This boutique hotel come villa-with-friends option, with six independent one- and two-bed apartments — think ski chalet in the sunshine — is perfect if you’re looking for something toddler-friendly without the 5am battles for a lounger.
Where is it?
An hour and a half from Alicante airport, Caserío del Mirador sits high in the Sierra Bernia mountains, overlooking the winemaking town of Xaló, just a short hop from the Costa Blanca and some of the region’s best beaches. While the stunning views will give the sense of escapism you’re pining for, Xaló, with its cobbled streets, weekly market and bodega, are just five minutes down the valley.
Homely yet stylish. There are six apartments in the main house and a self-contained casita five minutes’ walk away, providing ample space for families to relax. Interiors are fresh and unfussy, with terracotta floors and whitewashed walls that create a cooling escape from the hot sunshine. Pretty lanterns and crisp white linens add a touch of luxe. It’s all very laidback cool; we felt as though we were holidaying at a friend’s house which is exactly the vibe you need when travelling with kids.
The self-contained apartments (one and two-bedroom options available) boast views of either the pool or valley below, each coming with outdoor dining areas and kitchenettes equipped with hobs and mini fridges. Cots, highchairs and a brilliant selection of age-appropriate toys and books are all included, along with a handy welcome pack of cereals, fruit, milk, juice and coffee.
Food & drink
Local, homecooked and delicious. Owner Sarah takes her role very seriously, catering to all tastes and requirements and is very accommodating to fussy eaters (both kids and adults). Across the week, children’s communal teas are served up at around 5pm each day, while the parents enjoy a cold beer. Grown-up suppers are then eaten together once the kids are in bed (everyone’s fully equipped with baby monitors) or delivered to your apartment.
The chance to natter with other grown ups over dinner and wine felt like a rare treat. With a menu spanning everything from traditional Spanish dishes to more familiar favourites of pizza and roast chicken, the community vibe really is a lovely, unique touch. Sunday paella set the tone for the week for us, and our kids had made BFFs before we’d moved onto dessert.
What to do
Play-areas, toys, a trampoline and sandpit kept the kids happy for hours. Feeding Beryl the pig and collecting breakfast eggs from the chickens were real holiday highlights, while my older ones enjoyed splashing in the pool and putting on shows with the aforementioned new BFFs. Bring your book and lounge around the pool. There’s a very reasonably priced honesty bar with a winning mix of ice-creams, beers, wine, a Nespresso machine, and snacks available at all hours.
If you want to head out further afield, baby carriers, buggies, buckets and spades, beach mats and towels are all available to borrow, so you can just grab and go – just don’t forget to ask Sarah for the best spots to park at before you head out.
We ventured out for beach days in Moraira, heading to El Portet for its calm water and fine sand for sandcastle building. Two beachfront restaurants make ideal spots for lunch or brunch. For stronger waves, head to Javea, with the Arenal promenade full of cafes, bars and shops for pocket money treats. My six-year-old can confirm that the best ice-creams are to be found in El Rey del Helado at the southern most end.
Families (obviously). Primarily those with babies and toddlers. That said, such is its popularity that many families return year after year, with children well past the toddler stage. Sarah can recommend the best weeks to come, based on other guest ages – playmates pretty much guaranteed, allowing frazzled parents a holiday that is *almost* like those pre-kids.
How to get there
Alicante and Valencia are both around 1.5 hours’ drive away, with flights available from easyJet and Ryanair.
Prices start from €1,350 a week for a one-bedroom apartment (two adults and baby) and from €2,400 a week for a two-bedroom apartment (two adults and two children). Kids eat from €10 per head, grown-ups from €30 (three courses including wine).