Five unforgettable family holidays, from beach retreats to action-packed city breaks
Five top family-friendly getaways
It might not be the first place that springs to mind for parents, but Paris is surprisingly well-suited to family holidays. The city’s dotted with beautifully-kept parks and old-fashioned carousels, while a salted-caramel macaron works wonders if spirits are flagging. It’s a chance to see iconic sights through fresh eyes, and experience them anew, whether it’s a climb up the Eiffel Tower or picnic in the Tuileries. You’re perfectly placed for sightseeing at Mandarin Oriental, Paris, whose inner garden is a tranquil retreat after a hectic day out. Children are well catered for, with welcoming gifts and crayons, while the concierge can recommend activities for restless mini-explorers.
Welcome to Turkey's answer to St Tropez, the wooded Bodrum peninsula. Edged by the Aegean, and dotted with ancient ruins, it's home to waterfront promenades, buzzing bazaars and sandy beaches. Kids can admire the shipwreck-salvaged finds at the Museum of Underwater Archaeology, set in a rampart-ringed castle, while older kids will love gulet cruises and horseback rides. Mandarin Oriental, Bodrum makes for a cocooning base, with access to two private white-sand beaches. It’s deeply relaxing for grown-ups, and warmly welcoming for kids, with a separate pool, sea-view kids' club and Gymboree activities and classes (think yoga, face-painting and ceramics sessions).
The Big Apple’s a thrill for all ages, whether you’re ascending the Empire State Building, where five-and-unders go free, or heading to Brooklyn Children’s Museum and its playful mini-cityscape. Staying at Mandarin Oriental, New York, Central Park is on your doorstep, with its playgrounds, zoos and street-performers. Feeling overwhelmed by all the city has to offer? The concierge can help you draw up a small-people-pleasing itinerary, while Fans of MO can sign up for the in-suite Glamping in the Sky experience, with a tepee, cookie-decorating kit and children’s bathrobe and slippers (sorry, grown-ups; it’s under-11s only).
If Shanghai’s known as a business city, it’s also family-friendly, for dim sum-loving teenagers and Disneyland-bound toddlers alike. Get your bearings from the top of the Oriental Pearl Tower, take a river cruise, or stroll the mile-long waterfront promenade. If life here can be fast-paced, Mandarin Oriental Pudong, Shanghai is the perfect antidote, with its riverfront location, vast indoor pool, and calm, capacious rooms – including three-bedroom apartments, with masses of space to spread out. Children are welcomed with a panda and cookies, and given their own toiletries and robes, while The Spa can arrange swimming lessons and splashy aqua fitness sessions.
For families, Marrakech is magical. Children will be awed by the Jemaa el-Fna’s whirling dervishes and snake charmers, along with the chaotic souks and bazaars (keep a firm hold of toddler’s hands). Back at Mandarin Oriental, Marrakech, there’s plenty more to keep kids occupied, from meeting the resident farm animals to cooking with the chefs. Best of all is its children’s club, the one-of-a-kind Kids’ Kasbah – a rampart-edged miniature fort, hidden amid lush gardens, hosting yoga classes, movie screenings, arty activities and more.
All offers and experiences available at time of publication. Please contact the hotel team for more information.