Dream Design
The Reading Room

Travel with your tribe - fly and flop

6 min read

Explore the world combining quality family time together with seeing new things and learning new tricks. We reveal some of our favourite parent-pleasing places that fulfil the dreams of young and old.

Asia, Cambodia, Song Saa Private Island, family walking
Stories for... The Head

One&Only Reethi Rah

Island Life in the Indian Ocean

Meaning ‘beautiful island’ in the local Maldivian tongue, One&Only’s flagship has aged like a fine wine since its original opening 15 years ago. A contemporary escape resplendent with no less than a dozen beaches, six restaurants and a one-of-a-kind certified dive centre, its all-singing-all-dancing nature has earned it grande dame status in the Maldives. Here exists an inimitable class of castaway comfort rooted in exceptional standards of elegance.

Large enough to operate in its own time zone and referred to as King’s Island by locals in the know, this octopus-shaped expansive resort manages to maintain a remarkable air of intimacy. Best traversed by golf cart or bicycle, winding jungle paths lead to hidden nooks, immaculately manicured gardens and regal beach clubs where fashion-forward guests lounge in private cabanas sipping sundowners and enjoying uninterrupted views across the ocean.

This is an all-villa resort and you won’t go wrong choosing any of them. The chic beach villas sit discreetly peppered along the shoreline, each with rooms that spill out onto their own private stretches of flour-fine sand. 

Adults will love:adrenaline-filled days on jet skis, meditation sessions and a stellar spa. 

Kids will love: pirate cruises, scavenger hunts and the island’s coral propagation project.

Jumby Bay Island, Antigua

Carribean Castaways

Much like the Antiguan word that inspired its name (jumbee meaning ‘playful spirit’), the laid-back feeling of Jumby Bay Island is tangible from the moment you step onto the welcome dock. The fortunate few who make it here are encouraged to roam wild and free. A destination in its own right, this is an alternative bolthole from the flashier hot spots in this part of the world, like chichi St Barths and the celebrity magnet of Mustique.

Style abounds on Jumby, to be sure, but it’s a style that’s beach chic and has an appreciation for the finer things in life – it is really not the kind of place to come looking for manicured golf courses and non-stop nightlife.n the island’s black belly sheep and helping at the Hawksbill Turtle Preservation Programme. You, meanwhile, can get in some serious R&R in a hammock by the infinity pool or in the spa. Or if you’re feeling active, explore the protected shoreline by bike, take to the water or play croquet or tennis.

The needs of minors are considered here as much as adults’ are, so there’s always some form of school holiday high jinks for them to join. 

Adults will love: The fact that a mere 15 minutes after leaving Antigua airport, you can be sipping a cocktail as the kids frolic on the white sands.

Kids will love: The freedom to run wild in a totally car-free environment.

Carlisle Bay, Antigua

Wildlife & Watersports in the West Indies

Young travellers aged between six months and six years can join the Cool Kids Club at Carlisle Bay, where treasure hunts and arts & crafts sessions make up only a small fraction of the activities on offer. From raft building to zip-wiring, the Crew Blue program is ideal for those seeking more active pursuits, aimed at older children aged seven to twelve.

With a heavenly beachfront setting against a backdrop of lush hills and tropical forest, this resort has separate adult and family sections, meaning you won’t ever feel your offspring are getting under anyone’s feet. Child-friendly dining at Indigo on the Beach (grills, seafood and salads) includes flexible kid’s menus, or there’s pizza and other Italian fare at poolside Ottimo! and pan-Asian at East.

Serene, spacious ocean-view suites are just the ticket for families – prize picks are the Beach Terrace Suites with direct access to the family half of the crescent beach. 

Adults will love: Sundowners around the copper firepit at the sand-between-the-toes Jetty Bar.

Children will love: Kayaking trips to see turtles.

Rosewood Mayakoba, Mexico

Mayan Mysteries & Pirate Parties

The surrounding Riviera Maya region inspires many of the family activities at Mexico’s graceful Rosewood Mayakoba, set along winding lagoons within 1,600 acres beside a mile-long white-sand beach. Think Mayan storytelling, Spanish and Mayan lessons and even biologist-led eco boat-trips. As if all that wasn’t fun enough, there are also scavenger hunts, yoga classes and pizza- or cookie-making classes.

Where parents are concerned, the spa is the stunner; based on its own island, it’s designed around a cenote (a sinkhole held sacred by the Mayans). Don’t miss the three-hour Kuxtal Sensory Garden experience inspired by the Mayan belief in the symbiosis between humans and plants, or, for tweens and teens, the facials, manicures and pedicures. 

Atlantis, The Palm

Middle Eastern Magic

Outlandishly child-friendly, Atlantis, The Palm, is the ultimate aquatic playground. The scene is set by the huge aquarium in the lobby, brimming with sharks, rays and other underwater wonders; then – a supreme water-based spectacle – Aquaventure Waterpark, to which guests have complimentary access to.

Guests who desire further VIP treatment can select the Imperial Club, which comes complete with private check-in at the Royal Majilis lounge, exclusive private Imperial Beach Club access, and all-day access to the Imperial Club Lounge featuring complimentary fresh bakery treats each morning, afternoon tea, and evening drinks and canapes. For those travelling with their children, the Imperial Club also offers daily complimentary entry into the Atlantis Kids Club.

Dining options throughout are equally impressive, from celebrity restaurants to a burger bar and regular Cirque De Cuisine ‘night brunches’ with street performers and acrobats.

Adults will love: The fact that suites come with a complimentary private cabana at the pool, beach and Aquaventure.

Kids will love: The Evening Adventures include eccentric Mad Scientist experiments.