The Original Travel baby boom shows no chance of slowing down and we are currently blessed with 18 babies amongst the team. Executing the perfect luxury family holiday is now second nature to us. So, we thought it only wise to glean some outsider-opinion. Knightsbridge super-Mum, Nana Coles, shares her favourite family destination with us.
The winning formula
What happens when you become a parent and a globe trotting lifestyle suddenly seems unattainable? To my relief I discovered I could actually continue travelling to pretty much any destination I wanted with my two young kids in tow…. with a little bit of careful planning and compromise.
My favourite kind of family holiday is one that combines active city life and sight seeing with relaxation at a luxurious beach resort. I must confess destination resorts that my husband and I dogmatically shunned during our care-free years have now become extremely desirable! Luxury need not mean sterile though. This is one of the reasons Asia remains top of our list for family holidays. I find the continent generally fantastic for service and also offer a vast number of child-friendly luxury resorts with just the right hint of adventure. Malaysia in particular is popular in our family.
I love KL
Our trips to Malaysia always begin in the capital city of Kuala Lumpur, affectionately known as "KL" by the locals. Once you get over the exhausting 12 -hour flight from London, KL has a lot to offer families. It's a thriving metropolis with all the comforts of modern city living yet manages to retain exotic charm. A melting pot of Chinese, Malay and Indian heritage all living harmoniously together. The markets are a great place to find souvenirs and encourage kids to learn about new cultures.
Original Travel recommend staying at The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur. An icon of Malay's boom years leading to World War II, the hotel came to be the place for glamorous social events, government receptions and the residence for prominent international visitors.
If you have time travel north to the Cameron Highlands where for a couple of days you can live on a tea plantation. My kids loved taking part in plantation activities and learning a bit of history.
Food in Malaysia is pretty exceptional. You can enjoy food cooked to the standard of Cinnamon Club or Zuma at a fraction of London prices. The Star Hill mall has a whole floor dedicated to a wide selection of superb restaurants offering different types of cuisine from Korean to Japanese. We also sample street food in KL with enthusiasm. The stalls are carefully regulated by the authorities and therefore now offer a fun and safe way to savour authentic Asian cooking. For western cuisine I find the hotels cater best for visitors.
After a busy few days in the city you can take your pick from a number of sumptuous beach resorts. The Banyan Tree Bintan, a short catamaran ride from Singapore, is quite fabulous. My daughter took her first steps, aged 13 months, on the beaches there cheered on by the good natured staff. Accommodation is in private villas built on stilts to preserve the tropical vegetation and wildlife beneath. Living in the midst of the tropics certainly feels adventurous yet safe. The seafront villas have stunning views of the South China Sea. Escapism at its best. Kids can live the life of Robinson Crusoe for a week, running around finding mischief on the rocky beaches whilst exhausted parents find refuge at the rather splendid spa. Everyone wins.
For the ultimate in luxury the Four Seasons in Langkawi is another favourite resort of ours. Activities for children are quite limited so it's the kind of resort I would recommend for honeymooners or new parents in search of rest.
When our kids are old enough to appreciate it we plan to go back to Malaysia, this time to visit the world-famous orangutan sanctuary in Borneo. Now, that should be adventurous!