Welcome to the exciting new world of family travel. You may have to make a few (temporary) compromises to your travel habits, but we're here to help with the transition. What you're ideally looking for at this nascent stage is child-friendly hotels that are, conversely, not entirely parent-unfriendly. These are - if you'll excuse the expression - rarer than rocking horse poo. Fortunately though, they do exist, and we know the best in show. We appreciate there are very precise criteria for young families (qualified babysitters, readily available baby clobber etc) and our team of expert destination consultants are here to help demystify the places that will fulfil your most demanding requirements…
If a country's prowess for providing perfect family holidays was judged by the locals' love for children, Italy would win hands down. Your bambini may not appreciate the near permanent pinching of cheeks, but any country where pizza, pasta and ice cream feature so prominently on the menu will always go down well with discerning youngsters. Take your little ones to these fabulous family-friendly spots and begin a love affair with Italy that is likely to last their entire childhood.
Where to stay? The superslick Verdura Resort in Sicily caters for children of all ages. During the day, your pre-schoolers can enjoy fun gardening, gymnastics and cooking classes, then you can watch them take their first swimming strokes in the pool under the watchful eye of professional instructors. Come bedtime the sprogs will love the bathtime rubber ducks and cute hooded towels, and the teddy turndown service.
Direct short haul flights? Tick. 320 days of sunshine a year? Tick. Superb family-friendly hotels with genius programmes that let parents pre-order everything from car seats and cots to buggies and bottles so they don't have to pack the kitchen sink? Tick, tick tick. Even better, Cyprus is home to several hotels with excellent kid's clubs and crèches, most of which cater for four-month-olds and up. For three and for-year-old budding Beckhams and mini Mary Berrys, there are also clubs offering sports camps and Cypriot cake baking classes.
Where to stay? Sun, sea and swimming nappies. Not an obvious calling card but available on Columbia Beach Resort's 'Baby Ease List' of infant essentials (sound familiar?). Then there's the Cub Life Crèche for four-month-olds and up, offering treasure hunts, dance offs and pebble art sessions while parents steal some much needed chill-time.
With direct flights from London during out winter, the Maldives is ideal for those with tinies in tow looking for some old crow weather respite. Some of the best resorts are a short onward seaplane hope away but slick airport meet-and-greets mean you'll be whisked through in a Maldivian minute. Best in show include hotels with private outside areas, allowing you to relax and stay close to your little one. Excellent babysitting services also allow parents to enjoy every activity on ofer as well as some well-earned R&R. The dream destination for family holidays in 2020, basically.
Where to stay? Perfect for a trip with baby-in-tow; Six Senses Laamu is an ideal young family retreat. There's a brilliant kids club where wee ones can make coconut shell turtles and more, and food for under-fives is free. The babysitting services mean parents can escape for some fun while your bundle of joy is being well looked after.
Spain's mainland and islands are right in the sweet spot for toddler travel thanks to a plethora of direct flight destinations and some of Europe's finest weather, even as early as April or as late as October. Coastal Andalucía has exceptional beaches and town that are super toddler and baby friendly; while family classic Tenerife and Mallorca are winners on all fronts, whether you want to laze the days away together on the beach, explore inland, or head out to sea on a boat ride.
Where to stay? The Ritz-Carlton Abama on Tenerife packs in plenty on child-friendly products - everything from playpens and travel cots, to prams and baby baths- so you don't have to. A section of their captivating children's club is also for the exclusive use of zero to three-year-olds who are accompanied by a parent or nanny. Best of all, Tenerife averages 20°C in January, so it's ideal for short haul winter sun.