Family holidays with a difference: our top five family beach hotels for 2020


Treat your family to a memorable luxury beach holiday by picking the perfect hotel in the perfect destination, offering everything your family could want – and more. We have handpicked our top five hotels and resorts for an extra-special family holiday in 2020, where children can enjoy adventures from water sports to wildlife tracking, while you can indulge in a well-earned cocktail or a pampering spa treatment.

Sani Beach, Greece

Sani Beach is set on the beachfront in pretty Halkidiki, nestled in a curve of Cape Sani. It is part of the Sani Resort, which is home to an impressive range of hotels and facilities, ensuring that there is plenty on offer right on the doorstep, from several restaurants and bars, with buffets to tempt the fussiest of eaters, to an open-air theatre and exhilarating activities. There’s so much for everyone to experience, young and old, going beyond simply relaxing on the beach (although of course you can do that too).

Parents can unwind with cocktails by the pool, soothing spa treatments and wine tasting in the surrounding countryside, while children can keep active in the sports centre or learn how to sail. They can also create amazing memories by going ziplining through the trees at the Sani Adventure Park and joining the Sani Explorers club for fun activities such as wildlife tracking in the forest and mountain biking through the Sani wetlands.

MarBella Elix, Greece

MarBella Elix opens in June 2020, and will give guests the chance to discover a more off-the-beaten-track location in Greece in style. Perched on a hillside by the Ionian Sea in Thesprotia on mainland Greece, opposite Corfu, it has a stunning and secluded location. The rooms, including stylish and spacious family rooms, have beautiful, unobstructed views over the sea and the islands of Paxos and Antipaxos, and some have their own pools.

Spend lazy days swimming in the large infinity pool and enjoying delicious Mediterranean buffets, and take the funicular down to Karavostasi Beach to soak up the sun – or it’s just a short walk through the pine trees. In between relaxing on the beach, the exceptional offerings for young guests include an adventure club that makes the most of the rugged coastal setting, from hiking and biking to kayaking and canyoning.

Six Senses Zighy Bay, Oman

Six Senses Zighy Bay is nestled on the Musandam Peninsula, with a mile-long sweep of sandy beach on one side and craggy mountain peaks on the other. It certainly ticks all the boxes when it comes to a luxury holiday, including exceptional accommodation, a large pool with a swim-round island and a beautiful, award-winning spa surrounded by palm trees. You can arrive through the mountains by 4×4 or even paraglide into the resort.

The hotel’s impressive kids clubs cater for all ages. Younger children can get their imagination flowing with rock painting, sand art, treasure hunts, pizza making and more, while teenagers can enjoy adrenaline-pumping adventures such as adventure hikes and wadi swimming, and learn new skills such as archery and abseiling. In the evening, gather the whole family to watch a movie on the beach under the stars at the hotel’s very own Cinema Paradiso – a perfect end to the day.

Sugar Beach, a Viceroy Resort, St Lucia

Sugar Beach, a Viceroy Resort, sits in over 100 acres of lush tropical rainforest, with the white sands of Sugar Beach on one end, looking out over the Caribbean Sea, and the famous Pitons as the backdrop. This rather special hotel stands out even amongst the high standards of St Lucia, thanks to luxurious villas set in tropical gardens and plenty of options for both relaxation and adventure, from a blissful rainforest spa and a palm tree-lined pool to sailing trips around the coast.

There are plenty of activities that are ideal for kids whatever age they are, including traditional arts and crafts, fish feeding, glass-bottom boat trips, snorkelling with colourful fish and kayaking in the azure waters. We guarantee they will also love going on a tour of a local cocoa plantation to learn all about how chocolate is made – some of the world’s best chocolate comes from the Caribbean (and what child doesn’t like chocolate?).

Grand Velas Riviera Maya, Mexico

The Grand Velas Riviera Maya has a beautiful beach setting on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. The whole family will find plenty of variety on a luxury holiday here, from relaxing on the beach to exploring dense jungle, Indiana Jones style, and visiting fascinating Mayan ruins such as the famous Chichen Itza (yes, even children will find them fascinating!).

Indulge in a truly pampering stay for all the family at this all-inclusive resort. As well as spacious family suites where you’ll feel like VIPs, pristine white sands, a lovely infinity pool and water sports galore, everyone will love exploring the lush jungles on horseback, ziplining through the trees and swimming in cenotes – these beautiful underwater caves are rather unique swimming pools. Other ways to keep the children entertained range from storytelling to karaoke. Even the very youngest guests are treated like VIPs, thanks to the baby concierge service.

Thomas Ryves is Marketing Director at Exsus Travel. Exsus Travel specialises in creating the very best luxury tailor-made holidays, honeymoons and family adventures in over 80 destinations worldwide.

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Comments (14)

  1. Eva says:

    Now thinking of holiday at the beach, makes me smile and looking forward to the holidays. Thanks for the article

  2. Alex says:

    The great thing about the ruins at Chichen Itza is the space. Kids can run around. Not only will most be in awe of the scale of the ruins, they’ll also be fascinated by the mysterious ball game. It’s thought that the losing side were sacrificed. Now isn’t that the ultimate “Horrible History” story. Once they start thinking about Manchester United’s squad being sacrificed for losing to Liverpool that’ll keep their minds buzzing.

    • Thomas Ryves says:

      Hi Alex, yes, true, plenty of space to run around and be awestruck by the ruins and the history – definitely a Horrible History there (!)

  3. Jane says:

    When you stay at hotels like these there’s so much going on with all the activities. Sometimes I feel that kids learn as much, perhaps even more, than when they are at school. It’s good for them to try new activities and to mix with children from other countries.

    • Thomas Ryves says:

      Hi Jane, yes, agreed – as well as offering luxury, these hotels put on exceptional activities for children, that go beyond the obvious, creating memorable and exciting holiday experiences – and they are learning without realising it!

  4. Ajay says:

    Those were some amazing beach hotels. I am a resident of Nepal, though there are no beaches here. We have many amazing places in Nepal where you can enjoy the stunning views of the sunrise, mountains, river, and lakes. Hope to see you someday in Nepal.

    • Thomas Ryves says:

      Hi Ajay, yes we love all these hotels, and each one offers something a little bit different. We are big fans of Nepal and everything it has to offer too!

  5. Laura R says:

    Oooo the MarBella Elix sounds like it’s going to be good, bet that’s probably fully booked already. It’s pretty cool to be nestled in to the mountainside like that. Is it easy enough to get down to the beach? Hopefully there are steps and a ramp for disability access as I wouldn’t fancy trying to take a wheelchair down rocky steps. There are some good ones here for families with plenty to keep kids entertained. I can’t help but laugh at the thought of paragliding in to the Six Senses Zighy Bay one like James Bond, that would be so cool!!

    • Thomas Ryves says:

      Hi Laura, yes, we are certainly excited about these hotels and what they offer for families, including the setting and adventures of MarBella Elix. You can reach the beach here via a short walk through the pine trees, or you can take a funicular down to the beach, for ease of access. As for paragliding into the Six Senses Zighy Bay, yes, that is certainly a memorable and cool way to arrive at a hotel! :)

  6. Ellen says:

    I know that it sounds odd but I really believe that a lot of children nowadays have very little idea of where food comes from. Most kids think stuff comes from the supermarket. The next generation will say it comes from the online delivery van.

    That’s why I think that the chocolate making course is such a great idea. Full marks to the Sugar Beach at St Lucia for putting it on. Educational and tasty fun too.

    • Thomas Ryves says:

      Hi Ellen,

      That’s true! We love activities such as cookery classes with top chefs and fun foodie activities for children like pizza making – and of course chocolate making – no child would say no to that – and what a perfect setting St Lucia is!

      More and more hotels are offering rounded foodie experiences that are educational as well as fun – you can often visit the hotel’s own gardens and local markets to pick or buy the ingredients for your dinner before learning how to cook them, so you can see the whole process from growing the ingredients to the plate. The whole ‘farm to fork’ movement is growing too as thankfully people are becoming more interested in where their food comes from. There is more of an ethical awareness as well, with the rise of vegetarianism and especially veganism.

  7. Jaime Bennett says:

    I have two teenage kids and it’s so hard to get them to come to family events as they now have their own interests. So whenever we plan for family getaways I always make sure that our destination always has something for them to do. This list helped me get ideas on the possible activities and places we can go for our next holiday. And it’s nice that this article also mentioned non-beach or water activities. I’ve been looking for these kinds of articles for a while now and it really helps.

    • Thomas Ryves says:

      Hi Jaime, that’s great, we’re glad you found this blog useful! Yes, the aim was definitely to talk about hotels that tick all the usual boxes but also offer something beyond the usual – and have things to do that even hard-to-please teens will love (!). Happy travels…!

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