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Monday, June 7, 2010

Australian Families Name Their Favourite Resorts

When it comes to determining where we spend our family holidays, what drives our decision making? Is a great location temptation enough, or is value for money more important? According to a new survey conducted by Australia's leading travel and lifestyle magazine, Holidays with Kids, a resort must have both to lure canny Australian families, with the level of childcare and resort facilities also of appeal.

The annual Top 10 Resorts list is based on a reader survey sent to an online database of 58,000 members, as well as surveys in two issues of the magazine (circulation 60,000). Readers were asked to nominate their favourite resorts in Asia, the South Pacific and Australia (divided into Over 4-stars and 4-stars and Under). They scored each resort on facilities and activities for children, the quality of childcare and babysitting services, the standard of accommodation, location, value for money and the overall experience. They then rated the resorts from one to five, with five being the highest score.

When it comes to destinations, the lure of the ocean is clearly one of the strongest determining factors about where we spend our holidays. Whether it's on a tropical beach in Asia or the Pacific, or on our own sunny shores, a beach holiday is clearly a winner with Australian families.

Having a diverse and interesting children's program is clearly also of great importance. The top resorts in every destination ranked highly in childcare facilities and activities for kids – after all, happy kids equals happy parents! The inclusion of resorts offering unique cultural programs in Asia and the South Pacific also indicates that families are welcoming new experiences that provide special memories.

"The continued dominance of Fiji, Bali and Thailand in our South Pacific and Asian listings indicates that luxury and affordability can go hand in hand," said Cathy Wagstaff, editor of Holidays with Kids. "Resorts such as Shangri-La's Fijian and Club Med in Bali are quality properties where families are made to feel welcome."

Apartment-style hotels that offer kitchen and laundry facilities are also becoming more popular with budget-conscious families, particularly in Australia where feeding hungry kids can bite into the holiday budget.

There are several newcomers on the list this year, particularly in the Asia listing, perhaps indicating that Australian families are broadening their search for new destinations and resorts. Overseas, Fiji, Bali and Thailand remain hugely popular with Aussie families, while emerging destinations include the beaches of Malaysia.

The Top 10 Resorts results are published in the new 2010 winter edition of Holidays with Kids, which features our annual Ski and Snowboard issue in a flip-cover format.
In this jam-packed issue, you'll find articles on skiing in Australia and overseas, as well as advice from experts, tips from readers and information on emerging ski destinations. The edition also features stories on travelling with big families, high octane fun in Port Macquarie and great ways to explore Victoria – everything you need for a great family holiday.

Top 10 South Pacific

1. Shangri-La's Fijian Resort & Spa, Fiji
2. Warwick Le Lagon Resort and Spa, Vanuatu
3. Outrigger on the Lagoon, Fiji
4. Plantation Island Resort, Fiji
5. Castaway Island, Fiji
6. The Naviti Resort, Fiji
7. The Warwick Fiji Resort & Spa, Fiji
8. Sheraton Fiji Resort, Denarau Island
9. Jean-Michel Cousteau Fiji Islands Resort
10. Treasure Island, Fiji

Highly commended: Mana Island, Fiji; Hideaway Island, Fiji; Radisson Resort Fiji Denarau Island, Fiji


Top 10 Asia

1. Club Med Bali
2. Bali Dynasty Resort, Bali
3. Holiday Inn Resort Phuket, Thailand
4. Le Meridien Phuket Beach Resort, Thailand
5. Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort, Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
6. Disney's Hollywood Hotel, Hong Kong
7. Laguna Beach Resort Phuket, Thailand
8. Club Med Phuket Thailand
9. Golden Sands Resort by Shangri-La, Penang, Malaysia
10. The Westin Resort, Nusa Dua, Bali
Highly commended: Merlin Beach Resort, Phuket, Thailand; Bali Garden Beach Resort, Bali; Grand Hyatt Bali

Top 10 Australia

Over 4 Stars

1. Sea World Resort, Gold Coast, Qld (4.5 stars)
2. Sands Turtle Beach Resort, Qld (4.5 stars)
3. Daydream Island Resort and Spa, Qld (4.5 stars)
4. The Lakes Cairns Resort and Spa, Qld (4.5 stars)
5. Surfers Paradise Marriott Resort & Spa (5 stars)

4-stars and Under

1. Novotel Twin Waters Resort, Sunshine Coast, Qld (4 stars)
2. Paradise Resort, Gold Coast, Qld (3.5 stars)
3. Club Med Lindeman Island, Qld (4 stars)
4. Couran Cove Island Resort, Qld (4 stars)
5. Capricorn Resort Yeppoon, Qld (4 stars)


Highly commended: Reef View Hamilton Island (4 stars); Broadwater Beach Resort, Busselton (4 stars); Breakfree Aanuka Resort Coffs Harbour, NSW (4.5 stars)

***For more information or high res images, contact Julie Miller on 02 9410 2555 or copy@signaturemedia.com.au.

* Holidays with Kids is Australia's biggest-circulating travel magazine distributed to both consumers and travel agents with a circulation of 60,000 copies. A readership of 600,000 includes in-lounge and in-flight with several airlines including Qantas and Garuda and in-store at McDonald's restaurants around Australia. The Holidays with Kids website (www.holidayswithkids.com.au) receives over 4.8 million hits and more than 1.3 million page views per month and has more than 58,000 online members.

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