Tatler - And the grandparents came too
August 2016

The most sensational family holidays to suit the entire gang, from the biggest to the smallest.


Raja Ampat

For a proper take-to-the-high-seas-me-hearties adventure, opt for Tiger Blue, a traditional jaw-dropper of an Indonesian phones that sleeps 10. Inside, it’s all cool Balinese style (including child-friendly cabins), while outside are sprawling decks, billowing sails and outdoor beds for those who wish to sleep beneath the stars. A cracking team will sail you around Raja Ampat, guide you up to the peaks of Wayag and point out the little birds of paradise.

Solandge, a six-deck, 242ft yacht with eight cabins and 29 crew, is the top choice for a knees-up along the Dalmatian coast, with party and spa decks, plus gym, pool and cinema — all linked by lift. Stop-off spots include Bonj Les Bains beach club on Hvar and snorkelling at Dobreč Bay, which is perfect for children.


Boulders Beach, Cape Town

Top choice for a group in Cape Town is a private villa from Perfect Hideaways, which has the best houses in the country. Clifton Bungalow, a hop from the white powder beaches of Clifton, is probably the most ravishing beach house in Cape Town — soaring ceilings, a palette of breezy whites and creams, lots of tactile driftwood. Do the city (don’t miss the Boulders Beach penguins or the daisies on Table Mountain), then head inland to Franschhoek and the country’s finest food: Grande Provence for a vineyard picnic, Bread & Wine for boozy lunches in dappled shade. Bed down in pitch-perfect La Clé des Montagnes, which has private Cape Dutch houses with mountain views, beautiful interiors, private pools and not one but THREE butlers. Then zip over to malaria-free Kwandwe Private Game Reserve to take over the Melton Manor (it sleeps eight) and bump around the bush gawking at the Big Five while the Blue Crane Conservation Club pampers the sprogs.

Maasai Mara, Kenya

Every trip to Kenya must start or end at Giraffe Manor in Nairobi — it’s just too insane to have the long-necked creatures stick their heads through the window and lick the yogurt from your morning muesli (Gisele Bündchen is partial to a spot of tea there, FYI). Stay at the new four-bedroom Garden Manor before flying to Enasoit, a family home in the Laikipia highlands that sleeps up to 16 and has views of a watering-hole and salt licks, so babies and grannies can spot wildlife while the rest head off on game drives. (The estate also has a resident ostrich, a warthog and a zebra). The Brudenell-Bruces are regulars here; at night, they dance around tent poles while lions pad past. Finish at Cottars five-bedroom Private Homestead in the Maasai Mara — the world’s greatest game reserve — where scorching afternoons can be spent in the new 85ft pool.


Get remote and rowdy on Thanda Island, south of Zanzibar — it’s a brand-new private number with a five-bedroom beach house, plus a pool and a private coral reef with a 1,000-yard exclusive-use zone (no paps). Toys include a dhow, three other sailboats, a motorboat for snorkelling excursions, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards. Teens will love the whale-shark snorkelling trips, and smaller ones will go bananas for midnight trips to see baby turtles hatching.

Far-flung Ariara is a 125-acre private island in the Philippines and sleeps up to 18 in stilted jungle villas or beach cottages — think posh Swiss Family Robinson. There are a dozen boats, various jet-skis, beach volleyball at sunset, scuba-diving on the house reef and a crewed motor yacht for island-hopping around Tubbataha Reef Marine Park. Kids can go squid-fishing, trek to waterfalls and sit in on classes at local schools. It’s educational — up to a point.

Moskito Island, Sir Richard Branson’s newest baby in the British Virgin Islands, is a three-villa private island for 22 guests that’s just a zippy boat ride from Necker, his original Caribbean hideaway. You’ll get the requisite palm-fringed, white-sand beaches and lots of organised fun if that’s your bag — like Amazing Race-style challenges, scavenger hunts and movie nights. Brown + Hudson can arrange a Pirates of the Caribbean immersive-cinema experience involving the whole family dressing up and reciting lines with a full cast — with a surprise cameo of your favourite actor for an extra fee of about £120,000. If it’s Johnny Depp, we reckon that’s money well spent.


Jodhpur, India

Start your Rajasthan adventure at Raas Devi Garh, an 18th-century fort-cum-palace in the Aravalli hills owned by Nikhilendra Singh, who can handle the most demanding request (he arranged Elizabeth Hurley’s wedding and is rumoured to have dated Naomi Campbell). A couple of hours’ drive is Jawai Leopard Camp, with a new solitary private tent (good for the in-laws). Make the most of leopard-spotting, strolls with Rabari herdsmen and tours of the insanely intricate Jain temple at Ranakpur. End at Umaid Bhawan Palace, near Jodhpur’s Mehrangarh Fort, where kids can go ziplining, enjoy a rickshaw treasure hunt, race camels through the desert or brush up on their polo.

El Fenn’s four-bedroom private house in Marrakesh, owned by Vanessa Branson, is brilliantly central and just a minute from her main hotel Riad El Fenn (Romola Garai and Sacha Baron Cohen are regulars). The hotel has a new concept store that’s co-curated by Paul Rowland, formerly of Ford Models, and sells kilims, Fez pottery and vintage bits and bobs. There are also three pools, tortoises poking about the bougainvillea, and Walter the dachshund (plus, for those with gammy knees, a lift up to the roof — rare in a riad). Next, head for the hills to the new five-bedroom Retreat at Kasbah Bab Ourika, with trekking, rafting and staggering views of the Atlas mountains, safe in the knowledge that Sir Mick Jagger and Princess Michael of Kent like it here. Conclude at Jnane Tamsna in Marrakesh’s Palmeraie, where you can fly the extended family for a final fiest. There are 24 bedrooms spread over five houses, each with a pool, and the hotel will organise the best parties in town; a recent bash for over 400 guests had them all sitting at one table with 9,000 candles and 9,000 roses.


Head to House Hannes Schneider in tiny Stuben — one of the original Arlberg villages near Lech in Austria, loved by the Euro royals (Monagésque in Zürs, Dutch in Lech). This is the former home of ski pioneer Hannes Schneider, who invented the stem turn and ‘Arlberg squat’ (nope, we’ve no idea either). It sleeps over 20 and has a cinema, games room, spa, sauna, pool and hot tub — and is ski-in, ski-out. The concierge organises everything, including guided ski-touring to remote Bürstegg for a traditional picnic with sheepskin rugs, wicker baskets and snowball fights.

Powder is king in Canada’s Whistler, and nowhere more so than at the Heli Chalet, which sits on seven acres with its own helipad for extreme aerial ski-in and ski-out. Along with five bedrooms (and two more at a nearby guesthouse), there’s an outdoor heated pool, hot tub, steam room, gym, cinema, loads of Lego (if the snow gets boring) and children’s books in the library. Best bit: the concierge does the dreaded removal of children’s ski boots.

The Top Global Fixers

Lillingston are good on complicated itineraries, such as their 120-strong bash starting in Hong Kong Harbour, followed by a Saigon motorbike scramble — one party bag included designer crash helmets and personalised iPods.

Fait Accompli can organise anything — from lavish parties on Swiss mountaintops with ‘snow Olympics’ for over-competitive guests, to massive water-taxi treasure hunts in Venice. Private jets and on-the-nose party branding are a given.

Dreamsmith, who can sort lunch on a Patagonian glacier and a pop-up nightclub and shisha bar in the Agadir desert, are also exclusive party-planners in aristo-favourite Mustique.

Party Maroc does Marrakesh soirées like no other, with clients such as Giorgio Armani, Donna Karan, Brad Pitt, Karl von Habsburg and the Rothschilds.