travel

"How to make your family holiday a relaxing experience. No, I’m not joking."

Before we had kids my husband and I embarked on a six-week European adventure. We hiked through the picturesque villages of the Cinque Terre, dined on seafood platters in Nice, took a catamaran cruise in Barcelona and museum-hopped through Paris. We got blotto on cocktails till one in the morning, slept in until ten and still managed to return home looking botoxed and zen.

Five years and two kids later, holidays consist of waking up at five – in the morning – with a toddlers finger up my nose before working through a spreadsheet of activities to keep the kids entertained, while we take turns speed slurping a poolside cocktail.

"Five years and two kids later, holidays consist of waking up at five - in the morning..." Image via iStock.

Not that I’m complaining, we absolutely love experiencing new adventures with our kids and holidays give us the opportunity to get away from the stress of everyday life to bond with our little dudes. That’s why despite a few plane trips that no doubt caused our fellow passengers to head straight to Dr. Vasectomy, we try to get away as much as our budget and annual leave allows.

Through trial and error I’ve discovered that holidays can be relaxing if you choose a family-friendly resort. So this December we’ve decided to pack up the kids plus granny and head to Thailand. I spent hours online searching for the perfect spot and couldn’t go past Centara Karon Resort in Thailand. You can imagine my surprise when one day after giving our travel agent the thumbs up I was asked to write an article promoting the great features of Centara resorts (#fate #easiestjobever).

Centara resorts are perfect for the family market because they manage to combine great value, luxury facilities (hello spa), yummy dining options and a huge variety of activities to keep the kids euphoric until they collapse into bed and sleep for 15 hours (I can dream can’t I?).

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Here are the five reasons we chose to book a Centara resort:

1. Value for money.

Budget is a big factor for us when planning a holiday thanks to our King Kong of a post-renovation mortgage but I’m also a bit of a princess – i.e. my version of camping involves a duck down doona and an en suite. Centara offers four and five star accommodation at reasonable rates and kids stay for free at all of their Thailand properties. Whether you’re after a large family room, a two-bedroom suite so you don’t have to share with the kids or a room with it’s own private pool for a post-dinner cool-down, you will find an affordable option to keep the family happy and well-rested.

2. Awesome programs and activities.

If your kids are under 12 they can spend the day at Camp Safari or in the high tech e-zone without it costing you a baht. Or if they prefer, they can hang out in the indoor and outdoor play areas or participate in arts and crafts. Centara resorts have collaborated with Carpe Diem Entertainment to roll out fun programs for families with activities including mini disco and aqua gym. So if you need a bit of ‘me’ time, you can book your kids into a session of fun and spend the afternoon reading a trashy novel at the pool bar or getting a sneaky mani/pedi at the award-winning spa.

"If you need a bit of ‘me’ time, you can book your kids into a session of fun and spend the afternoon reading a trashy novel at the pool bar or getting a sneaky mani/pedi at the award-winning spa." Image via iStock.

3. Waterparks.

My kids are total water babies and never get bored of splashing around in the pool so it’s a huge plus that a lot of Centara properties have waterparks. There are super speccy ones at Centara Grand Beach Resort Phuket and Centara Grand West Sands and most of the resorts have dedicated kids pools where your offspring can splash and squeal without disturbing the honeymooners and retirees.

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4. Location, location, location.

There is nothing worse than booking a hotel based on it’s fabulous online pics only to find that it requires you to drag your chafing thighs and sweaty kids over 3kms to get to the beach. Most Centara resorts are located directly opposite or within a short stroll of the beach meaning you can enjoy some time burrowing your toes in the sand or making your friends jealous by uploading pictures from your ocean view room straight to Instagram.

#wishyouwerehere Image via iStock.

5. No spreadsheet required.

If you like to have all of the holiday planning done for you, the Centara resorts in the Maldives and Sri Lanka have all inclusive and Half Board Plus programs. Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives is a ‘cashless’ resort where a stay includes all of your dining, island excursions, spa credits and water sports so you can chill and know that their wealth of local knowledge will ensure you see the best that your destination has to offer. Whereas, in Sri Lanka there is a Half Board Plus program that offers you a choice of lunch and dinner with three hours of open bar - yes!

When the kids are older, the husband and I are going to return to Europe and retrace our steps. But for the moment, we are pumped for a fun and relaxing holiday at Centara Karon Resort. Mojitos and massages, come at me.

How do you have a relaxing family holiday?

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