The best gift parents can give themselves is a vacation that actually feels like a vacation.
The kids are off from school, but that doesn’t exactly make it a holiday for the grown-ups. Here are five awesome hotels and resorts with just the right combination of nature, landscape, aesthetics, food, and activities to warrant some good, old-fashioned family fun.
Where: Marrakech, Morocco
What’s to love: Your Moroccan dreamscape fantasies will not be crushed by your children. The family owned and operated Beldi compound is a secret rose garden gone wild with overgrown walkways, shabby chic outdoor living areas, and various swimming pools (including one with a fireplace that roars all winter). Kids can run without feeling confined, work the potter’s wheel, and hang out with the baker at the al fresco bread oven.
Good to know: The wonderfully curated souk — with its contemporary artisanal beauty products, locally made leather goods, fair trade textiles, rugs, poufs, glassware, and ceramics — has some of the best souvenirs the city has to offer.
Where: Val Thorens, France
What’s to love: It’s never too early to nurture an alpine enthusiast, and this chic, cozy, and contemporary 58-room ski chalet in the center of the pistes will immediately feel like home. The hotel does it right at every turn: Expect settling in near a roaring fireplace, sipping drinks on the terrace overlooking the peaks, and splashing around in the indoor pool.
Good to know: The “private floor” option, with its contained living room and views of the village below, is perfect for large groups (up to 12 people). The duplex suite has a family room and kids bedrooms (up to 4 people).
Where: Malaga, Spain
What’s to love: The Andaluz cortijo (farmhouse) is a spectacular country retreat and homage to the land. Nine beautiful (laid-back, luxurious) rooms are filled with handmade furniture and have radiant heat flooring. There’s a year-round outdoor pool, Turkish bath, Russian wood sauna, indoor heated pool, and medicinal herb garden. Beyond all that, there’s a working farm where grazing sheep, rare breed cattle, hens, bees, and Lusitano horses live in harmony among the ancient oaks, vineyard vines, olive groves, and fruit and vegetable huertas (orchards).
Good to know: From here, orient yourself to the mountains of Serrania de Ronda, the lakes and gorges of Cadiz, cave paintings, Roman ruins, Moorish towers, and trips to Seville, Jerez, and Malaga.
Where: Various Locations, Greece
What’s to love: It’ll feel like it’s your house/cottage/waterfront mansion, but you won’t have to lift a finger. The impressive collection of island homes from Kea to Kefalonia (complete with private chef, daily maid service, and attentive villa host) are matched with hotel-style amenities tons of great service (from massage therapists to activity instructors) for all kinds of families.
Good to know: Villa specialists cater to all needs and no request is too much. Need a calm beachfront for little kids? ADA-accessible bathrooms? A refrigerator full of snacks? No problem. In winter, some of the best options are an easy drive from Athens and include home cinemas, pool tables, fireplaces, and heated pools.
Where: Deer Valley, Utah
What’s to love: There are nature-inspired adventures to be had here year round, but winter is particularly delightful — think horse-drawn sleigh rides, moonlit snowshoeing, wild scavenger hunts, and easy access ski-in/ski-out. The adorably shaggy crew of Bernese Mountain Dogs serve as hotel ambassadors and excellent apres ski objects of affection.
Good to know: It’s a ten-minute drive to Park City, but there’s tons of stuff on the grounds, including a bowling alley, five restaurants, and an enormous spa (for grown-ups).