Self-catering or Hotel for Family Holidays? We’ve Found The Perfect Balance

When it comes to booking a holiday with young children, sometimes the variety of accommodation options can seem somewhat bewildering.  People tend to fall into two camps: those who favour a self catering villa option, and those who favour a hotel option.  Whichever way you go, you can be faced with challenges, especially if your children are young.

Choose a self catering individual villa and you can enjoy your evenings together after the children have gone to bed.  You don’t need to worry about what your fussy eaters might (or more likely, might not) agree to eat from the hotel buffet, nor are you having to spend your holiday evenings whispering to each other in the en suite bathroom of your hotel room whilst your children sleep soundly (in your bed).  

But the downsides?  No playmates for the children, limited facilities, and you find yourself still cooking pesto pasta and beans on toast, just in a warmer place, with a nicer view.

So you choose the hotel option See above for the implications.  Someone else does the cooking, and there is often a decent variety of activities on site, but when it comes to spending time ‘a deux’ of an evening, then the chances are you’ll be holed up in a hotel bathroom, in silence, sharing a can of beer whilst the children sleep.

Levendis pool and views

The pool (and the view!) at Levendis House

Do not despair though – we have the perfect solution!

Choose a place where you and your family can stay in a self contained unit, be it an apartment or villa, but on a site where there are multiple units, and importantly, shared facilities – pool, restaurant, pizza oven, games room, playground etc.  First off, these kind of places often superbly set up for children, providing you with all the kit you might need from stairgates and high chairs to toys and games.  They also tend to be run by people who are sympathetic to the parents’ needs, and with that in mind they often offer home cooked meals, babysitting, and on site activities for the children.

One Off Places can offer you a whole host of these marvellous set ups – each offering some rest and respite for parents, company for children, privacy and seclusion, as well as access to fun and facilities, in equal measure.

levendis house and gardens

Levendis House and garden

Levendis is a seven acre farm on the shores of the Ionian island of Ithaca in Greece.  It is perched on a hillside and has spectacular sea views.  The estate includes four x two bedroom houses, each with its own vine covered veranda terrace, and a shared pool with fabulous sea views.  The kitchens are well equipped for those who wish to self cater, and the houses are all just a stone’s throw away from the morning coffee shop where you can have your breakfast.  Full baby packs and childcare are provided, and there is a large library, beach equipment, games and toys available. 

Breakfast at Levendis 1

Breakfast at Levendis…

The whole place is set up to offer privacy to each guests, whilst allowing easy access to communal areas where people can share the company of each other.  Children are welcome to help take care of the animals, or have breakfast at the coffee shop, giving parents a quiet start to the day!  There is a bike rack with a good selection of bikes you can borrow, and a short stroll takes you through the pine forests to the beach.  All in all, a luxury, yet family friendly destination!

Alsagra pool and views

The pool at Alsagra – and oh, the view!

Fancy Italy?  Again, we have just the spot.  Alsagra is a beautiful Italian farmhouse which has been divided into three independent apartments.  Specifically designed as a small and friendly escape run for families, it really does do what it says on the tin.  Families will be completely charmed by these gorgeously stylish apartments which have sweeping views, a solar heated pool and a baby pool.

Alsagra play area

The play area at Alsagra is pretty cool…

Inside the apartment you will find everything you need for your youngsters, including baby monitors, bedguards, toys, games and door gates.  Outside the apartments the pools, a full-sized wooden gypsy caravan, zip wire, tree house and play area with slides, swings and climbing frames, as well as table tennis or table football.  And if that’s not enough, cooking classes, art classes, meals, pizza nights and a childminding / babysitting service for when the adults want to go out and about.  Alsagra viewsAnd of course, if you can tear everyone away, then the delights of Umbria and Tuscan on your doorstep!  This is truly an ideal setting to spend time with the family, let the children enjoy all the on site activities, while you relax and enjoy a glass of wine watching the sun go down!


Orange cottage terrace

The Terrace at Orange Cottage

Orange cottage is one of four independent cottages set in beautiful grounds in rural Algarve, Portugal.  Located in the central Algarve and perched high on a hilltop, the cottages and grounds have spectacular sea views and are just a 15 minute drive from the coast.  The cottages are set in beautiful gardens and they share the use of the swimming pool and jacuzzi. 

Orange cottage swingsThere is a children?s play area with swings, slide, and see-saw all alongside an orange grove, and for the energetic youngesters, there is an outdoor games area with a professional sized tabletennis table as well as table football and an exercise bike.  The pool area is enclosed and gated, and the acre of garden fully and safely fenced.  Once again, all manner of baby and toddler equipment can be provided to make your stay as relaxing and comfortable as possible.Orange cottage pool

There are more of these fabulous places on the One Off Places website – you’re bound to find something superb which suits the needs of yourselves and your family.

Author: Laura

A 70's child, I’ve been married for a Very Long Time, and appear to have made four children, and collected one large and useless dog along the way. I work, I have four children, I have a dog… ergo, I do not do dusting or ironing. I began LittleStuff back in (gulp) 2004. I like huge mugs of tea. And Coffee. And Cake. And a steaming cone of crispy fresh fluffy chips, smothered in salt and vinegar. #healthyeater When I grow up I am going to be quietly graceful, organised and wear lipstick every day. In the meantime I *may* have a slight butterfly-brain issue.

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