Breaking the family mould
One of our most commonly asked questions is ‘What accommodation options are available for large families?’ Well, we’ve answered! Here are some great properties with space to fit absolutely everyone.
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"Sleeps four… this package is for two adults, two children… extra children at an additional fee." How often have we heard these restricting words or – worse – read them in small print? Although the world has moved far beyond the nuclear ideal of ‘mum, dad, two kids’, and intergenerational travel is on the rise, it seems tourism can’t always cope with the change. Fortunately, some places are listening and you’ll now find a range of holiday parks and resorts that are big on activities as well as bedrooms. Our guide will lead you to destinations where deals are not just designed for the standard 2x2 arrangement; where multi-room options are not an abhorrent request; where budgets won’t be blown out by additional rooms; and diverse or sprawling travel parties are made to feel at home, not like a strange anomaly.
Holiday rentals and serviced apartments
Whether your family is made up of six people or 16, you’ll find a holiday home rental perfectly suited to your needs, from you own personal château in France to a cosy cottage on a remote beach in Queensland. It’s little wonder families of all shapes and sizes are choosing to rent home-away-from-home convenience and comfort. Kitchen facilities allow you to cook the family’s favourites without blowing the budget, while backyards (maybe even a pool), televisions and movies offer built-in entertainment. Beachside homes also boast the fun of sun, sand and sea (and all at no extra cost). You can book your holiday rental directly through a real estate agent or via an online agency. Australians love stayz.com.au, with a 30,000-strong property listing that large families will love. There’s a retreat for all manner of price ranges, and with extensive descriptions, images and first-hand reviews, it’s unlikely you’ll encounter any nasty surprises. If the thought of making the bed on holiday isn’t that appealing, opt for a serviced apartment that offers many of the same advantages in metropolitan locations. Meriton has serviced apartments in Brisbane, Sydney and the Gold Coast, boasting facilities such as swimming pools and spas, and laying the city on your doorstep.
With pools as centrepieces, kids’ clubs on hand (and often complimentary) and a roster of daily activities, the resort holiday offers relaxation and adventure, no matter what size your tribe. Resorts also offer a wonderful chance to explore our beautiful neighbours in the South Pacific and South-East Asia, allowing little ones to come face-to-face with new cultures (and, for weary parents, new massage techniques). You’ll often find villas or bures that offer both privacy and space, while still putting you at the heart of the cultural action. Interconnecting rooms are created with large families in mind; Sea World Resort’s interconnecting family rooms sleep up to eight, with a ninth person catered for with a rollaway on request. Our readers have often found it best to call the hotel directly and explain your predicament. They’ll often have a family suite or interconnecting rooms that are available but in high demand, so make sure you call well ahead of time. Although you won’t be able to whip up dinner in your room, look for complimentary buffet breakfasts, kids’ meal plans or – better yet – ‘kids eat free’ deals. Plantation Island Resort has extended its policy of children staying, playing and eating for free from two kids to three until the end of May, making Fiji a much more affordable option.
Combining resort-style facilities, such as pools, kids’ playgrounds and jumping pillows, and self-contained accommodations, holiday parks offer large families the best of both worlds. Cook up a storm in your own cabin or meet the neighbours with an evening barbecue. Look for large villas that offer space for everyone; these often have rates for two people with each extra person accommodated at a nominal fee. One Mile Beach Holiday Park in Port Stephens on the NSW Hunter Coast offers a deluxe Family Beach House that sleeps eight in air-conditioned comfort, surrounded by an environment brimming with outdoor activities from putt putt to volleyball. For relaxed family fun along the Tweed Coast, choose a deluxe Tuscany Villa at BIG4 North Star Holiday Resort with room to sleep 10. Sammy’s Adventure Lagoon, a decked-out water playground with 66 features, is the place for kids to be, while even the family pooch can take a holiday with the Pampered Pooch package. If the kids are dying to shriek their way through the Gold Coast’s theme parks, base yourself at Broadwater Tourist Park, where the three-bedroom villas can sleep up to 10, with bunk beds to accommodate the whole brood and a fully equipped kitchen. The grounds are buzzing with so much adventure the kids won’t want to leave; there’s a jumping pillow, tennis court, two swimming pools and much more. School holidays delight with a programme of pancake breakfasts, outdoor movie nights, Aqua Zumba and crafty activities for non-stop family fun.
With 5425 resorts in 95 countries, utilised by 170,000 Australians and 6.7 million worldwide, timeshares are an affordable means for groups of all sizes to enjoy resort living, with trusted brands such as Accor Vacation Club and Wyndham Vacation Resorts providing quality holiday options at literally a fraction of the cost. Another terrific option is to purchase a second-hand timeshare through a reputable seller such as Redseason.com.au; you can save around 75 per cent if buying this way. You won’t be trapped into a specific holiday apartment; rather you buy ‘points’ towards a chosen timeshare network, using them to book trips at an array of holiday hotspots. The best part is they let you select the requirements suited to your clan and often include home-style comforts like kitchen and laundry facilities, play spaces and televisions.