|Amirandes, Crete, Greece|
The company has always given information about the suitability of their hotels for children so it's no surprise to discover they have now branched out into selecting family-friendly accommodation as a stand-alone website: Smith & Family. The new site, which officially launches in April, signposts you to a collection of parent-approved properties which don't just tolerate children but actively encourage them.
I've often said to my husband that if I could have a dream job it would be to review hotels for Mr and Mrs Smith. I have spent years trawling the internet searching for hotel accommodation and while some sites are hard to navigate and sparing with useful detail, I can always rely on Mr & Mrs Smith's website for the clear information and witty reviews which go further than most to paint a comprehensive picture of a hotel.
What's the next best thing to being a Mr & Mrs Smith hotel tester? A Smith & Family website examiner. I have browsed their new site this weekend and am happy to give it the Mum's Gone To seal of approval. Each property has clear information about whether it is suitable for certain age groups of children from babies through to teens. The room layout is clearly described. Hoorah! How many hours have I spent trying to find out the room configuration of, say, a Junior Suite? I know it is a room with a sitting area which may, or may not, have a sofa bed. It isn't a suite, which usually (though not always) has a separate bedroom. However, there are some junior suites which have a cheeky little sliding door between the double bed and the sitting area; perfect if you'd like to wake up and not have the faces of your offspring gurning up at you from the bottom of the bed. Smith & Family thankfully tell you if there is a sliding door. They also tell you when you can book interconnecting rooms, information which is so often hidden under the long list of 'amenities', wedged somewhere between ironing board and trouser press. The availability of cots, foldaway beds, age limit of children for those beds: all these details, which differ from one hotel to another, are given proper attention.
Facilities for children such as high-chairs, baby monitors and kids' clubs are listed. Restaurants and dining arrangements are described plus location details, including a map and 'how to get there' information. Details are also provided about activities in the local area suitable for families. There are plenty of parent tips to help in your decision-making and they are honest too, telling customers if a place isn't ideal for toddlers or whether a hotel is likely to be quiet or lively.
James and Tamara Lohan, Mr & Mrs Smith's co-founders said:
'Our aim is the same as when we created Mr & Mrs Smith - where we once set out to bring you a personally visited and curated collection of fabulous boutiques and luxury hotels, this time we've unearthed the very best family stays.'
To give you an idea of the hotels which are included in Smith and Family, here are some examples:
Verdura Golf & Spa Resort, Sicily, Italy
Rates: Doubles from £172
Hotel Puente Romano, Marbella, Spain
On Marbella's Golden Mile, this hotel might be big but the layout helps maintain a cosy atmosphere. Show-stopping tennis courts, four pools and an equestrian centre nearby. My favourite accommodation configuration, interconnecting rooms, can be booked or Junior Suites and Suites, giving plenty of options for families of different sizes. Six restaurants with children welcome in all of them.
Rates: Doubles from £216, not including breakfast
Amirandes, Crete, Greece
A palatial, child-friendly paradise. Family bungalows have a bedroom and living area separated by a sliding door (see photo). Deluxe rooms even come kitted out with their own fitness room. Lots of activities on offer from aerobics to scuba diving. Pre-book items such as baby bath and bouncy chair from the GrecoBaby service to keep your luggage lighter.
Rates: Doubles from £212 usually including breakfast.
If you want a family holiday where luxury and child-friendly facilities go hand in hand, Smith & Family is certainly worth a look. They have some fabulous properties in the UK and Europe and they've all been road-tested so you can be confident of the quality.
For more information about these hotels please visit SmithandFamily.co.uk or call the expert Travel Team on 0845 034 0700