Best family-friendly hotels in Europe 2023: Where to stay for kids clubs, splash pools and adventure parks

Hotels that both you and your kids will love  (Parklane)
Hotels that both you and your kids will love (Parklane)

Going on holiday with kids can be a bit of a juggling act, whether they’re a baby, toddler or teenager. Finding the right accommodation to suit your growing family’s needs is essential, and makes all the difference for trips away.

Europe is an ideal family holiday destination, with the journey to places like Greece, Italy, Cyprus and Spain not being too lengthy for little ones or adults. After all, the less hours spent travelling means more time for relaxing, having fun and making memories.

Should you be thinking about heading abroad for the first time together this year or are a seasoned traveller, you’ll probably already be compiling a checklist. Key considerations cover everything from kids’ entertainment and suitable restaurants to family-friendly activities and safe play spaces.

We’ve found the best family hotels in Europe, spanning across resorts in the South of France countryside to Limassol in Cyprus.

Read on for our pick of the top places to take your kids. Keep scrolling and get your next holiday booked.

The best family-friendly hotels in Europe for 2023 are:

Best hotel for young kids: Valle dell’Erica and Le Dune, Sardinia

Stay at one of Delphina’s spectacular resorts (Delphina)
Stay at one of Delphina’s spectacular resorts (Delphina)

If you have young children and want to go to Sardinia, you can’t go wrong picking a Delphina resort: there are eight on the island. The four-star Le Dune, comprising five hotels and 10 restaurants, has the most on offer for children, including a large playground, trampoline, helter-skelter, aviaries where children collect eggs and a vast 8km stretch of Blue Flag beach. Valle dell’Erica Resort, home to hotels Erica and La Licciola, is its luxe, more sophisticated five-star sibling.

It’s situated within 1.4km of unspoilt coastline, characterised by dramatic granite rock formations and trees leaning from the regular Mistrals. The beaches – seven tiny but beautiful coves and a larger one, La Licciola, complete with bar-cafe and a sack of buckets and spades for children to enjoy – are short walks away. There are 271 rooms (many of which have simple Sardinian-style decor and are interconnecting so ideal for families), but you’d never know from the spacious, secluded feel; rooms have mirrored glass so you can’t see in and verandas are concealed by greenery. An excellent selection of shops including a pharmacy proves useful should you forget children’s toothpaste (as we did) or suncream.

The lively Ericaland miniclub (free for four to nine-year-olds) is bursting with enthusiastic, multilingual staff and caters for two-year-olds to teenagers in small age groups, with ever-changing activities including a "Robinson Crusoe" adventure sleepover for the eldest and pizza-making in the wood-fired stove for all. They also have a veg patch to tend to, with the produce going into meals. Tweenagers can make use of complimentary canoes, snorkelling equipment and computer games.

Tables are laid beautifully for tiny diners in the miniclub; the hotel dinner service doesn’t start until 7.30pm. Parents of under-threes will rejoice at the complimentary nursery with bottle service, highchairs, pushchairs, sterilisers, and freshly-made vegetable soups and purees, pasta, yoghurts and fruit, milk and juices available to feed little ones 24 hours a day. Paid babysitting is available for 12 to 36 months.

Restaurants and many rooms have sublime views of the sea and neighbouring islands. Food at Les Bouches and Nautilus is a gourmet’s paradise, a smorgasbord of pasta, seafood, grilled fish and meat, and vegan fare, although there are also restaurant options for a la carte, including the refined beachside Li Zini.

This is an ideal resort to reclaim some couple’s time. Remarkably the miniclub is open until 11pm, which means parents can enjoy romantic dinners; while the huge Thalasso spa centre, with sauna, treatment rooms and four seawater pools of varying temperatures with seaviews, is where parents can truly unwind.

Price: Starting from £300 for a double room at Valle dell’Erica, with twin beds available on request.

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Price: Starting from £154 for a standard room at La Dune, with twin beds and a sofa bed on request.

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Best hotel for family time: Sani Beach, Halkidiki, Greece

Bask in glorious Greek sunshine at Sani Beach (Sani Beach)
Bask in glorious Greek sunshine at Sani Beach (Sani Beach)

Sani Resort is ideal if you’re in need of both quality family time and relaxation as a couple. Its five 5-star hotels sprawl over 1,000 acres of lush, pine-filled ecological reserve in the Greek mainland’s Halkidiki. Three have their own onsite UK Ofsted-approved childcare for children from four months, but Sani Beach is the best pick for young families with its position by the largest beach with four miles of fine white sands and gentle turquoise waters and its onsite facilities: playgrounds, heated pools and a splash pool that’s brand new this year. Teenagers aren't forgotten: there's a new adventure park and the O-zone house is open until 10pm.

Plastic plates and cutlery make mealtimes easier, and children’s menus offer more imaginative options than the usual fish and chips; think mini Med-inspired dishes. An ice cream van dispenses complimentary treats throughout the resort.

There are plenty of details here to make things relaxing for the whole family. The beach “babewatch” facility where babysitters amuse children for 30 minutes so they can take a relaxed dip in the sea is inspired. While children play at the Kids’ Club, parents can enjoy treatments at the spa, relax by the infinity pools or take morning yoga and pilates classes, forest walks, or lessons at the new Rafa Nadal Tennis Centre. It’s a dream, too, for foodies, with two restaurants run by Michelin-star chefs, and a dine-around programme allowing guests to sample the resort’s many eateries offering everything from traditional Greek to Japanese.

Best hotel for luxury: Four Seasons, Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, France

Set up in the children’s area for breakfast with a full buffet (Four Seasons)
Set up in the children’s area for breakfast with a full buffet (Four Seasons)

Nowhere does reliable personalised service quite like Four Seasons resorts, and here in the imposing, grand building where 2015’s Absolutely Fabulous was filmed, the treatment extends to the littlest guests. Staff welcomed our two by name, and with surprises in the room: floating balloons, and chocolate teddy bear-shaped Madeleines on our arrival, and personalised colouring books another day. Breakfast is a delight with plentiful highchairs and a children’s area where sweet-toothed youngsters can help themselves to pastries, yoghurts, fruit puree and pretty melamine plates and cups.

When it looked as though our energetic offspring might damage the opulent furnishings – glass table and vases packed tight with cream roses – of the white, marble-floored room, we asked reception for toys. We next arrived in our room to age-appropriate toys with a superb touch: Lego and cars spelling out “Theo”, Jenga pieces spelling out “Clara”.

All pools – including the main one and children’s pool – are heated, a definite plus for little ones. Deluxe rooms have their own infinity pool, ideal for taking a dip while children nap or play. Parents are reassured by the pool safety alarms that are obligatory in France. Children can try out the mini luxury cars around the manicured grounds, and a kids’ club for ages four to 12 is open selected weeks in April and May and the whole of June, July and August. There you’ll find a 150-square-metre seaside-themed playground with mini lighthouse and see-saw boat. There’s also a paddling pool, swimming lessons, and mini vintage and super cars to try out. Video games and colouring competitions will keep children busy on rainy days. And there's a glorious coastal walk to be had around Cap Ferrat on the French Riviera.

The hotel has launched a new activity for budding bakers: a one-to-one lesson with the hotel’s own pastry chef. Our four-year-old loved donning her mini chef’s hat and apron (which she got to keep), and making treats to enjoy with us afterwards.

Best hotel for outdoor space: Parklane, Limassol, Cyprus

The kids will love having a splash at Parklane’s outdoor pool (Parklane)
The kids will love having a splash at Parklane’s outdoor pool (Parklane)

Parklane opened earlier this year as part of the Marriott chain. With its stunning views of the Troodos Mountains, set in 25 acres of landscaped gardens and 300 metres of sandy beachfront, and plenty to keep the family entertained, there’s no need to leave the resort; however history-laden Limassol is just 15 minutes away.

The big excitement for children is the 3,000-square metre Park Kidz club, with a princess and pirate-themed two-storey castle and pirate ship decked with water slides, outdoor pool area, mini-football pitch and tennis courts. Complimentary for three to 12 year-olds, it’s open from 10am-6pm and has a busy programme of daily activities.

Parklane is ideal for sporty youngsters, who will be thrilled by the world-class Football Academy, where ex-Premier League stars such as Rio Ferdinand and Bobby Zamora share tips and techniques with five to 15-year-olds. The week-long courses are run in partnership with Football Escapes during selected weeks in the school holidays, and children get a full, personalised kit in addition to one training session a day. There are also two family pools, one of which is seawater.

While the children are burning off energy, adults can regenerate theirs at the 3,000 square metre Kalloni Spa, including five seawater pools of Thalassotherapy, or head to the adult-only pool.

The 274 rooms designed by Harrods Interiors are luxurious and contemporary, with white and aqua hues nodding to the Mediterranean setting, and their spectacular views of the sea or mountains. They’re also generous in size. The best options for families are the two-bedroom family suites, or, if you have the budget, the two and three bedroom park suite villas, which include their own private pool. All-day dining is at the Lanes, but there are a further four restaurants with international and seafood-rich Cypriot cuisine.

Best hotel for a relaxed retreat: Country Kids, Hérault, France

Afternoon tea with a baby monitor in tow? Sign us up! (Country Kids)
Afternoon tea with a baby monitor in tow? Sign us up! (Country Kids)

Run by parents for parents, Country Kids is a joyous, relaxed retreat for families in a converted dairy farm in hilly South of France countryside. With only seven apartments, there’s an intimate, friendly feel. On arrival, you’re whisked off to the bar which turns out to be the central hub where afternoon tea and breakfast are served and parents come for drinks and wine tastings (armed with child-monitors) once their children are asleep.

Country Kids’ motto is that happy children makes for happy parents, and youngsters are treated as individual guests just like adults. A board lists names of parents and children with their ages, and apartments are fully furnished with child-friendly apparatus, plus age-appropriate nappies and toys. Every morning, children board a tractor trailer to visit the farm to feed the animals.

There’s unlimited, award-winning childcare for babies to 12-year-olds, swimming pools, mini-golf, boules and playground with sandpit and zipwire. For parents, there are spa treatments and – the dream – twice weekly babysitting and a lie-in when children are collected by staff for a breakfast club. Local activities tailored to each family member include swimming, pony trekking, sailing and e-biking.

The decor is rustic-chic, but there’s five-star treatment with L’Occitane toiletries, the concierge, welcome hamper, daily housekeeping and turn-down service. Food is a combination of fresh, generous meals –homemade pizzas, local delicacies – delivered to apartments, and communal feasts. You can also opt out of group meals and select chef-made dishes from the freezer and watch a DVD in the comfort of your apartment.

From the end of May to early September, there’s the “Absolutely Everything’s Included” package of meals, drinks, shop items, spa treatments, activities, and weekly laundry service.

Price: Family apartments from £2,800 for seven days

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