Best holiday kids clubs

By Amanda Statham, Editor

Kids’ clubs are like Marmite – you either love ‘em, or loathe ‘em. To some parents they represent the antithesis to what a family holiday should be all about (spending as much time with your children as possible during those precious couple of weeks holiday). To others, they provide much needed “me time” for relaxation and perhaps a spot of pampering.

Whatever your view, something that’s often overlooked is that kids’ clubs have come a long way since the days when hotels plonked a plastic slide or a sandpit in the garden and called it the “children’s entertainment area”.

Nowadays, kids’ clubs buzz with imaginative activities, enthusiastic staff and stimulating play areas. Check out my recommendations, below, whether you’ve got a baby or toddler in need of a professionally-run crèche, school-age kids in search of non-stop action, or teenagers looking for cool places to hang out.

* Although this article is divided by age category, many properties and operators offer kids’ clubs across a range of ages, from babies to teenagers.

Best kids clubs for babies and toddlers

P&O Cruises has great facilities on some of its ships, including an in-cabin baby listening service plus a night nursery for children aged six months to five years, open every day from 6pm – 2am. The best ships for families with babies and toddlers include Azura and Ventura, which has one of the best kids clubs afloat and a play area for under-twos. Find out more about family cruises and see the latest offers.

For an idea of how some family operators give littl’uns the VIP treatment, check out the weekly programme of Globetrotters – the kid’s club from Scott Dunn for ages 4 months to 2 years. I particularly like the sound of “Tobogganing Tuesday”, which features “delicious baking, a bendy bus ride and some sledging fun”. Scott Dunn also offers a private nanny service to chalet and hotel guests in Courchevel 1850, Val d’Isère, Zermatt and St Anton. And if skiing isn’t your thing, check out Scott Dunn’s impressive range of hotels with kids’ clubs – with destinations ranging from Antigua to Zanzibar.

Also getting a gurgle of approval from nappy-bound travellers, the Sani Beach Club on Greece’s Halkidiki peninsula features an Ofsted-standard crèche (from age four months), run by British childcare specialists. Also in Greece, the IKOS Olivia is a luxury family-friendly all-inclusive with a creche for ages four months to four years.

In the Caribbean, Beaches Resorts offers world-beating facilities, clubs and entertainment for young children, including interaction with Sesame Street characters. The beaches are sensational too. If you’re looking for five-star luxury, the Carlisle Bay hotel in Antigua has a Cool Kids Club for all ages from babies to teenagers.

In the Maldives (yes, really), the chic NIYAMA Private Island has supervised care for children aged 12 months and over. See more family holidays in the Maldives.

Best kids clubs for 4-12 year-olds

Kids this age not only need to burn off energy, they also like to be challenged, both physically and intellectually.

Mark Warner splashes out on activities for this age group. At the new Phokaia Beach Resort in Turkey, it has childcare included in the price for ages 2 – 17.  Children can enjoy watersports, tennis and a host of other activities, supervised by experienced waterfront staff and tennis coaches.

Sporty families should also consider Forte Village on the pristine Italian island of Sardinia. On the same island, the Chia Laguna Resort is a huge hit with Italian families for its exciting range of activities and experiences. There are four good-value hotels to choose from, along with nine restaurants, eight bars and five pools, four kids clubs for different ages and a dedicated children’s restaurant.

The five-star Verdura Golf & Spa Resort in Sicily is part of the exclusive Rocco Forte collection. It has a free kids club for ages 4-12 along with a two-tier swimming pool, tennis academy, Juventus Camp football academy, bike hire and golf. See the latest special offers.

Tenerife’s five-star Abama Golf & Spa Resort boasts one of the largest kids club in Europe with zones dedicated to science, astronomy, crafts and gardening.

On a tighter budget, Bulgaria offers amazing value in high season at resorts such as Sunny Beach which has Blue Flag beaches and great hotels such as the four star all-inclusive Laguna Park with its own water park and a mini-club for ages 4-to-12.

If Mum and Dad still hanker after the days of clubbing and chill-out lounges, head to the stylish new Nobu Ibiza Bay Hotel, which has a kids club for ages 4 – 14 with activities ranging from cooking to DJ workshops

In Dubai, the One and Only Royal Mirage The Palace has great facilities for kids including a play centre and a free programme for ages 4 to 11 years. Atlantis, The Palm has its own Aquaventure Waterpark, an open-air aquarium and kids clubs for ages 3-12 and 13-18 years.

Neighbouring Oman is rich in natural beauty with adventure, culture and some great family hotels including the Al Waha which has an Adventure Zone for ages 4 to 17.

Beachcomber Tours offers a choice of four all-inclusive hotels on Mauritius, each with a complimentary Bob Marlin Mini Club for ages 3-12. If you prefer a more contemporary style hotel, head to one of the Lux* resorts such as the all-suite Lux* Belle Mare.

Closer to home, Siblu Villages has free kids clubs at its holiday parks in Normandy and Brittany, The Languedoc, the Loire Valley, Charente Maritime and Aquitaine. The Pirate Club, for 5-9-year-olds, inspires teamwork through arts and crafts, treasure hunts, water fights and sports.

If you’re on your own, Single Parents on Holiday runs hosted group beach holidays at luxury hotels including the Iberostar Lanzarote Park, which has clubs from ages four to teens and soft play areas for toddlers.

Best kids clubs for teenagers

In the Caribbean, Rosewood Little Dix Bay has great activities for teenagers, plus a superb club for young kids and a  weekly Pirates Party. Find more family options in the British Virgin Islands.

Beaches Resorts have gone all out to cater to teens with facilities including an XBOX Play Lounge and Club Liquid nightclub.

Last updated: 21 June 2021

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Before you book

Travel guidelines and advice are changing constantly amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Check the latest travel restrictions for UK residents.