Top 10 Family Resorts 2010
Roll out the red carpet - it's award season time! The results are in for Holidays with Kids annual Top 10 Awards, voted by the people who know best - our readers.
Top 10 Family Resorts - South Pacific
1. Shangri-La's Fijian Resort & Spa, Fiji
Once again Shangri-Laâ‚¬s Fijian Resort proves most popular with our readers, testament to its consistency in hospitality and family-friendly facilities. Located 45 minutes from Nadi Airport on private Yanuca Island, it combines tropical dreams with convenience and style. Its recently refurbished rooms are both comfortable and modern, and its private spa the largest and most luxurious in the Pacific. The resort also offers great value packages for families as well as a fantastic kidsâ‚¬ club â‚¬ so itâ‚¬s a winner all round!
2. Warwick Le Lagon Resort and Spa, Vanuatu
Recently re-branded as a Warwick hotel, Le Lagon continues to be the premier resort in Vanuatu for families. Located in tropical gardens on the edge of gorgeous Erakor Lagoon, Le Lagon offers South Sea island charm, fantastic views and an unsurpassed standard of hospitality in the Happiest Place on Earth. Many of its rooms have just been renovated, while its three restaurants and bars, a 12-hole golf course, swimming pools and a host of leisure activities make it an ideal escape. www.lelagonvanuatu.vu
3. Outrigger on the Lagoon, Fiji
It’s been a good year for the Outrigger – not only was it 3rd favourite South Pacific resort in the TripAdvisor Traveler’s Choice Awards, but it’s also been given a nod by our readers as a great choice for families. Located on the Coral Coast amongst tropical gardens, the resort offers flexible accommodations for families, with bure bungalows, suites and hotel rooms that comfortably sleep two adults and two children under 12. There’s a daily meal plan for adults to cut down costs, while kids eat free in stays of over four nights. www.outrigger.com
4.Plantation Island Resort, Fiji
A beautiful location on a tropical, white-sand island, classic South Sea island charm and affordability makes Plantation Island Resort a popular choice with Aussie families. This is a true barefoot experience, with the kids having a blast at the free Coconut Club kids’ club which offers activities such as treasure hunts, a jumping castle, canoe races and longboat rides. Babysitting is also available for mums and dads wanting a night’s break.
5. Castaway Island, Fiji
Located in the Mamanuca Island group, Castaway Island has lived up to its name for 40 years, inviting families to kick off their shoes and relax. Kids aged from three up to teenagers will love the kids’ club, with cultural and island activities including Fijian dance lessons and hermit crab races all part of the fun. All-bure accommodation adds to the island ambience.
6. The Naviti Resort, Fiji
Naviti Resort’s all-inclusive packages continue to lure families looking for a great value tropical escape. Parents can wind down playing golf or relaxing by the pool while the kids bounce around the Rugg Rats Club’s padded playroom or take part in a host of outdoor activities.
|7. The Warwick Fiji Resort & Spa, Fiji
With a lovely beachfront location on the Coral Coast of Viti Levu, The Warwick continues to be a favourite choice for Australian families, with all-inclusive packages for return guests of particular appeal. A kids’ club and babysitting services are available, and children also have their own pool to splash around in.
|8. Sheraton Fiji Resort, Denarau Island
Just a 10-minute drive from Nadi Airport in Fiji’s only five-star resort complex, the Sheraton is a playground for families, with guests also having access to the neighbouring Sheraton Denarau Villas and the Westin Resort facilities. Plus kids under 12 stay, play and dine free, making your holidays in the sun all that more affordable.
|9. Jean-Michel Cousteau Fiji Islands Resort
Located on the northern island of Vanua Levu, this resort has a reputation as the most eco-friendly in Fiji – it even employs its own full-time marine biologist! Kids in particular are invited to learn about the special island environment, getting involved in eco-activities including snorkelling trips and rainforest walks. A special kids’ menu and mealtimes are also on the agenda, plus one-on-one nannies to make island life a breeze.
10. Treasure Island, Fiji
Located on an idyllic island within a marine sanctuary, Treasure Island also has a strong environmental focus, with Little Treasures kids’ club activities including helping to care for endangered Hawksbill turtles and green iguanas. Fijian culture is also at the fore, with traditional feasts and dances, and visits to a local school on the agenda.
Highly Commended - South Pacific
Highly commended resorts came very close in numbers of votes but did not quite make it into the Top Ten. They are, nevertheless, family favourites.
• Mana Island, Fiji
• Hideaway Island
• Radisson Resort Fiji Denarau Island
Top 10 Family Resorts - Asia
1. Club Med Bali
Club Med Bali’s attention to detail, family-friendly atmosphere and its all-inclusive format make it a winner with Holidays with Kids readers. Located between a sandy beach and rice paddies, this property captures all the charm and serenity of Bali, with lotus ponds, Balinese-style bungalows and a palm-lined beach. Activities including trapeze lessons, dance and cooking classes also score highly with Australian families looking for a cultural experience in a beautiful, exotic location.
2. Bali Dynasty Resort, Bali
Consistently popular with Australians, this beachfront property at South Kuta offers great value for money as well as a friendly, family-oriented atmosphere. The property has recently undergone a multi-million dollar renovation, and now offers six restaurants, an adults-only pool and a great kids’ pool complete with waterslide. Family suites are available as well as special Kids’ Suites complete with bunk beds; and children under 12 are free when sharing a room with their parents.
|3. Holiday Inn Resort Phuket, Thailand
Located just steps away from popular Patong Beach in Phuket, the Holiday Inn is right in the heart of all the action, yet secluded enough to be an escape for Aussie families looking for good value. Kids will love the two dedicated kids’ pool with slides, a wave cave and water guns, while the reinvented kids’ club has four zones offering TV, Xbox, art and games. For teens, Club 12 is a parent-free zone with internet access.
|4. Le Meridien Phuket Beach Resort, Thailand
Located on a private beach just minutes from the bustle of Patong, Le Meridien Phuket offers a tropical escape with a touch of 5-star class. It features two lagoon-sized swimming pools, four tennis courts, a world-class spa, a discovery centre for kids and an historic cruiser that offers unique cruise adventures.
5. Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort, Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
Wildlife encounters are clearly of great appeal to our readers, who rate this property highly for its unique facilities such as its orangutan education centre and rainforest walks. Young guests enjoy complementary access to the kids’ club, with fun eco-activities such as a ranger program creating a memorable holiday.
|6. Disney's Hollywood Hotel, Hong Kong
A visit to Hong Kong Disneyland is a must for Aussie families visiting Hong Kong, and thereâ‚¬s no more convenient or fun place to stay than at the parkâ‚¬s own Hollywood Hotel. The kids will love all the Disney touches (you may even bump into Goofy in the swimming pool!); while the 1930s Movie theme is also great fun for the whole family. Packages include entry into Hong Kong Disneyland.
|7. Laguna Beach Resort Phuket, Thailand
Part of the 7-resort Laguna complex on Bangtao Bay on the island of Phuket, this resort is ideal for families looking for quality accommodation in a safe and informal environment. Kids will love the fabulous ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’-style pool, while the resort’s baby elephants make kids’ club a special experience.
|8. Club Med Phuket, Thailand
Located on lovely Kata Beach, Club Med Phuket combines the exotic charm of Thailand with the fabulous facilities Club Med is famous for. Every member of the family is spoilt for choice, with a kids’ club for children aged from babies up, nine-hole golf course, a divine spa that offers yoga classes, and even a Thai cooking school.
|9. Golden Sands Resort by Shangri-La, Penang, Malaysia
The top family deluxe beach resort in Penang, Golden Sands is a haven for families, with a water sports centre, three tennis courts, a golf course, two swimming pools and Adventure Zone, an entertainment centre featuring drop slides, play equipment and themed birthday party rooms. Large family-sized rooms accommodate up to six people, making it extra-good value for extended families.
|10. The Westin Resort, Nusa Dua, Bali
Combining the gentle hospitality of Bali with the highest standard of comfort, the Westin Resort in Bali is an enticing oasis. Popular with families is the Family Suite that provides two interconnecting bedrooms, with board games and PlayStation 2 a favourite with the kids. The children get to play in their own pool, complete with waterfall, while the Westin Kids’ Club will keep them busy all day long.
Highly Commended - Asia
• Merlin Beach Resort, Phuket
• Bali Garden Beach Resort, Bali
• Grand Hyatt Bali
Top 10 Family Resorts - Australia - Over 4 stars
|1. Sea World Resort, Gold Coast, Qld (4.5 stars)
Location, location, location – and for theme park lovers, what could be better than staying right next door? Connected to Sea World by monorail, Sea World Resort offers affordable accommodation and park entry packages, with guests receiving special privileges such as special ‘behind-the-scenes’ tours, free entry into Sea World Water Park, and photo opportunities with Sesame Street characters. And to top it all off, there’s also a free kids’ club!
|2. Sands Turtle Beach Resort, Qld (4.5 stars)
Apartment-style accommodation is a popular choice with HWK readers, and Sands Turtle Beach’s spacious one-, two- and three-bedroom fully self-contained apartments provide a friendly, welcoming atmosphere with full resort facilities including four lagoon and two lap pools, two tennis courts, a playground and a putt putt course. Plus the theme parks of the Gold Coast are all within easy reach.
|3. Daydream Island Resort and Spa, Qld (4.5 stars)
A perennial family favourite, Daydream Island brings the Great Barrier Reef to its guests with its unique man-made lagoon featuring a host of colourful fish and corals. Kids can touch baby sharks and de-barbed stingrays and learn about reef inhabitants with resident marine biologists. There’s also a variety of restaurants on the island, and mum can relax at the island spa.
|4. The Lakes Cairns Resort and Spa, Qld (4.5 stars)
Set in 11 acres of landscaped gardens dotted with lakes and four swimming pools, this complex three kilometres from Cairns city centre offers the convenience of self-contained one-, two- and three-bedroom apartment, but with full resort facilities. There’s a day spa, restaurants, tennis courts, gymnasium – everything you’d expect from a luxury property, but without the sting to the wallet.
|5. Surfers Paradise Marriott Resort & Spa (4.5 stars)
Million dollar views, a fantastic $8.5 million snorkelling lagoon pool and proximity to the theme parks of the Gold Coast make this a popular choice with discerning families who crave a touch of luxury. A kids’ club with three sessions daily is available, plus there’s an abundance of on-site activities to keep everyone busy.
Top 10 Family Resorts - Australia - 4 stars and under
|1. Novotel Twin Waters Resort, Sunshine Coast, Qld (4 stars)
With a multi-million dollar renovation just completed, this tranquil lagoon-front resort on the Sunshine Coast combines comfort with style without pretension. Each of its 361 rooms has had a facelift, and there’s a brand new restaurant and bar. The kids will love exploring on free bikes, zooming round on the all-terrain segways, participating in Cirque Espace circus school or taking time out from mum and dad in the fab kids’ club.
|2. Paradise Resort, Gold Coast, Qld (3.5 stars)
Great prices, a child-friendly atmosphere and a superior kids’ club make Paradise Resort the hotel of choice for families travelling to the Gold Coast on a budget. Its kids ‘stay and play free’ packages are ever-popular, while guest rooms are tailored for families, including colourful Junior Bunkhouse rooms which put the comfort and enjoyment of kids first. The multi-million dollar Zone4Kids is also a winner, catering for babies right through to teens.
|3. Club Med Lindeman Island, Qld (4 stars)
Club Med’s only Australian property deserves its popularity amongst Australian families, with all the beauty of the Whitsundays at its doorstep as well as all the incredible facilities offered by Club Med. All inclusive packages include accommodation, meals, kids’ club, sporting activities guided walks, golf and even a flying trapeze – something for every member of the family.
|4. Couran Cove Island Resort, Qld (4 stars)
Located on Stradbroke Island, multi-award winning Couran Cove prides itself as an eco-friendly resort, built with green tourism in mind. A range of accommodation styles are available, hotel-style or fully self-contained to give families a choice. Facilities include bike hire, free kayaks and catamarans, guided Ecotourism walks and a diversity of recreational activities.
|5. Capricorn Resort Yeppoon (4 stars)
Located on 20 kilometres of deserted beach, Capricorn Resort is a haven on Queensland’s central coast. There is a host of family-oriented activities, including golfing on two championship courses, 25 free activities, water sports, horse riding, wetland tours and rainforest adventure tours. There are hotel-style rooms as well as apartments for families who prefer to self-cater.
Highly Commended - Australia
• Reef View Hamilton Island, Queensland (5)
• Broadwater Beach Resort, Busselton (4 stars)
• Breakfree Aanuka Beach Resort (4 stars)
|1. Ocean Beach Holiday Park, Umina, NSW
This evergreen holiday park at Umina on NSW's Central Coast leaps to the top of our list this year, emphasising that the best things are often found in our own backyard. Conveniently located just a hop, skip and a jump from Sydney, Ocean Beach offers everything a family needs for a fun-filled holiday - an idyllic beachfront location, top notch facilities, a friendly atmosphere and plenty of activities to keep the kids occupied. There's a range of camping and van sites, as well as self-contained cabins, cottages and even treehouses, while top-of-the-range is a spa villa metres from the beach. A swimming pool and adventure playground are guaranteed fun, while a kids' club offers diversions such as beach soccer, tractor rides and games during school holidays.
2. Treasure Island Holiday Park, Gold Coast, QLD
With the Gold Coast reigning supreme as Australia's favourite holiday destination, a holiday park offering a central location between the beach and theme parks is bound to appeal. Treasure Island is incredibly well-endowed with resort-style facilities, including three pools (including a separate kids' pool), tennis courts, a jumping pillow and mini golf. There are accommodation options to suit every traveller, with luxury poolside villas sleeping up to nine people ideal for families looking for a touch of comfort.
3. Blue Dolphin Holiday Resort, Yamba, NSW
Blue Dolphin Holiday Resort has long been a favourite amongst Holidays with Kids readers, and with brilliant resort-style facilities, a choice of accommodation options and an unbeatable location halfway between Sydney and Brisbane, it's not hard to see why. Set right on the Clarence River, watersports are an important part of the Blue Dolphin day, as well as swimming in the two pools, playing on the waterslide, playing tennis or jumping around in the Kidz Kave, an exciting indoor soft play area for children under five. This is the sort of place people just keep coming back to, forging life-long friendships in a contagiously happy environment.
4. Ashmore Palms Holiday Village, Gold Coast, QLD
If smiling children is the gauge of a great holiday, then Ashmore Palms has found the right formula. This colourful, quirky park is tops with the kids when it comes to activities, with free face painting, daily Macaw parrot feeding sessions and sand art just some of the fun on offer. There's a free courtesy shuttle to Surfers Paradise and nearby shopping malls, or simply wander through the lush rainforest gardens, brimming with birdlife or relax by the lagoon-style pool. There is an array of cabin choices, from budget-priced Melanesian cabins to beautifully-appointed rainforest retreats.
5. Adelaide Shores Caravan Park, West Beach, SA
Part of a massive tourist complex on Adelaide's West Beach, Adelaide Shores Caravan Park provides budget accommodation in South Australia's premier recreation destination, with a golf course, boating facilities and a skate park all nearby. Featuring a range of accommodation, from van sites to cabins and even brand new eco-tents (permanent furnished tents offering the fun of camping without the inconvenience!), Adelaide Shores also features two pools, a jumping pillow, bike hire and 10 barbecues scattered throughout the park, all combining to create a friendly, communal atmosphere.< P>
6. Darlington Beach Holiday Park, Arrawarra, NSW
Located on six kilometres of beachfront and surrounded by national parkland, Darlington Park is a haven for wildlife as well as happy families! The facilities here must be seen to be believed - a nine-hole golf course, a tropical pool complex including two waterslides, a floodlit bowling green, a BMX track, two tennis courts and a kids' playground, all located on 44 hectares of parkland teeming with ducks, cockatoos, kangaroos and possums. There's even an internet kiosk with a wi-fi hotspot if you really can't keep away from civilisation. Accommodation is in comfy cabins, in well-equipped RV sites or amongst the trees in the idyllic bush campground.
|7. Cairns Coconut Caravan Resort, Cairns, QLD
A visit to the Barrier Reef may be the holiday of a lifetime, but it can be tough on the wallet. Cairns Coconut Caravan Resort is the perfect place for families travelling on a budget, offering a range of accommodation from camping to cabins as well as some truly impressive facilities. It features a brand new waterpark, as well as two resort pools, waterslides, 18-hole mini golf, a huge adventure playground, a giant chess set and even outdoor movies under the tropical stars.
8. Happy Hallidays Holiday Park, Forster, NSW
Happy in name, happy in nature, this holiday park is conveniently located just a few hours' drive from Sydney, making it the ideal weekend getaway or school holiday destination. With the beach just one kilometre away, surf and sun are always on the agenda, as well as swimming in the solar-heated pools, jumping on the giant pillow, riding the fun train or playing in the games room. There's a full program of activities for kids during the school holidays, while the indoor Kidz Nook provides all-weather fun and the chance for mum and dad to relax over coffee.
9. Mandalay Holiday Resort, Busselton, WA
Western Australia's favourite holiday park, Mandalay at Busselton, has been designed with families in mind, with facilities including two pools (one heated indoor pool with a shallow beach), a games room, playing field, giant jumping pillow and three adventure playgounds ensuring that kids always have plenty to do. Accommodation ranges from caravan and camping facilities to two storey apartment-style luxury spa villas with beach views and beach cottages. And with a great location in the Margaret River wine region, it's perfect for a family holiday.
10. Big4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort, Airlie Beach, QLD
Located in the gateway to the beautiful Whitsundays, this multi award-winning holiday park is a great option for families wanting to explore this part of the world without breaking the bank. Set on 26 acres of tropical gardens, the resort features Airlie Beach's largest resort pool, water slides, water mushrooms, an adventure playground under shadecloth, tennis, mini golf, outdoor movies, a jumping pillow and school holiday kids' club - so you'll never have to hear the words, "I'm bored!"ť All onsite cabins offer fully self-contained facilities and linen, and are set in beautiful landscaped gardens to ensure privacy.
Highly Commended - Holiday Parks
Highly commended holiday parks came very close in numbers of votes but did not quite make it into the Top Ten. They are, nevertheless, family favourites.
- Merimbula Beach Holiday Park, NSW
- Big4 North Star Holiday Resort, Hastings Point, NSW
- EcoPoint Murramarang Resort, NSW
1. Big4 Trial Bay Eco Tourist Park, NSW
“Bob Brown would be proud of this place,” wrote one reader who raved about this holiday park near South West Rocks on the NSW north coast. Nestled amongst the wilderness of Hat Head National Park and with seven beaches within walking distance, Trial Bay’s focus on nature is not surprising. The park works in conjunction with National Parks to protect wildlife, control weeds, plant native species and even uses paint colours that harmonise with the natural environment. They also utilise recycled building materials, have a worm farm and hold wildlife tours to view the kangaroos that hop happily around the property
|2. Lane Cove River Tourist Park, NSW
This multi-award winning tourist park has raised the bar in environmental initiatives, creating a green haven just 10 kilometres from the heart of Sydney’s CBD. The park strives to be carbon neutral, reducing energy consumption, using solar energy and planting trees. Staff even use electric vehicles to get around the park! The park has also embarked on habitat projects, educates guests about native animals on a nightly Discovery Tour and has a series of worm farms for composting!
|3. Rawnsley Park Station, SA
Located in the dramatic Flinders Ranges, Rawnsley Park’s commitment to preserving its unique environment has been rewarded with Ecotourism certification as a South Australian Gold Award. Green innovations include the installation of a solar power generator, sustainable cleaning and maintenance practices and eco-tours around the property. Whether you want to pitch a tent under the stars or stay in their luxurious eco villas featuring straw bale walls and polished timber flooring, you can rest assured that you are treading lightly on the fragile and wild landscape.
4. Big4 North Star Holiday Resort, Hastings Point, NSW
Winner of a Gold Gumnut award and with a AAA Green Star listing, Big4 North Star on the Tweed Coast prides itself on its Marine Environments Education Centre, a celebration of the local marine environment and biodiversity. Some 4500 secondary school kids attend Adventure Education here each year, learning about the environment from marine biologists. The state-of-the-art facility is the first in the southern hemisphere to be fully lit with LED lighting, using 80 percent less power. Other green initiatives this popular holiday park has taken include electric housekeeping vehicles and recycling projects. They also offer a five percent discount to any guest who arrived in an electric or hybrid car or by bicycle!
5. Big4 Peppermint Park Eco Village, Busselton WA
Nestled in 8ha of bushland, just 300 metres to the white sands of Geographe Bay, Peppermint Park has been awarded the CCIA Bronze Gumnut Award / Eco Certification and has also won several state tourism awards. It features spacious shady van sites overlooking a wildlife lake, and its green innovations include rainwater tanks installed around the park to reduce reliance on local water supplies, energy-efficient lighting and showers, and a recycling program. They also support the local economy by buying local and eco-friendly good, including eco-friendly cleaning products. There are 1600 trees that have been planted on the property, creating a lovely environment for wildlife including endangered Western Ringtail Possums which guests are encouraged to help protect.