Located approximately six kilometres from Kota Kinabalu is Tanjung Aru beach, and the most renowned hotel here is Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa. The hotel is near a lovely beach and the pool has been designed to entice everyone from jaded parents and uninterested teenagers to active little ones. There is a fantastic water-play area complete with water battle stations, balloon launchers, water slides and one of those huge tipping buckets kids just love standing under. There is a separate area with an infinity pool and Jacuzzi where parents can spend a quiet moment before heading to the poolside bar for a well-deserved treat, and where the kids can take it up a notch and indulge in gourmet ice cream.
The Hard Rock brand has always been synonymous with a good time and their hotels have a little something extra compared to the usual family resort. The Hard Rock Hotel in Penang has the largest free-form swimming pool you can find up north and it gets pretty lively, especially during weekends and school holidays. This is the ideal pool for kids with twisty slides and water guns – the two things that will keep them occupied for hours. Parents can reserve a private cabana near the pool to keep an eye on the kids but still have the chance to relax. The hotel hosts a foam party at the pool on the first Saturday of the month with the kids’ session being held from 5pm to 7pm. Another plus is that the pool looks very cool all lit up at night!
Another great weekend getaway is to head to Ipoh and check in to The Haven Resort Hotel & Residences where the seahorse-shaped pool will provide hours of entertainment. Surrounded by artificial rocky cliffs to blend into the natural surrounds, the pool actually comprises five distinct levels including a lap pool, leisure pool and a kids’ wading pool with a waterslide. The pool area is stroller-friendly, which is very handy when there are babies and toddlers involved. What truly sets this pool apart is the fact that it overlooks a natural lake and an amazing 200-million-year-old limestone formation, for which the area is known for, and which is great for photos. There aren’t many pools in the world that can boast of a view like that!
With staycations a popular holiday trend for families, finding a nice hotel to spend a weekend in is always better if the pool is kid-friendly. Most city hotels don’t necessarily cater for the little guests and pools veer from utilitarian to infinity with not a water gun in sight. If size matters, then this hotel pool ticks all the boxes. Do laps in the Olympic-sized pool, hang out under the cascading waterfalls and when it all gets too much, head to the poolside bar aptly named On-The-Rockz for snacks or a tall, cool drink. The pool area is lushly landscaped and a great place to relax and top up your tan. The hotel offers family fun deals with complimentary tickets to Sunway Lagoon so you can be sure your kids will not get bored… you on the other hand may need a few more days to recover!
If you’re living in Kuala Lumpur and just want an easy getaway without leaving the city, the Palm Garden Hotel located at IOI Resort City near Putrajaya is like a tropical oasis you can easily drive to. The hotel’s pools will make you feel you’re on holiday on an island somewhere, with the kids’ section having an attached playground and a wading pool for toddlers surrounded by palm trees. The hotel is part of the IOI Resort City complex which includes the Palm Garden Golf Club and IOI City Mall, where District 21, a popular adventure indoor playground, can be found.
Langkawi is always a good choice for a family break with its wide variety of accommodation and beautiful beaches. While many hotels here can be almost too chic to bring children, it’s nice to have the occasional indulgence. The Westin Langkawi Resort & Spa is walking distance from the town of Kuah, has four pools and has access to a lovely private beach. The most unique option is the Ocean Rock Pool, landscaped with boulders spouting water and surrounded by greenery. The Infinity and spa pools are more suited for older kids and parents, but there’s also dedicated children’s pool. While there aren’t any gimmicky water toys around, the kids will have a good time the old fashioned way – playing, hitting the beach and maybe awakening their dormant imaginations!