Located on the beaches of France, Spain and Portugal, these hotels offer families fun and sun with a European twist, for not too many Euros.
As the dollar continues to drop against the Euro, a trip to Europe may not be the first vacation option for many American families. However, these reasonably priced, family-friendly beach resorts will give both parents and kids a reason to cross the Atlantic. Families can relax on the resorts’ sandy white beaches, bathe in the calm, warm waters of the Mediterranean and Atlantic or explore the different towns and villages. Vacationers can enjoy delicious meals at the hotels or visit nearby restaurants for a taste of the local fare and an infusion of culture.
Family Welcoming Beach Hotels in Spain
Sirenis Hotel Playa Dorada
Apdo. Correos 175
07840 Ibiza, Spain
34/971 196 487
Sirenis Hotel Playa Dorada, located right above Cala Llonga beach in Spain, is the perfect location for families who want a quiet beach. Only 25 minutes away from the airport, the resort has 13 junior suites especially for families. All rooms are air-conditioned with double beds and a balcony and can fit up to four or five people. Children under 2-years-old stay for free and baby cots are available upon request, while older kids under 12 stay for 50% of the room cost. The only downside is that the hotel does not have a nursery or babysitting services available, so it may be difficult for parents to spend time by themselves, but this can also be the perfect opportunity for family bonding. Parents and kids will both enjoy the activities offered by the Playa Dorada including indoor games like billiards, table tennis and darts or outdoor sports like tennis, golf and volleyball. Families can also lounge around on the hotel’s spacious sun terraces or take a dip in the hotel’s two pools, one of which is designated especially for children. Cala Llonga is also home to a large children’s playground with trampolines and climbing frames that will keep kids busy and happy.
There is also plenty to do outside of the hotel. The bustling cities of Ibiza and Santa Eulalia are both less than 10 miles away from the hotel, making them perfect destinations for families who want to spend a day out, but do not want to travel too far away. Local buses and ferries arrive regularly and are an inexpensive travel option. The Aquario Cap Blanc is a great site for families who want to combine fun with education. The aquarium, set in a natural cave, is home to a variety of native sea animals and plants. Families can also spend time exploring local “hippy” markets for traditional arts and crafts pieces or sign up for painting and weaving workshops at Ibiza’s town hall. Another sightseeing option that both kids and parents will love is the Ibiza Express, a mini tourist train that weaves through Ibiza’s beaches and towns. At the end of the day, families can relax and enjoy an authentic Spanish meal at one of the many restaurants on the island.
Urb. Calan Bosch s/n
07769 Ciutadella, Menorca
34/971 387 040
Grupotel Tamariscos in Menorca, Spain is great for large or multi-generational families. The recently renovated hotel has spacious family apartments with a living room, small kitchen and two bedrooms. For families with young ones, items such as strollers, intercoms and high chairs are available for rental. Babysitting services are also available with prior reservations. Best of all, the hotel offers a free stay for one child. With the entertainment that the Tamariscos offers, kids will never complain about being bored. Children will love staying active and playing table tennis, billiards and minigolf or dancing at the hotel’s minidisco. Meanwhile, parents and grandparents can rest by the pool or watch some of the hotel’s live evening music shows.
Guests at Tamariscos also have access to Cala’n Bosch beach and the ancient Mediterranean city of Ciutadella, a popular destination in Menorca. If families visit at the right time, they can interact with locals at Ciutadella’s many fun festivals. Menorca’s capital, Mahon, is also just a short trip away from Tamariscos and is home to several historic attractions, including a huge Swiss-made organ brought to the city during the Napoleonic Wars. Families may want to visit one of Mahon’s cheese factory outlets to learn how the city’s famous Queso Mahon cheese is created and pick up some free samples. The Es Freginal Park, located in the heart of Mahon, also hosts many cultural events. Families can watch world class musicians perform and admire the park’s flower exhibits while enjoying a picnic with treats from Menorca’s cafes and restaurants.
Best Oasis Tropical Hotel
Avda. del Mar, 1. Marina de la Torre
04638 MojÃ¡car, Spain
34/950 397 000
Located right on the Spanish coast with large air-conditioned rooms, Best Oasis Tropical Hotel is a destination for families with both beach lovers and sports lovers. Best Oasis Tropical not only has its own sports area with tennis and basketball courts, but is also located right next to an 18-hole golf course. Guests can work out at the gym and then relax in the hotel’s sauna, Jacuzzi or Turkish bath. Kids can join in on the fun, too. The hotel offers a 50% discount for one child ages 2 to 10 staying with two adults and has plenty of children-friendly activities. There is a separate pool for kids as well as a children’s playground and live shows. The hotel also has a buffet-style restaurant with a variety of choices to please everyone in the family.
If families are looking for even more food and activity choices, they can take the public bus or hire a car into Palma de Mallorca. Once in the city, families can hop on the Palma City sightseeing bus for a tour of the city’s historic landmarks and monuments including the Pueblo EspaÃ±ol, an architectural museum that houses numerous artisans’ shops and restaurants. Families with history and art enthusiasts can head to several destinations. The Catedral de Mallorca (902 022 445) has several exhibits of religious paintings and silverware while the Museo de Arte EspaÃ±ol ContemporÃ¡neo has a large collection of artwork by modern Spanish artists such as Pablo Picasso, Joan MirÃ³ and Salvador DalÃ. Families may also want to visit the Banys Ãrabs (972 21 32 62), a 10th century bath building that dates back to Palma’s Arab settlement. Visitors can choose either a hot or cold bath and relax after a long day of walking and sightseeing.
Family Welcoming Beach Hotels in Portugal & the South of France
Praia dos TrÃªs IrmÃ£os
Alvor 8501-904 Portugal
351/28 240 08 00
Only a three-minute walk away from the beach, Pestana Delfim is a modern and comfortable hotel for vacationing families and golfers in southern Portugal. Almost every room in the hotel is equipped with a balcony so families can enjoy views of the Atlantic Ocean. The hotel is very children-friendly and offers babysitting services at 10€ (about US$15) per hour as well as free cots, high chairs and early suppers upon request. Older children will love spending time at the outdoor salt-water pool during the day and the hotel’s game room during the night. Table tennis, a giant chessboard, playing cards, video games and a golf simulator will keep kids entertained while mom and dad spend some quality time by themselves. Parents can treat themselves to some time at the Pestana Delfim’s Health Club and relax in the sauna, Turkish bath or Scotch showers. They can also travel outside of the hotel to play a round of golf at any of the 11 courses nearby, two of which are owned by Pestana. Families also have a variety of activities they can do together including volleyball games, aerobics lessons, and classes in Portuguese language and painting. The ancient coastal village of Alvor is also nearby and has a variety of live music venues and restaurants. Travelers will also want to visit the Main Church, built in the 16th century, to check out the unique architecture of the time. Spend a few minutes in the churchyard for a stunning view of Alvor before heading to a nearby restaurant for a local favorite: fresh seafood.
Mercure Nice Promenade des Anglais
2 Rue Halevy
Nice 06000 France
33/04 93 82 62 22
The waterfront Mercure Nice Promenade des Anglais is in the center of Nice in France, an ideal location for families who want to explore this historic city. Rooms accommodate up to three people and cribs and babysitting are available. The Mercure Nice offers connecting rooms for bigger groups, but in limited numbers. One child under 15 stays for free with two adult guests. The hotel’s continental buffet breakfast, which costs 15 Euros per person, is also free for the child. With large windows and bright colored decorations, Mercure Nice’s rooms are comfortable and spacious enough for kids to play in. Families can also try the sports activities offered at Mercure Nice’s private beach such as jet skiing, snorkeling and water skiing.
The best part about the hotel, however, is its location in central Nice. The Promenade des Anglais, the street on which the Mercure Nice is located, is home to the Jardin Albert 1er, the oldest garden in Nice, and also the Parc Phoenix, which has the largest glass house in the world. The Mercure Nice is also just a short walk away from the old city center, which has attractions for everyone. Vieux Nice, as it is called in French, is the perfect place to find Baroque style cathedrals and churches. Shoppers will enjoy browsing through the selections of the boutiques that line the narrow streets of Old Nice, which sell everything from French wine to trendy clothes. Art lovers will have a wonderful time exploring Nice’s museums, including the MusÃ©e des Beaux-Arts (04 92 15 28 28) and the Musee Matisse (04 93 81 08 08), while music aficionados can head to the OpÃ©ra de Nice (04 92 17 40 00) for a variety of live shows. Families will have a great time strolling through the streets of this quaint, beachside city and kids will especially enjoy visiting Nice’s aquarium, amusement park, zoo and botanical gardens.
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