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A Relaxing French Holiday… With Your Kids! Our Review of Country Kids

Yes you read the title right!  Probably the most relaxing holiday with young kids that you’ll ever have in France… Here’s the review you’ve been waiting for – over to you Georgina!

My nerves were palpable.  There was just no way that the Country Kids Resort could live up to the hype.  The photos of smiling kids on the website.  The glowing reviews online.  The Mumsnet Award.  I needn’t have worried.  It was the best holiday that we have had since the kids were born.  By a mile.  Here’s why:

Who

Georgina, husband, Abbie (2yrs 11 months) and Sam (7 months)

Where

Country Kids, near to Montpellier, France

When

April 2014

Hotel Booking

Direct through the hotel.  Tracey (one of the owners) was very helpful, talking us through the features of the different apartments that were available.

Getting to Country Kids

The resort is easily accessible from the airports at Beziers and Montpellier.  We flew with Ryanair from London Luton to Beziers and then rented a car.  Country Kids provided us with detailed directions from the airport.  The journey took just under an hour, with the final fifteen minutes on a steep, windy road, giving us spectacular views of the Lac du Salagou as we headed up to the resort.

Country Kids - nearby lake

Hotel Room

Country Kids has five apartments in the main block, and then two separate houses (the Chestnut House and the Farmhouse). 

Country Kids - The Farmhouse

We stayed in Apartment One, a ground floor apartment with a large lounge/dining area, kitchen, small shady private terrace and three bedrooms.  The master bedroom had an en suite wetroom with a shower and toilet (separated from the bedroom by a curtain), the second bedroom had a corner bath within the room, and the kids bedroom (twin beds and plenty of room for a travel cot) was next to another toilet and shower room.  It was very comfortable for a family of four, and you could potentially also fit another couple of adults (the website suggests that the second bedroom would be ideal for grandparents).  The apartment was furnished to a very high standard, with lovely furniture, plush bathrooms, good appliances (oven, hob, dishwasher and washing machine), and the ubiquitous Nespresso machine.

The apartment was bright and airy but stayed cool during the day, and it was nice to be on the ground floor and right at the centre of the resort.  The small terrace was perfect for a quiet meal in the shade.  One downside of this apartment is that it isn’t fully air conditioned, although this wasn’t an issue for us in April.

 

Facilities for Children

* In the room

Before we arrived we were sent a questionnaire asking what baby equipment we would require.  We were provided with a steriliser, travel cot, bouncy chair and nappy bin (kept outside on the terrace).  There were plenty of other special touches too, a welcome pack for our daughter, toys and books in the bedroom, bath toys, and kid friendly cutlery and crockery.

* Around the resort

The Kids Club – Takes babies from 3 months upwards, and is open all day (it closes officially for an hour at lunchtime but you can pay a supplement for them to keep the kids and feed them lunch).  You can come and go as you please with no need to pre-book slots, and you can stay and play with the kids if you’d rather not drop them off.  The staff were incredibly professional, friendly and welcoming and they run a range of activities for all ages.  Over the course of the week our toddler played on the soft play, sandpit and playground, did lots of arts and crafts, baked cakes, went on an Easter egg hunt, and even took on a (very small!) role in a show.

Country Kids - Soft play

Farm – Every morning (except Wednesday, the Farmer’s day off), Farmer Stuart leads the kids off to see the animals and feed them their breakfast, followed by a well deserved ice lolly back at the café in the centre of the resort.

Pool – The pool is heated to 30 degrees so it’s perfectly warm for babies and toddlers.  There are plenty of pool toys and floats, as well as a slide.

Country Kids - by the pool

Adults pool

Adults pool

 

Facilities and activities

Everyone arrives on a Saturday, and the following morning each family sits down with the resort’s concierge to discuss their plans.  There are a whole range of activities on offer, including wine tasting, archery, pony riding and trout fishing, with or without your children.  We were positively encouraged to head off site while the kids enjoyed themselves in the kids club, and do things that we would never do with a toddler and baby in tow.  Or if we wanted to stay on site, we could just chill out by the pool or have a cheeky glass of wine on our terrace, knowing that our kids were having fun in safe hands.

The resort is small enough to be sociable without being suffocating.  The ‘Who’s Here’ board lists everyone’s names and the ages of their children and the café provides a central focus in the resort for people to meet and chat.

If you want to stay on site all day long, there is plenty to do, with a gym, adults only pool, Jacuzzi, trampolines, tennis court and mini golf on site, as well as a BBQ area.

Country Kids - Mini Golf

Minigolf

Country Kids - Trampoline Country Kids - gym

 Country Kids - BBQ Area

Spa!

Spa!

Country Kids - bikes

Boules

Boules

Dining

There are two packages available at different times of year, Self Catering or All Inclusive.  We were there in Spring, so we were on the Self Catering package.  Tea and coffee is free all day long in the bar, as is the mid afternoon tea time (sandwiches and cake).  For mealtime it’s up to you, you can head to the nearby supermarket and cook in your apartment, or there are various options available on site.  For breakfast there are a range of items available, for lunch there is a menu of freshly made salads, tarts and sandwiches, and for dinner there is a freezer stocked full of delicious meals (made by the resort’s chef) if you can’t face cooking.  The staff are very flexible – they offered to make and freeze puree for our (recently weaned) baby, although I opted to take a batch of Ella’s Kitchen pouches with us instead and ordered through Boots International for delivery to the resort.

Country Kids - Cafe Country Kids - Cafe 2

The Shop

The Shop

There is a fully stocked bar and wine cellar, a good selection of grocery items, plus fresh eggs from the chickens.  The resort operates on an honesty system, so you just help yourself and log what you have used.

What made Country Kids stand out?

The facilities for children are not an ‘add-on’.  It’s the focus of your stay.  The resort is designed so that kids will have the time of their lives, and the parents can sit back and relax, or join in if they want to.

The staff are incredibly welcoming and you just know that they will go the extra mile to do whatever they can to ensure that you have a memorable holiday.

There are lots of large hotels and resorts in the sunshine with great creches and facilities for kids.  But we wanted to find somewhere different, somewhere like the type of small, boutique hotels that we would have stayed at before we had children.  At Country Kids you get all the convenience of the childcare, with the feeling that you are in a grown-up boutique resort.  And on your last morning they will even pick up the kids at 7am to take them to the creche, so that you can have that lie-in that you’ve dreamt off for years…

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