Traveling to Europe with kids, keeping them interested and having a great time of it can be a challenge. A big family of five or more will need a truly family friendly hotel or resort.  There are places that will indulge your kids, create a wonderful experience for the family on a European vacation and that have the desire to tweak that attention span of kids in mind. Other places can be a great place to stage your daily outings from.

CLUB MEDS OF EUROPE
Club Meds of Europe
– The all-inclusive pioneers have several kid-friendly sun and snow villages in Europe’s top resort areas. They’re unique top-of-the-line kids programs; Baby Club Med, Baby Welcome, Passworld and the Ramp for teens are all aimed at enhancing your family’s vacation experience. Based out of France, but with Club Med Villages around the world, they attract an international crowd. Their “GOs”, or “gracious organizers”, are what helps set them apart from other resorts.

Club Med Villages variously offer:

  • Baby Club Med, 4 months to 23 months (extra charge)
  • Baby Welcome program, with amenities, high-chairs, crib, bottle warmer, etc.
  • Petit Club Med, from 2 to 3 years, usually divided into sub-groups (extra charge)
  • Mini Club Med From 4 to 10 years, in different age groups
  • Juniors’ Club Med, 2 groups from 11 to 13 years and 14 to 17 years
  • Passworld (above), for ages 11 to 13, and 14 to 17

Their resorts will include many amenities. For example their ski resorts include the ski pass and ski/snowboard lesions; group lessons for every level; Club Med entertainment, indoor swimming and weights room. Of course, full board throughout the stay includes, wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner. Open bar and snacks at specific times during the day and night.

THE ROME CAVALIERI Italy
The Rome Cavalieri
, which is set on a 15-acre park overlooking the city, has embraced the family-travel segment. The hotel, a member of the WaldorfAstoria Collection, has four swimming pools—one of them just for kids.

There is also an in-room program for families wanting to hunker down after a day at the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon or the Coliseum. If it’s ordered in advance, and the clan is spending at least four nights, the hotel will rustle up a Roman Sweets Feast for free.

Here’s what’s on the menu: hazelnut-spread bread rolls, crepes with jam, mini chocolate mousse, a cake in the form of a favorite cartoon character, fresh fruit shakes and a selection of ice creams and candies.

Other children’s programs include treasure hunts in the park, easel painting, pasta-jewelry making, animal origami and facemask painting. Parents in the meantime can chill out at The Chalet pool, with full bar service, food and a plasma TV. Sunday Brunch, Cavalieri’s famous weekly music brunch, provides for children’s entertainment and a play area. Children’s bathrobes, diapers, a coloring book and crayons, wooden Pinocchio giveaways and a rubber bath animal are available on request.

(source: travelagentcentral.com)

Pine Cliffs Resort

PINE CLIFFS, Portugal

According to TimesOnline.com, “Some resorts fall in and out of fashion, but the Algarve remains a perennial family favorite. Why? Because the journey is relatively easy – three-hour flight, lots of regional departures and speedy transfers – the locals are friendly, English is widely spoken and the quality of the hotels is (mostly) high.”

Pine Cliffs, Sheraton-run five-star with six restaurants, four swimming pools, all-weather tennis courts, a golf academy and one of the best-equipped children’s clubs anywhere in Europe. The hotel provides luxurious amenities, turn-down service, in-room movies, and 24-hour room service. It’s set in immaculate grounds atop brick-red cliffs, and there is even a lift to take guests down to the beach.

TimesOnline describes “The kids’ club, Porto Pirata (www.luxurycollection.com/ portopirata), as a hotel within a hotel, with its own pool, 18-hole mini-golf course, volleyball court, sandpit, climbing frames and cycle track. The staff are hugely enthusiastic, there’s a children’s buffet laid on from 5pm and – nice touch, this – the hotel runs a free laundry service for kids’ clothes. The price: a week, B&B, costs a total of £2,120 in August, or £2,040 in September, for two adults and one child, with ITC Classics (01244 355527, www. itcclassics.co.uk). Porto Pirata costs £70 a day for ages six months to three years, £47 for 3-4s and £41 for 5-8s, with discounts for three or more days.”

(Source: timesonline.com)

Dream Castle Hotel - bedroom

DREAM CASTLE HOTEL France
Dream Castle Hotel

At this Disney partner 4 star hotel located at Disneyland Paris, a suite will accommodate 5 people with 2 king size beds and an extra fee for a rollaway bed. The hotel is only 35 minutes from Paris center, has 397 rooms and was built on the model of the Classic Castle of the 17th century.

Royal Suite of 220 m2 handles 7 people. The hotel has two restaurants and bar with terraces; is non-smoking, has room service; service Concierge; Spa & Beauty centre with indoor swimming pool with a slide; Paradise for kids: Disney® shop, Disney® tickets on sale, indoor and outdoor playgrounds, Dream Castle Characters and Free car park and complimentary shuttle bus to Disneyland® Paris. Included in the room rate is breakfast and a shuttle to Disneyland.

Tripadvisor.com shows an overall rating of 84% with 716 reviews. One tripadvisor.com review stated, “A recently built, modern, attractive hotel. Family friendly as would be expected. Comfortable rooms. Very attentive and friendly staff. Buffet breakfast very good, likewise the evening buffet. Reasonable leisure facilities with swimming pool, jacuzzi and small gymnasium. Lovely setting to rear of hotel overlooking a lake and grounds. All in all, good value for money. Would definitely stay again.”

The hotel website will offer packages with Disneyland admission.

(Original Source: sleeps5.com)

Hispanos 7 Suiza

HISPANOS SIETE SUIZO Spain
Hispanos Siete Suizo

The Hispanos Siete Suizo is a block from Sagrada Familia, with a view of the cathedral. The Jr. suites are elegant apartments, with 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a small stocked kitchen, and a small living/dining area. On their on-line booking system, the room is called a quadruple and you can add-on an extra rollaway bed. Each room has air conditioning, a washing machine and dryer for laundry, a hydro-massage shower, and daily cleaning service. Breakfast is also included in the price.

The Hispanos 7 Suiza aparthotel in Barcelona is well-serviced by the subway line to the city center, bordering the residential area near Avenida Diagonal, main Barcelona artery not far from the San Paolo hospital.  You’ll find yourself using a lot of the metro if you want to see the sights of Montjuic, the Harbour and the Barri Gothic. The striking restaurant area houses some classic Hispano-Suiza cars.

The current family promotion being offered through till December 30, 2009:
Family offer in Barcelona

* Accommodation for 2 adults and 2 children (under 12 years old) in fully equipped apartments with terrace
* Continental breakfast
* Lunch or Dinner in La Cupula Restaurant, which is recommended by the Michelin Guide
* Welcome gift

Rate for the package for 4 people: 250 euros, VAT included.

This offer is available under request. They may also adjust this for a party of 5. For more info please contact the hotel comercial@hispanos7suiza.com

Tripadvisor.com shows a 92 rating with 82 reviews.

(Original Source: sleeps5.com)

Other Website Sources you should check out:

Visit Ciao Bambino, the site launched in 2003 by Amie O’Shaughnessy, has taken her European travel experience and helps enhance yours. The site specializes in Italy, and also has some recommended properties in France and England. According to travelagentcentral.com “Ciao Bambino has a wealth of information that rates hotels and apartments in Europe, the U.S. and the Caribbean, based on their family-friendliness. It also suggests the hotels suitable for different age groups. She writes about everything a mom would want to know about to keep her kids safe, plus what’s in the area from horseback riding to cooking schools. Read O’Shaughnessy’s recently posted blog, “Italy Travel 101: How to Create a Family-Friendly Itinerary.”

BabyFriendlyBoltHoles.co.uk this neat website was mentioned on budgettravel.com and provides information on UK hotels, resorts, villas, apartments and bed & breakfasts that would fit a big family vacation. You can search the site by how many the property sleeps. The site also has properties in France, Greece, Italy, and Spain. It provides an overview of the properties, local knowledge, essentials that a mom would like to know, features of the property and some photos as well. Most of the pricing is marked in EUROs.

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