When you’re looking to book accommodation for your next family holiday what seals the deal for you? Is it the location? Perhaps it’s how many swimming pools are at the resort; or maybe it’s the close proximity to the beach. Sea views are a requirement for some travellers, while the quality of food and choice of restaurants are a must for others.
For me, it’s generally all of the above. I’m not picky, by any means, but if you were to ask all my friends, they’d have to agree with me – if you’re looking for a sun-filled relaxing family break, then all members of the family have to be catered for.
So, the most essential thing for us on this type of break, is to have family-friendly facilities – and that means excellent childcare on site, and equipment that helps facilitate an easy transition from home to a home away from home. Not forgetting staff who actually like children.
On our recent trip to Sardinia, we stayed in the Valle dell’Erica Resort Thalasso & SPA and we were impressed with their family-friendly services. After all, a hotel claiming to be family friendly doesn’t always mean it is…
We’ve been to many hotels where ‘family-friendly’ constitutes a shallow pool and high chairs on offer. And that’s pretty much it.
This, thankfully, was not the case at Valle dell’Erica. And now, we have an interminable blueprint that can help us choose our next family-friendly resort. Here’s what we look out for:
Family rooms or interconnecting rooms
Not a standard double room with a sofa bed made up as the ‘extra’ bed. Extra bonus points for separate seating areas so adults can have some time alone while the little ones are asleep. I loved the family rooms at Erica, which have mezzanine floors that are for the kids! We had two large rooms, plus two terraces. There was plenty of space for a family of four.
Baby and kids’ stuff
Baby cots at no extra cost, or the use of baby baths, strollers, spare nappies and wet wipes, as well as snacks and water for children. Erica has a baby room which is available to use 24-hours a day. It not only has changing stations and baby amenities, but a microwave and bottle sterilising equipment, too.
Kids’ Club and childcare
The whole point of a family holiday is to spend time together as a family. But, let’s be honest, we can all do with a break from one another – for a couple of hours at least. And when your son repeatedly asks to go to Kids’ Club, even at breakfast, you know he’s enjoying himself. Open from 9.00am until 11.00pm, and completely free of charge, Monkey could drop in whenever he fancied – and with a daily programme of different activities such as beach olympics and pizza making, and evening entertainment including discos and shows, he was never bored. Plus my husband and I were reassured to know he was well looked after.
There is also a qualified nursery carer for babies, as well as a softplay area, nap room and baby food available.
A quality kids club is worth its weight in gold.
Kids’ Facilities and Activities
These go hand in hand with the Kids’ Club, but if there’s a playground, it definitely gets a thumbs up particularly for younger guests. The pools are a given, but sports facilities are a bonus. At Erica, there is a five-a-side-pitch, as well as a hockey pitch, volleyball court and nine-hole golf course. Water sports for older children include water polo and wind surfing. Happy, entertained children is a win win for everybody!
And all manner of delicious treats that appeal to young palettes. In Italy, that wasn’t hard really… gelato, pasta, pizza, and even chips. But the great thing – lots of fresh produce, too. So I did manage to get some fruit and vegetables on Monkey’s plate.
At first, seeing the kids’ club staff walking around in fancy dress was amusing, but by the end of our stay it became the norm. Staff who can put shy children at ease, remember their names amongst a whole heap of new faces on a weekly basis, and smile constantly – that’s the mark of men and women who enjoy being with children.
This is a first for us during our stay at Erica. We’ve never seen lifeguards stationed at each pool on previous holidays. It was reassuring to know that should there have been a problem, there was someone trained to deal with an emergency situation. A definite tick, for any family-friendly resort.
Are there any particular requirements you look out for when booking accommodation for your family holiday? I would love to hear them.