Top 10 family hotels in Thailand
Searching for somewhere far-flung and fabulous to take the kids? We check into the best family-friendly hotels in Thailand that every parent should know about.
Centara Grand Beach Resort, Krabi
The scene: With the added benefit of its own private beach at Pai Plong Bay, this five-star resort is reached either by a short tuk-tuk ride from Ao Nang or by speedboat from Nopporathara Pier. There’s a good-looking pool complex, PADI dive centre, and 192 effortlessly luxurious ocean-facing and garden-view rooms, suites, and private villas - many of which have pools or Jacuzzis.
Best for kids: The two well-run kids’ clubs offer age-appropriate activities in a supervised setting. There’s Camp Safari for children aged 4-9 as well as E-Zone for tech-savvy teens too old for fish-feeding, painting, competitions, games, and arts and crafts. Babysitting is also available.
Best for parents: Time away from the kids can be spent blissing out at the fabulous SPA Cenvaree, working up a sweat at the state-of-the-art gym, and getting stuck into sailing, snorkelling, kayaking and windsurfing at the on-site watersports centre. Equally worthy of your attention is Hagi for Japanese show cooking, Rim Saai for Thai seafood, Lotus Court for Asian cuisine, and the stylish Deep Blue Bar for DJ beats and late-night cocktails.
More information and to book: Centara Grand Beach Resort, Krabi
The Old Phuket, Phuket Island
The scene: It’s all colonial-style Sino-Portuguese architecture and ultra-modern design at this four-star charmer just a two-minute hop from Karon Beach. There’s 184 stylish rooms and suites housed in two separate buildings - most glamorous of which is the Serene Wing for its glossy all-white interiors. Elsewhere, you’ll find a supersized outdoor pool and sunbathing courtyard.
Best for kids: There’s a kids’ room with games, dedicated children’s pool area, and babysitting services. For older teens, the decent selection of watersports at Karon Beach and trips to Muay Thai boxing matches in nearby Old Phuket Town won’t disappoint.
Best for parents: While you might be tempted to spend your entire holiday gazing at the impossibly blue waters of the Andaman Sea, there’s plenty to drag you away from your sunlounger. Most tempting is the state-of-the-art gym with cardio and strength-training equipment, the relaxed bars for anytime cocktails, and the selection of restaurants for à la carte and buffet-style dining. There’s no on-site spa, but poolside massages are available on request.
More information and to book: The Old Phuket, Phuket Island
Centara Grand Beach Resort Samui, Koh Samui
The scene: There’s no shortage of thrills to seal the family-friendly deal at this vast tropical playground on the quieter end of Koh Samui’s Chaweng Beach. Highlights include a large outdoor pool with Jacuzzi, tennis courts, dive and sailing centres, and 203 sea-facing rooms and suites revealing all the thoughtful luxuries and attention to detail that make it five-star worthy.
Best for kids: Camp Safari offers a wide range of activities (games, fish-feeding, painting, competitions, arts and crafts) for children aged 4-9 while E-Zone runs a dedicated activity schedule for the over-10’s and discerning teenagers. Babysitting can be arranged.
Best for parents: If shameless pampering is a priority, SPA Cenvaree offers over 30 holistic treatments and therapies as well as complimentary morning yoga sessions. There’s also a well-equipped gym, PADI centre for well-seasoned divers and beginners, Thai boxing and cookery classes, and watersports galore. Standout bars and restaurants include the Dip & Sip swim-up pool bar, the all-day Palm Grove Restaurant, and the Brazilian-inspired Zico's Grill & Bar.
More information and to book: Centara Grand Beach Resort Samui, Koh Samui
Cape Panwa, Phuket Island
The scene: For a beach-blessed stay in Phuket, this four-star resort is set on a secluded promontory in the island’s lesser-known south-east. The location couldn’t be more spot-on; right on one of Thailand’s only private beaches and surrounded by coconut groves and tropical gardens. All of the 205 suites and villas are top-spec, with many featuring Jacuzzi tubs.
Best for kids: There’s a kids’ playground as well as an indoor games room that opens daily from 8am to 10pm. Visits to see the orange clownfish, reef sharks and stingrays at the small and rarely-crowded Phuket Aquarium can also be arranged.
Best for parents: When you’re not lazing by either of the two pools, working out in the gym, relaxing in the sauna, and booking treatments in the spa, make the most of the on-site activities and excursions. There’s boat trips to Coral Island, private Thai boxing and yoga classes, batik painting, and the chance to whip up your own Thai meal. And while the 10 bars and restaurants more than satisfy, nothing beats the meat feast that is Friday’s Steak Night Buffet.
More information and to book: Cape Panwa, Phuket Island
Dusit Thani Hua Hin, Hua Hin
The scene: Handy for families looking to stay in Bangkok and explore the provincial town of Kachaniburi without have to plane-hop, these five-star dwellings are just a 10-minute drive north of Hua Hin. Check into one of the gorgeously luxurious rooms and suites and it’s easy to see why this place has star-studded approval - members of the Thai royal family are regular visitors.
Best for kids: The well-planned DKid kids’ club keeps children aged five to 15 engaged with age-appropriate crafts and games. There’s also a playground, dedicated children’s pool with fountains and bubble jets, and babysitting services.
Best for parents: Grown-up time can be spent enjoying soothing treatments at the Devarana Spa, working out at the DFiT Fitness Centre, and seeking out sand space at the beautiful beach. Once the kids are in bed, head to San Marco for Italian dishes paired with fine wines, Ban Benjarong for Thai specialities, or Rim Talay Bar & Grill for gourmet grills. There’s also the Lobby Lounge & Bar for afternoon teas and the Polo Bar for late-night cocktails.
More information and to book: Dusit Thani Hua Hin, Hua Hin
Khaolak Merlin Resort, Khao Lak
The scene: For Andaman Sea views that go on forever, this four-star resort north of Phuket ups the ante with a lush rainforest location and direct access to 190 metres of Khao Lak beachfront. Assuming an upscale vibe throughout, it has four outdoor pools, a spa pool with Jacuzzi, and 200 ultra-stylish rooms and pool villas with chic décor and all mod cons.
Best for kids: There’s a separate children's pool with waterslide, playground with climbing equipment, kids’ menu, and free-to-borrow bikes. Babysitting and childcare services are also available. Older kids may use the tennis court that opens daily from 8am to 9pm.
Best for parents: Superbly geared for families, most of the focus here is on the outdoor areas. Cool off by one of the four pools, work out in the small fitness suite, and enjoy relaxing facials, massages and aromatic body wraps and scrubs at the Merlin Spa. There’s also a couple of excellent restaurants for seafood, grilled delights, and all-day Thai and Asian fare as well as a laid-back beachfront bar for long drinks and well-crafted cocktails.
More information and to book: Khaolak Merlin Resort, Khao Lak
Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin, Hua Hin
The scene: A grandiose resort with a family-friendly approach, this 1923 colonial-style beachfront stay ticks all the boxes for style-conscious guests. There’s acres of dazzling landscaped gardens, four outdoor pools, two putting greens, and over 200 luxury-led rooms and suites with high ceilings, period-style furnishings, polished hardwoods, and sumptuous Thai silks.
Best for kids: This place offers all the facilities and activities that children could want: swimming, tennis, volleyball, football, badminton, bike rental, and more. There’s also Camp Safari for children aged 4-9 and E-Zone for hard-to-please teens. Babysitting is also available.
Best for parents: Within easy reach of eight 18-hole golf courses, this place has something for everyone. There’s SPA Cenvaree for treatments, a state-of-the-art fitness centre for workouts, and two tennis courts for optional private lessons. The equally impressive dining scene includes Hagi for Japanese show cooking, Rim Saai for Thai seafood, Railway Restaurant for all-day dining, and Salathai for traditional Thai cooking.
More information and to book: Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin, Hua Hin
Dusit Thani Laguna, Phuket Island
The scene: With the white sands of Bang Tao Beach as a striking backdrop, this family-friendly stay on Phuket’s northwest coast is spacious, stylish and rather spoiling. There’s an outdoor pool with Jacuzzi, access to a driving range and 18-hole golf course, and 252 rooms, suites and villas that seamlessly blend classic Thai-influenced décor with up-to-date luxuries.
Best for kids: The Busy Bee Kids’ Club will delight little children with a playground, sandpit, and indoor games room with giant Lego bricks, jigsaws and arts and crafts materials. For the over eight’s, there’s batik painting, candy hunts, and yoga. Babysitting is also available.
Best for parents: Work your way around five restaurants, most tempting of which is Ruen Thai for regional specialties, Casuarina Beach Restaurant for seafood and grills, and Laguna Café for all-day buffet and à la carte dishes. You can also keep yourself busy with tennis, cookery classes, fruit and veg carving, flower arranging, tai chi, pilates, and bike tours. Alternatively, hit the attractive Angsana Spa for a top-notch selection of oil massages and body scrubs.
More information and to book: Dusit Thani Laguna, Phuket Island
Santiburi Beach Resort, Golf & Spa, Koh Samui
The scene: Smack bang on the sweeping white sands of Koh Samui’s Mae Nam Beach, this stunning resort promises five-star luxury on the unspoiled northern coast. There’s 59 suites and low-rise villas spread across 23 acres of beautiful tropical gardens, a supersized freeform outdoor pool, and a championship 18-hole golf course right on the cliff's edge.
Best for kids: The Kids’ Activity Centre is kitted out with table tennis, darts, and a room for video games and PlayStation. Activities include Thai-influenced arts and crafts workshops, batik shirt painting, gel candle making, cooking lessons, basketball, football, and acrobatics.
Best for parents: Nothing beats an end-of-day massage at Santiburi Spa - a sublime space complete with indoor baths, and outdoor deep soaking tubs. There’s also two restaurants for contemporary Thai and international cuisine, a brand-new sports centre for high-tech workouts, and a separate air-conditioned room for yoga classes. Sporty types will relish the floodlit tennis court, jogging and cycling trails, and half-sized grass football pitch.
More information and to book: Santiburi Beach Resort, Golf & Spa, Koh Samui
Zazen Boutique Resort, Koh Samui
The scene: Sitting at the finest end of Bo Phut Beach on the north coast of Koh Samui, this 26-room boutique gem offers a tropical island setting between 80 metres of white sands and a coconut grove. All of the cottages, villas and bungalows assure traditional Thai décor, floor-to-ceiling windows, and all the mod cons you’ll need for a chilled-out stay.
Best for kids: The private beach will keep kids occupied for hours. There’s also a small children’s pool and babysitting services. For older kids, the hotel has good connections with a local dive school that can happily organise snorkelling and speedboat trips.
Best for parents: There’s one-to-one yoga lessons, group cookery classes, and the complimentary use of kayaks and paddleboards. Equally noteworthy are the sophisticated restaurant for upscale Thai food and gourmet French-influenced cuisine and the underground wine cellar for award-winning labels and vintages. Most alluring is the garden-facing Le Zen Spa for its massage menu, oil scrubs, detoxifying body wraps, and rejuvenating facials.
More information and to book: Zazen Boutique Resort, Koh Samui
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