try Princesa Playa Hotel & Apartments, 4*+ Cala ‘n Bosch / Son Xoriguer. The apartments here are on Self Catering Basis with available upgrades to Bed and Breakfast and Half Board. The Hotel rooms are on Bed and Breakfast basis with upgrades to Half Board and Full Board. This property is located in peaceful surrounding just 400m from the beach and 1km from the resort centre. If your young ones are sporty then they will be able to enjoy table tennis, a pool table, the tennis court, a sports court for basketball, and volleyball court as well as 5 a side football. For parents, there is a well-equipped Gym and Jacuzzi!
My first visit to Cyprus was just over 10 years ago with a friend. I hadn’t been back since having then children but in the last three years I have been three times twice to Larnarca and once to Paphos. Cyprus is a fascinating place with a lot of interesting history (some of it quite recent). It has an amazing summer climate, the food is delicious with lots of greek salads, meze, kebabs and fresh fish. Infact a lot of the restaurants have play areas for the children which means they can play whilst you dine. There are water parks, great shopping areas, some great Pirate boat days out for the children and some fascinating historical excursions too. Here are a few of my suggestions of places to stay.
If you are thinking of visiting Paphos there are two fabulous 5* options. There’s the All Inclusive Olympic Lagoon Resort Paphos which is is close to the centre of Paphos. It’s family friendly, luxurious and well-equipped, and is modern, chic and stylish throughout. The facilities include: 5 themed swimming pools, children’s pool with waterslides, 6 options for dining, 3 bars, sports court, 5 a side football, spa with treatments, sauna, Jacuzzi, gym, hotels kids club, hotel teen club, a football academy, a playground and indoor play area. Then there’s the 5* King Evelthon. This property is located on the sea front. The facilities include a swimming pool with an onsite water park, 4 options for dining, 4 bars, a hotel kids club and an entertainment program.
In the Larnaca area I would suggest the Papantonia Apartments 3*. This property offers great swimming pools for both adults and children, a large sunbathing terrace, entertainment and a setting that’s close to the sand and shingle Marlita Beach. For guaranteed family fun there is Unlimited FREE access to a nearby waterpark located 300 metres away at sister property Anastasia Hotel.
Thankfully it is just the start of 2017 so there is still plenty of time to book your family holiday but great places do get booked up quickly so to avoid disappointment do it sooner rather than later.
I hope you have found my first blog useful if some way. I will be back again soon and in the meantime, why not visit www.hamiltonshotspots.com where you can subscribe and enter the monthly prize draw of two return flights on Monarchs network.
Good Luck & Safe Travels!