Finding family-friendly luxury across Europe

Ashley Chalmers

Senior Contributor

Luxury and family-friendly aren't two travel terms that always pair well together. Uptight travelers scoffing as a child cries in business class spring to mind, and the thought of splurging on a meal for your toddler at a Michelin-starred restaurant might seem… well, insane. But you truly don’t have to give up your luxury lifestyle just because you’ve got a tiny traveler in tow. These game-changing escapes give mum and dad the break they deserve, all while pampering the little ones nearly as much.

Verdura Golf & Spa Resort, Sicily

Situated on the southwestern coast of Sicily, this resort is the ultimate escape from it all. Your hardest choice will be which of the two golf courses to try, or whether you want to lounge on the private beach or by the pool with the picture-perfect view. After, you can head to the 4,000 square meter spa, which includes an indoor pool with kid-friendly hours. Speaking of kids, you can arrange babysitting services in the creche, or book them in for activities at the kids’ club. After, meet back up for a family bike ride through the olive gardens, or to Liolà, the most family-friendly of the multiple dining options (though all welcome children). Fly into Palermo, and you can arrange a taxi service with the resort to drive you the 90 minutes to the property. A car is also handy to explore the area, or you can arrange half-day and full-day trips to nearby villages Sambuca di Sicilia or Santa Margherita di Belice, or explore The Valley of the Temples at Agrigento.

Principe di Savoia, Milan

Parents have accepted that some cities might not be the most kid-friendly. Milan, in all her fashion-forward, cosmopolitan glory, is very likely one such city. Enter: the Principe di Savoia. No hotel staff will make your little principe or principessa feel more welcome and adored, with tiny gifts and treats awaiting in-room or at the front door, seemingly each time you exit and re-enter. Its location is an easy walk to the trendy Brera district, or a 9-minute tram ride to the Duomo and the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. Italians tend to adore babies, so you won’t be hard-pressed for warm and welcoming restaurants, especially for the lunch service. But should you find yourself in a pinch, the gourmet market at Eataly is a 9-minute walk from the hotel, and the surrounding neighbourhood is an increasingly popular destination that has a different, more modern vibe than the rest of the city.  

The Ritz, Paris

Set in Paris’s dreamy Place Vendôme, this hotel should be on everyone’s list, young and old. The location alone is kid-friendly, particularly in thanks to its close proximity to the Jardin des Tuileries and its beloved carousel. The hotel itself offers luxury children’s bath products and mini robes with slippers in-room. The stunning indoor pool also has children’s hours, with a lifeguard on duty to make sure everyone is safe and behaving.

The Gleneagles Hotel, Perthshire, Scotland

While Gleneagles is most famous for its golf courses, you can somehow get away with visiting and never even picking up a club. The property’s 850 acres features horse stables, mountain biking, falconry, and, most impressively, coaches on hand to give lessons to little ones for nearly every activity. If your offspring are just a bit too young to handle a hawk landing on their extended arm, then the adorable and newly renovated kids’ club is the perfect alternative. It’s broken up into age-specific sections, with video games, board games, and TVs on one side, and a more secure and heavier staffed creche area with soft play and suitable toddler-and-under activities on the other. There’s also a children’s pool, a gundog school, and ferret racing, so you should also prepare for a lot of questions from friends and teachers about what, exactly, happened on summer vacation.

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