Ciao Bambino has not experienced Country Kids resort first hand yet, but we wanted to share this unique property with our readers. We were compensated for our time spent on this interview by Laure & Sylvain, the brilliant parents behind this accommodation. As always, our opinions are our own.
Ciao Bambino has checked out thousands of fantastic resorts over the years, but it is rare that we come across a place that seems to be truly unique. Country Kids Resort in the south of France appears to be just that.
For most parents the only time they get to relax on holiday is on that snatched mini-break that happens once in a blue moon when close family or friends offer to have the kids for the night. Some parents don’t even get that and even if you are lucky enough to get this opportunity every few hours you may feel a pang of guilt over whether the baby is missing you or the toddler is wreaking havoc. Country Kids bills itself as a luxury family resort in the South of France that is a paradise for kids and a holiday for you and it manages to tick both boxes.
You can’t stay here without children, but there are many loyal guests, whose children have now flown the nest, who would like to! A cluster of just seven luxury villas sit within the grounds of Le Mas Pandit, where you’ll also find a heated family swimming pool; an exceptional childcare facility; a tranquil spa, including an adults-only pool; a shop filled with snacks, essentials and fine dining food; and, a petting farm.
‘Country Kids sort of happened by accident,’ explains founder Tracey Scher. ‘My husband Stuart and I were juggling jobs in London with family life with our two children, then I got pregnant for the third time. When we found out I was expecting twins, I realised that I wouldn’t be able to carry on working so we made a drastic decision to spend a year in our holiday home near Toulouse.’
Whilst their older children got to grips with French, Stuart and Tracey decided that they loved living in France and that they didn’t ever want to return to “normal” life. They began letting out a property on their small estate in Toulouse and following the success of this they decided to look for a larger plot where they could realise their dream of creating a truly family-friendly, luxury holiday resort.
They fell in love with Le Mas Pandit, a cluster of stone buildings that once housed a Roqefort dairy in an area of outstanding natural beauty, about an hour’s drive north west of Montpellier. They bought it and, following a year of extensive renovations, Country Kids welcomed its first guests in 2007. It’s enjoyed pretty much full occupancy ever since.
‘I think the secret is down to us having four young children ourselves and knowing exactly what we want from a holiday and then trying to achieve it.’ explains Tracey. ‘Our concept is very parent-led and the whole childcare aspect is very strong. That’s why we are different to anywhere else.
‘We are working parents and when we go on holiday we want a holiday too. Even though we are a tiny resort, our kids’ club and childcare services are properly regulated and our staff are qualified. We invest a huge amount in the crèche and the services we offer younger guests and the kids love to be in our care. You’re not pushing your children into a dull room full of old toys and leaving feeling bad about it.’
Since December 2015 Tracey and Stuart passed Country Kids on to a lovely French family. The new owners Laure & Sylvain Neveu worked for many years in the hospitality industry. The Neveu’s family includes two young children, Mila & Emy. They know what parents need and are excited to carry on the Country Kids concept.
‘Our starting point is happy children,’ explains Tracey. ‘If you have happy children you have happy parents. We take babies from three months in the crèche and on site we have masses for children of all ages to do: there’s a sandpit; a mini-golf course; a swimming pool; playground; petting farm; and, the kids club run a huge range of activities for them, such as swimming and tennis lessons, cooking, painting and yoga. Whilst for older children there are scavenger hunts, cricket, football and rounders matches, for example. Everything is adapted according to the interests of our guests that week.’
There is no need to book the kids club, you can drop your children off and take them out when you please.
Whilst the children are being entertained, parents can enjoy a lie in – staff will even come and pick up early-waking children; a spa treatment; a game of tennis; perhaps a wine tasting; horse-riding or they can just go off and explore the local villages.
During the summer season all guests are on the all-inclusive option, which covers accommodation, all food and drink, unlimited childcare, all on-site activities; two off-site activities, such as horseback riding or rock-climbing; one massage and spa treatment per adult; free wifi; twice daily housekeeping, a weekly wash and iron service, two nights of baby-sitting and use of all baby equipment, such as cots and pushchairs.
The Spring and Autumn Seasons tariffs include unlimited childcare, babysitting, daily cleaning and petting farm visits, plus a daily tea time. The concierge can tailor optional extras to suit your needs such as spa treatments, yoga, wine tasting, off-site activities and use of the on site shop, bar and wine cellar.
Whilst guests can choose to keep themselves to themselves, there is a social aspect to Country Kids for those who want it. All the staff are English-speaking, so although guests arrive from around the world, they tend to be primarily from English-speaking countries.
‘It’s a far more intimate environment than you’d find in a standard family-friendly luxury resort,’ points out Tracey, ‘and it can be very social for parents and children. We have tea-time at the bar everyday, for example, which is a chance for guests to get to know each other. And as the grounds are completely safe and child-proof, children get the freedom to go off and explore together too.’
If you want to see more of the local area, you do need a car. There are beautiful villages a short drive away, as well as a stunning lake where you can try out various water-sports. For those nights when the babysitter is on duty, there is one restaurant within walking distance and dozens a taxi-ride away.
One of Country Kids’ guests sent in their review of the property for our a Community Recommended review in the CB! Hotel Collection. We can’t imagine a better write up! Read the complete family-friendly review of Country Kids Resort and check availability. When you use our form to reach out for pricing, our Family Vacation Consulting team will follow up to ensure you have all you need. This service is free!
Photos provided by Country Kids Resort
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