It’s always the way. The younger the children, the more luggage you need. Suitcases loaded with dozens of changes of clothes ‘just in case’, toys and different gadgets that make any journey, no matter how short, more like a house move. And then comes the second bit, the ‘Are we nearly there now?, repeated over and over and enough to try the patience of Job himself. This may sound like the start of a boring monologue, but it is just the reality faced by thousands of families with young children every summer. At this point, only the bravest opt to go through the even more complicated process of catching a plane. For the rest, there is a Plan B: get in the car and head for somewhere else in Andalucía, a type of tourism which has become increasingly popular in this Covid era.
In the past few years there has been a steady increase in the number of family-oriented hotels in the region. The Costa del Sol, Roquetas del Mar, Almuñécar, Chiclana and Cartaya are some of the places where guests can find maximum comfort, facilities and ways to relax and have fun, all inclusive, without leaving the resort. Water parks, swimming pools with dragons, pirate ships, cinemas, minigolf, bowling alleys, sports facilities… the children won’t want to go home! Here, we give details of 15 hotels where you can enjoy a holiday with the kids this summer.
Selwo Lodge (Estepona)
Nature and the African culture are the focus of the Selwo Lodge hotel in Estepona. It is a real paradise for animal lovers, and guests can sleep in cabins without leaving the park, with the added excitement for children of spending the night with the sound of animals in the distance. The accommodation resembles the traditional constructions of wood and stone that are found in the African reserves, the Watu and Masai villages, but with the comfort of a modern hotel (with air conditioning, TV and minibar). Sound tempting? In addition, the price of the hotel includes the tickets to the park. This is, without a doubt, a great experience for the youngest members of the family.
Globales Playa Estepona
The Globales Playa hotel in Estepona is on the Atalaya Isdabe seafront, very close to Puerto Banús. It is a refurbished, family-friendly four-star complex with free parking, five swimming pools (three for adults and two for children), extensive gardens, sports and games facilities, a beach club and a mini-club. With an area of over 4,000 square metres, guests can enjoy water sports and play table tennis, billiards and darts. There is also evening entertainment and karaoke.
Holiday World (Benalmádena)
Holiday World is a large complex designed for family leisure. Situated in Benalmádena Costa, it has become a benchmark for this type of tourism and its aim is for every member of a household, adult or child, to have fun. Its wide range of activities contribute to this, with plenty of entertainment during the day and in the evening. For example, there is a Beach Club with a volcanic jacuzzi, waterfalls, wave pools, a pirate ship and a water slide circuit (it even has doughnuts!). The complex also has several minigolf courses, hanging bridges, sports facilities, film screenings, bowling alley, a children’s spa to help them relax and even videogame consoles in some of the rooms. With all this, they’re never going to want to leave!
Globales Los Patos Park (Benalmádena)
Also in Benalmádena, just 250 metres from the beach, is the Globales Los Patos Park hotel, a four-star complex which has its own water park, one of the most popular in Andalucía. That is a huge attraction for the smallest (and not so small) members of the household. The swimming pool area has endless options for them, from aquatic games to different slides, and a large dragon that presides over one of the swimming areas for the youngest children. Los Patos Park also has a large solarium, extensive gardens with palm trees, a varied entertainment programme with a pirate themed mini-club and a great games room for all ages.
Riu Costa del Sol (Torremolinos)
The Riu Costa del Sol hotel has more than 550 rooms equipped with all you need to enjoy a holiday with the children. It is on the promenade in Torremolinos with sea views; it is four-star with an all-inclusive option and boasts three outdoor pools, one indoor pool and a splash park where the whole family can keep cool. There is entertainment at the Riu Costa del Sol during the day and shows and live music in the evening. Another plus: the sportiest guests can practise volleyball, windsurfing and golf close to this hotel, and it also has its own gym.
AluaSun Marbella Park
The AluaSun Marbella Park is surrounded by nature in a pleasant area away from the bustle of the Golden Mile. It is perfect for a few days of relaxation and fun with the family, as it offers all-inclusive packages. There are three multi-lane slides and two enclosed slides that go directly into the pool. There are plenty of daytime activities for the children and entertainment for the parents in the evenings as well. Its location, just five minutes by car from Elviria beach in Marbella, and its buffet restaurant with Mediterranean cuisine, are among the advantages. The hotel’s facilities for children also include a heated outdoor pool, a playground and a games room with table tennis.
Evenia Zoraida Park (Roquetas de Mar-Almeria)
The Evenia Zoraida Park, on the beachfront at Roquetas de Mar, is one of the most popular hotels ‘with slides’ in Andalucía. One of the most outstanding facilities of this four-star hotel is the new area created for children, with several water slides, a pirate ship, tropical pool, heated indoor pool, gymnasium, playground and seven-a-side football pitch. The complex has four themed à la carte restaurants: Italian, Mediterranean, Grill and Asian, and a wide range of activities led by entertainers, a great discotheque and a fitness centre.
Mediterráneo Bay Resort (Roquetas de Mar-Almeria)
Mediterráneo Bay Hotel & Resort is a four-star complex in Roquetas de Mar, on the beachfront with direct access to the promenade. Its extensive range of all-inclusive facilities and well-kept decor make it an excellent choice for a family holiday. The highlights include a large freshwater lagoon pool covering more than 2,500 m2, a themed pool for children and integrated jacuzzi, all in Caribbean style. Guests can also enjoy a large indoor pool (heated in winter) and indoor hot tub. The youngest members of the family will not want to leave their Mediterranean Aquapark, which is a leisure area with slides, or the Aqua-Baby, where they can play and enjoy interactive games and even the fire engine, complete with slides, waterfalls and water jets.
Zimbali Playa (Vera-Almeria)
The Zimbali Playa Spa is another of the most popular family hotels in Almería. This four-star resort, 200 metres from the Playazo beach in Vera, is part of the Senator chain and is themed with exotic decoration and African motifs. Well-kept gardens and fountains lead to the leisure area, with its large themed swimming pool beside the sea. There is a full spa, a children’s club, giant chess and also a minigolf.
Cabo de Gata Garden (Almeria)
The relaxation that Cabo de Gata always brings, combined with attractive swimming pools for children. This perfect balance seduces thousands of families and brings them back to the Cabogata Garden Hotel & Spa each season. The four-star hotel is beside El Toyo beach and it now boasts a new water park reflecting the essence of Andalucía and the Cabo de Gata-Níjar Natural Park. The water park has been inspired by the historical remains of the San Pedro castle (with flamingos, interactive water lilies and bilateral jets), and also has a bubble slide and five big slides forming the so-called mermaid’s lighthouse, which you can glide down to cool off in the pool. The resort also has a spa, fitness centre and tennis and volleyball courts.
Playa Cálida Spa (Almuñécar-Granada)
In Almuñécar, Granada, you will find the Playacálida Spa, a fantastic Arabic-style resort on the seafront with direct access to the beach. This is another great option for a family holiday without leaving Andalucía. The complex has complete facilities including a river-themed pool with slides and jacuzzi, and a large infinity pool with panoramic views over the coast of Almuñécar which gives you the impression of floating above the sea. Sport lovers are also well catered for here, because the hotel has water activities (kayaks and canoes), a games area with petanque, giant chess, shuffle-board, archery and rifle shooting, as well as minigolf and table tennis.
Riu Chiclana (Chiclana-Cadiz)
The four-star Riu Chiclana is at the heart of the Costa de la Luz, and its attractions include a wide range of facilities and plenty of activities to keep the children entertained. The resort has a playground full of attractions and games, five outdoor pools and two children’s pools with slides and pirate ships, sports courts and even water sports organised by the entertainment team. The youngest members of the family will also enjoy the RiuLand kids’ club.
Iberostar Royal Andalus (Sancti Petri-Cadiz)
The Iberostar Royal Andalus is on La Barrosa beach, a 5-km stretch of fine sand facing the Atlantic. This is another resort with a focus on family holidays. In fact, it has been recognised as one of the best in Spain for this type of vacation, because of its excellent facilities. These include a children’s aquatic area with waterfalls, slides, water cannons, a three-headed dragon which spits water and even a Viking ship which every child will long to get on board.
Playa Cartaya Spa (Cartaya-Huelva)
The Playacartaya Spa Hotel is surrounded by 12,000 hectares of protected pine forest and is situated beside La Flecha beach. It is another four-star family hotel in Cartaya (Huelva), set amid natural surroundings with access to the beach via a boat trip through the marshes. There is a spa centre, various entertainment shows, sports activities and the jewel in its crown: the Playacartaya Aquapark. There is a themed outdoor swimming pool – surrounded by lush gardens – with water slides, a heated indoor pool and hydromassage pool. The games area has petanque, shuffle-board, archery and rifle shooting, minigolf and table tennis. With all these facilities to choose from, it is almost possible for anyone to feel bored.
Ohtels Mazagón (Mazagón-Huelva)
These apartments in Mazagón have an outdoor pool, a complete water park – with several slides fitted among rocks and an exciting pirate ship on an island-pool for children, beside a terrace with panoramic sea views. This is another alternative for those who want a family holiday, in this case with the added comforts of an apartment. Each one has a bedroom, private balcony and living room with sofa-bed and flat-screen TV. Set amid the pine forests, Ohtels Mazagón is 15 kms from the centre of Huelva city and 25 kms from Doñana national park, so it is an excellent base for exploring the area. The outdoor facilities include a tennis and padel tennis court and an entertaining minigolf course which, in conjunction with the daytime and evening entertainment for children and adults, ensure that the whole family will enjoy themselves.