The Protea Hotels groupAs the year hurtles to a close, and the unmistakable scent of summer fills the air, thoughts turn to holidays, and quality time spent with the family.

Travelling with children of all sizes comes with its own challenges, so when it comes to logistics, self-catering options become very attractive. Before mom throws her hands up in the air and says it doesn’t sound much different to being at home, stop for a moment to consider the facilities at some of the best hotels in South Africa.

The beauty of it is that you get all the luxuries, perks and benefits of a hotel, but with the privacy, freedom and flexibility of eating, sleeping and relaxing on your own terms. Which is perfect when you are juggling a rug rat or two; as any parent knows, they pretty much dictate their own schedules. While meal times are at your leisure, with most rooms and apartments fitted with all the essentials such as fridge, , microwave, crockery, cutlery, kettle and toaster, they are also fully serviced by housekeeping.

The Protea Hotels group has a wide range of destination choices that are tailored to meet any family’s needs, either full or semi self catering. The three-star Protea Cape Castle, for example, is literally on the doorstep of the V&A Waterfront, within easy strolling distance of the CBD, and some of Cape Town’s most exciting restaurants, pubs and shops. The fully serviced apartment suites boast generous en-suite bedrooms, lounges, dining areas and kitchenettes. There is ample undercover parking at an additional cost and 24-hour security, all of which make it one of the most popular places to stay in the Mother City.

Kick it up a notch – and another star – at the Protea Hotel President on the famous Platinum Mile in Bantry Bay, playground of the beautiful people. For all that, it’s remarkably affordable, and the views come at no extra charge. Protea’s funky kid, the Protea Hotel Fire & Ice! in the heart of the Mother City, offers split level self-catering apartments with kitchenettes in uber-mod surroundings. Other Cape Town properties with three- and four-star self catering units include the Protea Hotel Colosseum, Protea Hotel Victoria Junction, Protea Hotel Dorphuis & Spa, Stellenbosch, Protea Hotel Vineyards Estate, and Protea Hotel North Wharf in entrance to the Waterfront.

Moving up the south coast to KwaZulu-Natal you’ll find the Protea Hotel Imvubu Lodge with its variety of stand-alone fully serviced chalets nesting in lush indigenous surroundings, filled with an abundance of birdlife, and private access to a golden beach on the warm Indian Ocean. It offers the exhilaration of holidaying in an idyllic part of the world, while being only minutes away from the Richards Bay airport.

Close to the beach and only 10 minutes from Durban, the Protea Hotel Umhlanga Ridge not only has 205 well-appointed rooms, but many of those are admirably equipped semi self-catering rooms. Everyone needs a little time out, and the hotel, which is situated in close proximity to a variety of restaurants catering for all tastes and budgets, serves delicious breakfasts on site.

There is also the Protea Hotel Mossel Bay on the Garden Route, a graceful landmark built in 1846 overlooking Santos Bay and harbour, and for the wild at heart, the Protea Hotel Kruger Gate, a superior lodge style hotel on the banks of the Sabie River in Mpumalanga.

Just metres from the Paul Kruger Gate of the Kruger National Park, the hotel has 96 luxury en-suite rooms and seven six-sleeper chalets.

Whether you go urban or rural, city vibes or country peaceful, a family holiday at a Protea Hotel will be one to remember.