HOTEL OR VILLA? - Your guide to choosing the right holiday with little onesSep 28, 2023
This is a question that we just didn’t know the answer to before we tried both, we um’d and ah’d so much as it seemed there were pros and cons to each. So now that we have experienced one of each I can share my thoughts with you and hopefully help you to make your decision.
A VILLA HOLIDAY WITH A YOUNG FAMILY
We booked a villa in Mallorca with two other families, both with kids of similar ages to ours earlier this year. The idea behind this choice was that we envisioned being able to put them all to bed and then hang out in the garden drinking rose and eating dinner, The thought of having a big garden and pool to ourselves was a real selling point.
We did have a whole garden to ourselves and it was great that the kids could run around naked if they wanted, throw their toys all over the place and we weren’t worried about losing anything or annoying other guests. Being next to the pool in 10 steps from the house meant that they could swim whenever they wanted to. In truth, both a pro and a con. But it was great to see their confidence grow in the water.
Having the villa meant that kids could nap in their beds, or - for the older ones - on the sofa whilst we were outside. We even spent a teeny amount of time on a sunbed - I couldn’t believe it! It was good not to be constantly packing and unpacking bags to take toys to the pool and apart from Alfie wanting to change outfit every 5 minutes it was really handy for getting out of wet trunks.
Having our own kitchen meant that we could feed the kids at whatever time we wanted to, rather than waiting for restaurants to open, or keep them still at tables whilst we waited for food to arrive. We could buy all the things we knew they would eat and choose when and how they ate them.
When it came to night-time it was brilliant to be able to put our kids to bed when it worked for us, and then eat dinner together with all the monitors on. We felt like we had our holiday every evening from about 7.30pm.
The pool didn’t have a fence around it. I am aware it isn’t a con for all villas but we should have done our research first. We could never fully relax as our kids had no fear of the water and could jump in at any moment. There wasn’t much down time in the day as we were always trying to keep the kids from launching themselves into the pool without one of us in there.
Having our own kitchen was good on so many fronts but there was so much to do on holiday, and if we weren’t cooking we were washing up, or clearing up food off the floor and preparing for the next snack or meal. It did feel a little never ending.
No one to make your beds, or your breakfast, meant that it didn’t feel like such a holiday on that front.
Our kids woke up earliest out of everyone (loved that for us!!) and we were worried that they would wake the others up so there was a lot of shhh'ing at 6am and trying to keep them occupied when all they wanted to do was go swimming.
No kids club. Massive con!! We were the kids club, and whilst it was so much fun swimming and playing with them there was literally no downtime in the day.
A HOTEL HOLIDAY WITH A YOUNG FAMILY
We have been to a hotel in Greece twice (Domes of Corfu) first when Barney had just come along and just this week. It was just the four of us.
We were picked up from the airport in a hotel transfer and it was so lovely not having to wait at the car hire when everyone is just exhausted from the flight.
There were people to make our beds every day, we didn’t have to cook or clear up a single meal all week and had drinks and snacks on tap all day without having to lift a finger. Absolute luxury. Alfie was actually sick one night in the travel cot and someone came up with fresh sheets in 5 minutes.
The kids also had access to buffets for breakfast, lunch and dinner which actually mean they try so many different foods and there is no pressure on what they eat or leave because we didn’t spend time in the kitchen making it. I know we should never put pressure on them, but you know what I mean, it’s frustrating!
There was a kids club, and tonnes of other kids around the pool that Alfie made friends with (Barney was too young the first time but he absolutely loved it this time) So we actually had time on our own to talk, walk and just be us - total bliss. When not in the club having a kiddies pool is an absolute win - they spent ALL of their time playing so nicely, the only problem being when it was time to get out.
We had to be much more organised about packing what we needed for a day at the pool, and take enough nappies, changes of clothes, suncream etc down with us. Of course we could go back to the room whenever we needed, but it was a lot of faff with two kids.
Mealtimes for our kids didn’t quite line up with the restaurants in the hotel, ie they usually eat dinner at about 5pm but it didn’t open until 6.30 so we had to get clever with snacks and a bigger lunch.
Once the kids were in bed, we were tied to the room. To be honest we weren’t too upset about this because we were knackered and very happy to go to bed early but it would have been nice to have had the choice.
MY VERDICT ON HOTEL OR VILLA
All in all, a holiday is a holiday and I wouldn’t turn down either to be very honest with you. But with our kids being the ages that they are, if WE want to feel like we’ve had a holiday then hotel is the one. No cleaning or cooking, entertainment provided by other people, no car hire to organise, it is just less admin. Ask me again in another few years and I will probably change my mind but for now with a 1.5 and 3 year old - hotel is my answer.
If you decide that you too like the idea of a hotel holiday, then I highly recommend Flagstone Travel. They helped us with both our hotel holidays and really understand the concerns with 'travelling with young children'. They made it as stress free as possible, ensuring that we had everything we needed to enjoy our holiday. If you get in touch with them, please do mention that you heard about them through me and they will make sure to look after you.
Want more pregnancy and post-natal chat?
News, moves, motivation, and recommendations delivered to your inbox once a month.
We hate SPAM. Your email address will never be given to anyone else and we won't bombard you with sales talk.