Anantara Mai Khao Phuket Villas
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For pure relaxation: A 15-minute drive from the airport and a hop and a skip to Phuket’s longest beach, Anantara Mai Khao Phuket Villas (anantara.com) is the perfect five-star family holiday in a secluded yet convenient spot. Bliss out in the spa, where children over five can accompany you and have an aromatherapy massage. There’s a large resort pool, plus private villa pools. The Turtle Club is free for ages four to 12. Speaking of which, they can arrange for you to visit the marine turtle shelter next door at the Marriott. And if you’re lucky, you might even see a turtle-releasing ceremony by conservationists.
Angsana Laguna Phuket
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For families who get out and about: One of the biggest drawcards at Angsana Laguna Phuket is the freeform pool that winds its way around the resort for over 300 metres. There’s also an artificial beach, jet pools, a toddlers’ tub and a lazy river. The Tree House Kids Club has jungle gyms, daily activities, a multi-level play area and even a kids’ spa, while parents can play golf on an award-winning course, hang out at XANA Beach Club or chill out with a treatment at the Angsana Spa. For family fun, visit the Activity Hut, paddleboard on the lagoon, go trekking to watch the sunset or try your hand at windsurfing. Best of all, children under 12 eat, stay and play for free.
Avani Pattaya Resort & Spa
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Kids who want excitement: A recent change of ownership has resulted in a complete makeover of this resort. There are Sea and Garden View Rooms and Garden Terrace Suites decorated in a calming neutral palette, three restaurants (the casual Garden Café, the alfresco Sala Rim Nam and Benihana teppanyaki), a deli and two bars. Kids get to take part in the AVANIKIDS program: painting, playing, cooking, swimming and more. They’re also spoilt with toys and in-room surprises, and the babysitting service means that parents can take time out to stop by the Fitness Club, enjoy a custom spa treatment, play a round of golf or try flyboarding. Kids will love the huge outdoor pool with a Jacuzzi and nearby Royal Garden Plaza mall for its theme parks, Crocodile Farm and waterpark.
Centara Grand Mirage Beach Resort Pattaya
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For tweens and teens: There are enough amenities at Centara Grand Mirage Beach Resort Pattaya to please even the pickiest of teens, including an expansive, jungle-themed water play area with 12 slides, a waterfall and a lazy river. Head to dry land for the sports centre’s tennis and rock-climbing facilities, plus an E-Zone with arcade games and video-game consoles. Bonus: the hotel is right on the beach. Centara Grand is known for its family-friendly resorts in locations across Thailand, with great options in Phuket, Krabi and Koh Samui. The Pattaya resort is a 90-minute drive from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport.
Elephant Hills, Khao Sok National Park
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For nature and wildlife: Fancy camping in a Thai tropical forest and getting close to majestic pachyderms? Elephant Hills’ luxury tented camps (elephanthills.com) in Khao Sok National Park, Southern Thailand, don’t offer elephant rides. Instead, you can watch the animals bathe and help scrub and feed them in their natural surroundings. The best option for families is the three-day Jungle Safari, which includes a light trek, boat rides and a visit to a local market.
Iniala Beach House, Phang-nga
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Kids who want to do their own thing: While opulent villas with spacious outdoor areas and private pools mean a pampering experience for the whole family at Iniala, kids can feel very grown up at their own hotel. The Land of Iniala Kids Club and Hotel has exciting play and dining areas and even tree house- and cave-themed sleeping areas that families can exclusively book out. Little guests get their own welcome goodies and can order from the children’s menu at the restaurant. Parents will love the onsite restaurants, nearby golf clubs, water sports, in-room spa therapy treatments and exploring the surrounding villages.
JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa
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For families who play together: Despite being right on the oceanfront at Mai Khao Beach, there are also three pools at JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa. The main one has a children’s pool with a slide and jet sprays, the other two (one of which has a swim-up bar) are for grown-ups. There are enough restaurants and bars to keep everyone in the family happy, as well as babysitting services and activities for families and children including Batik painting, Thai dance classes, yoga and the Ginja cooking school. Even the luxurious Mandara Spa offers treatments for kids and teens.
Katiliya Khao Lak Resort & Pool Villas
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For kids who like to keep busy: Surrounded by lush rainforest and fronting a picturesque white-sand beach fringed with palm trees, Katiliya Khao Lak has more than 300 rooms, six pools, six restaurants, two bars and a raft of recreational activities on offer. A pool with waterslides, Thai boxing classes, a mini-golf course and stand-up paddleboarding are all designed with families in mind. Parents can drop children off at the Kids Club for treasure hunts and beach Olympics before retreating to the extensive spa facilities, which include a steam room and rainforest showers, or the Terrace Oceanfront bar for amazing views.
Phi Phi Island Village Beach Resort
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For younger and older kids: Set against a green backdrop, this beachfront resort offers accommodation ranging from garden bungalows to a sea-view villa with a private pool as well as a huge resort pool, a stretch of beach overlooking turquoise waters, four restaurants and three bars, two of which are poolside. There are diving trips to stunning sites available and, for kids, various programs depending on their age. Activities include crafts, swimming lessons, a kayak adventure through mangroves and lessons in survival techniques.
Pullman Phuket Arcadia Naithon Beach
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For a low-key getaway: On the quieter northern shore of Naithon Beach, Pullman Phuket Arcadia is perched on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Andaman Sea. For parents, there’s a great fitness lounge, sauna, spa and massage treatments plus plenty of water-sports. Families can head to the beach or one of two pools to swim, play minigolf or hire bikes. There are different children’s clubs for babies through to children up to 12, with babysitting services available and a videogame area. Three restaurants offer both casual and fine-dining options and three bars – Float, serving up kids’ favourites during the day, C Bar where Vinoteca by Pullman means you can get a great selection of quality wine by the glass and Azur for cocktails by the pool – mean you’ll never go thirsty.
Soneva Kiri, Koh Kood
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As they say, good things don’t come easily. To reach this remote island resort, it’s a 90-minute private flight from Bangkok, followed by a speedboat transfer. But once you’re at Soneva Kiri (soneva.com), you’ll enjoy a pristine, crowdless version of Thailand in a unique setting and in absolute luxury. The kids’ club is housed in The Den, a giant bamboo hut with an interior that looks like a cross between Robinson Crusoe and Dr Seuss. The itinerary is packed with a mix of cultural and educational activities such as rainforest walks and local school visits. In the evening, the entire family can watch films in the open air on cushioned decks overlooking the lagoon or stargaze in the high-tech observatory. Oh, and we haven’t even mentioned the private-pool villas, round-the-clock butler service for all accommodation types and unlimited access to the chocolate room, which is exactly as it sounds: a room full of chocolates that you can eat at will.
Sri Panwa, Phuket
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For parents who want to get out at night: Perched on a cape with expansive views across the Andaman Sea, Sri Panwa has an over-the-top pool club that ticks a lot of resort wish-list boxes. There’s an infinity-edge pool, a pool bar, nightclub and multiple dining areas offering everything from Chinese to barbecue, a games room, a boutique and an onsite steam-room and spa with a floating yoga deck. Families can charter a boat, swim in the beach pool with its jets and waterfalls, try batik art or play table tennis and pool in the games room, kayak, snorkel or dive around nearby islands or take part in cooking classes to master various Asian cuisines.
The Racha, Racha Island
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For outdoorsy families: This island resort has loads of outdoor activities for nature-loving, adventurous types. Active kids can join their parents on a guided walk around the island, snorkel at Ter Bay, go for a mountain-bike ride, kayak, stand-up paddleboard, swim in Batok Bay, charter a boat or try their hand at fishing. That should wear them out. There’s also a spa, three pools and several dining options from snacking by the pool to sitting down to a three-course meal. Kids will love Gerardo’s Gelato, where homemade gelato and custom sundaes are the order of the day.
Up Next: The Ultimate Kids’ Travel Bucket List
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