The St Regis, La Morne
What’s so special
This hotel occupies one of the best beaches in Mauritius and offers the kind of luxury the Indian Ocean island is famous for – think butlers, enormous beds and idyllic swimming pools. The hotel’s attitude to children is what really sets it apart, however: food is free for the under-threes, and unlike many luxury resorts, “staff don’t just tolerate children, they adore them”, says Condé Nast Traveller.
How they rate it
The excellent children’s club comes with its own pool and activities ranging from “cake baking to pirate treasure hunts”. As for the rooms, they emphasise “super-relaxed, polished comfort rather than cool design”. If you are travelling en famille, “go for a junior suite, which comes with a gigantic shady terrace that you can turn into a makeshift… playpen or a dorm for exciting starry-sky sleep-out adventures”.
The hotel restaurant, Simply India, is “phenomenal”, serving up Goan and tandoori dishes. Highlights include chicken tikka pie.
Turquoise Holidays offers a week at the St Regis Mauritius for £1,759pp half-board, including flights. For more, visit www.turqouiseholidays.co.uk, or call 01494-678400.
Shanti Maurice, Chemin Grenier
What’s so special
Shanti Maurice offers some of the most comprehensive spa facilities in the Indian Ocean. It’s for those who like to enjoy the latest treatments, and rub robed shoulders with the stars – actress Thandie Newton and footballer Zinedine Zidane are fans.
How they rate it
“Rustic thatch and earthy colours characterise this intimate and informal family run boutique hideaway,” says Nicki Grihault in The Daily Telegraph. It is located between the sugar cane and the sea “in a private, peaceful spot among sleepy fishing villages in the wilder ‘unspoiled’ south”. The rooms have “large windows with expansive views and spacious balconies”, but just be warned – the walls are thin, so light sleepers might be better opting for a villa with a private pool. These are in a secluded setting on a “non-swimming section of the beach”.
The Rum Shed restaurant offers a five-course ‘Herb Garden BBQ’ sourced from produce within a 15 mile radius, and twice weekly there is a ‘Grandma’s Kitchen’ event, where you can eat Mauritian specialities in the “village home of a carefully vetted local”.
BA Holidays offers seven nights for £1,784 per person full board, with flights (Britishairways.com; call 0844-483 0787).
The Farmhouse at A Corner of Eden in Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria is “luxurious yet homely. The cosy sitting room has a log fire and the dining room has beautiful beams”, says The Independent. Dog owners will love the “bedrooms with original fireplaces and welcoming beds”, while their canine companions’ walking needs are thoroughly catered for with “Barbours, local maps and wellies to borrow”. There are even three dog-friendly pubs in the village. The Farmhouse sleeps eight and costs from £995 a week (Acornerofeden.co.uk).
The Traddock Hotel in Settle, Yorkshire is “a friendly base from which to explore the Dales”. This “northern outpost of country-house charm” has a “wonderful drawing room with a crackling fire”. The bedrooms range from “coolly contemporary to deliciously traditional, with family antiques and the odd claw-foot bath”. Up to two dogs can accompany you and, unusually even for dog-friendly hotels, dogs can stay in the room alone while you enjoy dinner. There are also “dog-wash facilities and towels”. From £85 a night, plus £5 per dog (Thetraddock.co.uk).
The Crown & Castle in Orford, Suffolk (pictured) greets newly arrived dogs “with handmade biscuits”. The style is “old meets new with stripped floorboards and open fires”, while the rooms are “warm and airy”. After a walk in Rendlesham Forest, relax in the “pet-friendly dining spot and tuck into ambrosial food with dogs at your feet”. From £130 a night plus £6 for dogs (Crownandcastle.co.uk).