Sunshine, sea and a seven-foot duck

Puerto Calero in Lanzarote

Puerto Calero in Lanzarote

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When you book a holiday in sun-drenched Lanzarote, you may not expect to end up on a submarine.

But that is exactly where we found ourselves, to the delight of my three-year-old daughter Evie.

And as the slightly claustrophobic yellow vessel descended into the water, a small voice inevitably piped up: ‘Daddy, I need the toilet.’

My wife Ellie had made perfectly clear from the outset that she wanted no part in this excursion.

And to be fair, at seven months pregnant, she might not have fitted through the hatch.

The idea of the holiday was to give her the most relaxing time possible.

But that did not mean the ever-energetic Evie and I wanted to spend all week dozing by the pool as well.

Keeping everyone happy on a pre-baby getaway like the one we had in mind can be a tricky task. We tried to strike the balance by going for luxury – and we found it at the Princesa Yaiza hotel in the former fishing village of Playa Blanca.

Almost before we stepped out of the car at our destination, the porters had unloaded the bags and whisked them to our suite.

Moments later, staff in the tasteful, tree-strewn lobby were pressing glasses of Champagne into our willing hands, and generally getting a move on checking us in.

Yaiza is a genuine five-star proposition, with 
around 400 sumptuously-
fitted suites arranged around eight swimming pools, high-grade restaurants, large spa, gym, tennis courts and all the other facilities you could expect.

Even pretty much full to capacity, there was never an issue securing sun loungers among the palm fronds and babbling fountains.

If you feel like venturing beyond the opulent hotel estate, a yellow-sanded beach is right outside the gates.

But Yaiza’s real selling point is what it does for families. And in large part this is down to a seven-foot tall duck they call Kiko.

Personally, I find oversized animal mascots in hotels a little intimidating. Sinister, even.

There were times when I looked up from my coffee and pain au chocolat and 
was not entirely pleased to see Kiko marauding towards me.

However, you can’t argue with his results. Evie’s enthusiasm for the duck knew no bounds.

That meant she was also eager to spend time in Kikoland, an impressive purpose-built complex adjoining the main hotel site.

There are four playhouses for different age ranges, from cots and baby toys in Cooky Club through to Playstations in Gremlin Club for teenagers.

It’s always good to venture out of the resort and Lanzarote has spectacular mountainous scenery and a distinctive rocky coastline.

If you want to do something really offbeat opt – as we did – to go to Puerto Calero for a submarine trip.

Submarine Safaris operate a hi-tech vessel that takes a couple of dozen people down approximately 30 metres and roves around the coast for an hour.

It’s a great way of seeing the abundant local ocean life. Among the creatures we spotted were a stingray, an angel shark and parrotfish.

Just whatever you do, remember: take the kids to the toilet first.

James Tapsfield was a guest of Sovereign Luxury Travel (0843 770 4526; sovereign.com), who offer a saving of up to £505 on a week at the five-star Princesa Yaiza Suite Hotel Resort in Lanzarote, from £2,059 per family of three. The price includes complimentary child accommodation, 80 Euros resort credit, one complimentary spa circuit per adult, return flights from Gatwick with Thomson, airport lounge access, private transfers and seven nights’ B&B. Based on departures December 9, 2013.

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