Top 5 luxury family friendly foodie holidays

Food glorious food – never such a true statement written. I find food so important in life, but especially on holiday. So many times I’ve arrived in paradise, but one mouthful of the so-called hotel’s or restaurant’s delicacies have been such a disappointment and really tainted my holiday experience. Like for so many this is a key factor for me in the enjoyment of a holidays. You remember that candlelit dinner with fine wine and succulent steak that seemed to melt in your mouth or the fresh from the sea calamari that was the best you’ve ever tasted. I therefore want to share some of my top tips and places to guarantee a delicious feast and dining experience, that at the same time offer a perfect setting for all the family to get excited about and have plenty to do.

Touring Umbria and Tuscany, Italy

It wouldn’t be right to not start with a country that is renowned for its simple, yet mind blowing taste sensations. Having travelled to Italy so many times, it never ceases to amaze me how much I and their visitors enjoy their staple dishes of pasta to every size and shape you can imagine with a plethora of flavoured sauces. Pasta and pizza always seem to be a hit with the children! Exploring the Umbrian and Tuscan hilltop towns of such jewels as Assisi, Todi, Orvieto and Montepulciano and eating your way through the itinerary is a perfect way to do it. I’ve spent many an hour in a bustling piazza watching the world go by and soaking up the atmosphere.

With a gelataria on many a street corner, the kids will be in their element working their way through the ice cream flavours. Castiglion del Bosco is a wonderful estate in the heart of Tuscany, it’s the essence of Italy with its rolling hill landscape, fine-dining and luxurious accommodation. With the estate’s children’s club ‘Rose Buds’ – the kids are absorbed with hours of entertainment and activities from cooking workshops, to treasure hunts to tennis lessons and swimming, while you are free to relax in their sensational spa or learn to prepare authentic Italian recipes to take home in their La Canonica Cooking school!

Riviera Maya, Mexico

It’s not all about spice in Mexico, but it’s certainly a good place to introduce your little ones to the delights and flavours of Mexican cuisine. I tend to think of Mexican food as a winner in most families households – the colours and flavours are always very inviting.

The Riviera Maya with its stunning white sandy beaches and crystal waters is a perfect location for families to explore the history of the Mayans with iconic ruins such as Chichen Itza an easy day trip away, yet the family can enjoy the aquatic adventures – sailing, snorkelling, diving, swimming with dolphins and kite boarding to name a few. My recommendation would be the Belmond Maroma Resort & Spa, which is set among the luscious jungle beside a beautiful golden beach and is one of Mexico’s top luxury hotels. The resort is very family friendly with children’s activities available and designated children’s menus.

Gstaad, Switzerland

What excites children more than the thought of chocolate and snow, and what a combination! The stunning Alpine resort of Gstaad in Switzerland is a great place for families to enjoy winter pursuits and indulge in eating legendary Swiss chocolate. It’s one of the most traditional Alpine resorts and hasn’t been commercialised. It’s full of charm and character, with cute little chocolate box chalets lining the streets. Plus, they have some amazing bakeries and chocolatiers along the quaint cobbled streets. There’s also a great variety of fine dining mountain restaurants, which are a great place to stop off and refuel whilst out skiing.

For the non-skiers in the family, you can still get involved in the Winter activities, as the resort has a large ice rink in the centre for all the family to enjoy. The Alpina Gstaad is a family favourite, just a short walk to the resort centre and a shuttle to any of the ski lifts. This luxurious 5 star hotel blends traditional antique woods with modern fresh interior design – it’s a must!

Phuket, Thailand

The first time I travelled to South East Asia I was blown away by the diversity of fruits and vegetables I came across. How wonderful is it for a child to get the chance to see how differently we all live and what wonderful exotic foods are available around the world. Bring on the dragon fruit, breadfruit and jackfruits!

Thailand is a great destination for families to enjoy the beautiful tropical waters, the wildlife and jungle activities and of course the wonderful Thai cuisine. Many resorts offer Thai cooking lessons where you can get back to their basics and get top tips to make your very own Thai curry paste. The luxury resort of Trisara, is highly recommended for families offering lazy days around your very own private infinity pool to a whole host of children’s activities and family fun days in the neighbourhood.

Greece

Seafood and fresh fish galore – Greece holidays have the simple ingredients of sun, sea and sumptuous seafood. There are so many pretty islands to choose from and the range of accommodation is vast, but this really is a destination that won’t disappoint. With a short hop, there really is no reason not to put Greece on your family holiday bucket list. I have two family friendly suggestions one offering that ‘typical island’ experience and the other on the quintessential mainland of Greece.

Danai Beach Resort on the island of Halkidiki is a hidden gem set in the forests running down to the sands of the Sithonia Peninsula. The hotel’s interior spaces are uniquely decorated, with designer touches and bespoke artworks creating plenty of soul and character. It’s an enchanting place where their children aren’t forgotten with a delightful kids club program! The Westin Resort, Costa Navarino is my mainland recommendation – it’s located next to the Ionian sea coastline of The Dunes Beach and is a perfect luxury family retreat to relax, recharge and discover this gorgeous stretch of coastline.

Mike Kelly is Director at Oxford Private Travel.

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Comments (3)

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  1. Jack says:

    I just graduated from college this year. I am planning to travel to Tailand.I wish I could enjoy my time there. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Lesley K says:

    Luxury foodie is definitely something that I like to hear in conjunction with a holiday. All too often that doesn’t necessarily work well for the whole family, especially with younger children who aren’t really interested in a 5 course meal but there are some great ideas here. I am absolutely sure that my entire family would love the idea of a a holiday that incorporated Swiss chocolate and since everyone in my family loves Skiing, this is definitely a trip that would work for us.

  3. Kathy says:

    My family are definitely foodies! We love seeking out the best places to eat wherever we go. Food IS so important, I couldn’t imagine not being so passionate about it! I never thought of Switzerland being a foodie trip, I’ll definitely look more into that. Thailand has definitely always been on my list!

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