According to travel agent statistics, an estimated 34 percent of families are now enjoying multi-generational holidays every two to three years, with many family groups planning their vacations around landmark event such as birthdays, anniversaries and reunions.
Private villas offer a host of options for the whole family to enjoy, from the toddlers to their grandparents. Generous amounts of private space, expansive gardens and easy access to activities and attractions all add up to a fun, relaxing getaway.
Many people, myself included, have fond memories of their annual family holidays as children. With parents and grandparents on hand to keep you well fed and entertained there was rarely a dull moment, and when the uncles, aunts and cousins were invited to join the trip, the days turned into special events, complete with communal meals, games and excursions.
When international travel became increasingly easy, however, extended family breaks seemed to be largely replaced by exotic trips for two, small family beach holidays and all inclusive packages targeting specific age groups, rather than encouraging a generational spread.
Then came the advent of private rental villas in places Thailand
, which once again allowed children, teenagers, adults and their parents to share the same accommodation. The chance to enjoy some quality time together, while also having the space to enjoy a little personal time between communal pursuits.
The design, location and layout of many private villas makes them perfect for a multigenerational family holiday. The private and common areas are clearly defined and there's plenty to do either at the property itself, close by or on a tour or pre-booked family excursion by car.
For the kids
Keeping the children happy is always a family priority and at a holiday villa it's made all the more easy thanks to outdoor features such as a private pool (sometimes including a kids pool), beachside gardens and even a dedicated playground. Inside larger villas, a dedicated TV den is a common inclusion and some properties even have their own games room with a pool table and multimedia games like a playstation or Wii.
Thanks to the private grounds, parents and grandparents have the luxury of choice when it comes to joining in with activities like swimming, ball games and beach combing. Family friendly villas are also designed so the little ones are always in sight for safety reasons and the helpful staff will happily keep them entertained when the adults need a break.
For older children, activities can also be arranged at the villa such as cooking classes, tennis lessons (some villas have their own court), swimming and snorkelling tuition, even yoga. Then, of course. there's a wide choice of trips and excursions that can be easily arranged through the villa manager — from amusement arcades to elephant rides, snorkelling trips and zip line rides in the jungle.
For the parents
For parents of young or even older children, being able to relax and enjoy a family holiday, happy in the knowledge that the kids are content is often one of the principle goals. At a private villa, some of the rituals and routines of home can be maintained, which makes the whole process of travelling abroad much easier.
The proliferation of private in- and outdoor spaces adds further to the ease of daily life, and having dedicated staff on hand to help take care of the young ones takes the pressure off considerably. A number of villas also have staff accommodation, and families with full time nannies often bring them along too. Babysitters can also be easily arranged when Mum and Dad want to indulge in a spa treatment, a romantic dinner or a night out on the town.
For the grandparents
The seniors on a multigenerational family holiday have just as much right to a good time as those from a younger generation. Quality time with their grandchildren may be part of the joy, but the opportunity to explore the surroundings and the enjoy activities and attractions on offer, either with the family or on their own, is also part of the appeal.
Leisure pursuits like sailing, golf and beach walks are all right on the doorstep in locations like Phuket, Koh Samui and Bali, and its always easier to enjoy time with the younger members of the family when there's a range of options to choose from beyond the pool and the beach.
by MAX VEE