This beautiful five-star hotel was just one reason why James Tapsfield and his family loved their short break in Lanzarote

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 before the new arrival threw everything into chaos again. But that did not mean the ever-energetic Evie and I wanted to spend all week dozing by the pool as well.

To strike the balance we went for luxury – and we found it at the five-star Princesa Yaiza hotel, in the former fishing village of Playa Blanca on the southern tip of the island.

Even in the absence of a baby bump, flying any distance with a small child is a nightmare. At four hours from the UK, the Canary Islands is about the shortest haul you can go while guaranteeing decent weather outside of peak season.

Using Thomson’s Sovereign service to book helped minimise stress from the moment we cleared airport security and sauntered into the courtesy lounge.

From Arrecife it was a smooth half-hour transfer to Princesa Yaiza, where the benefits of shelling out for luxury really kicked in.

Almost before we stepped out of the car, the porters had unloaded the bags and whisked them away 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 – which is exactly what you want when you’ve got an over-tired pre-schooler on your hands.

Yaiza boasts around 400 sumptuous suites arranged around eight swimming pools, high-grade restaurants, large spa, gym, tennis courts and all the other facilities you could possibly expect.

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

If you feel like venturing beyond the opulent hotel estate, a yellow-sanded beach is literally right outside the gates with breathtaking views. So far, so good.

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.

Evie’s enthusiasm for the hotel’s mascot knew no bounds, and she demanded cuddles and photographs whenever we sighted him.

That meant she was also eager to spend time in Kikoland, an impressive purpose-built complex full of activities for children adjoining the main hotel site. All we had to do was drop Evie at the gate, hand over her ‘Kiko pass’, and go and enjoy a massage at the Thalasso Centre or read a book secure in the knowledge that she was being well looked after.

After a day of swimming, cake-making, painting and attempting to demolish the hotel’s substantial soft play zone, most evenings Evie barely had the energy to participate in the kids’ ‘mini-disco’.

One of the high points of our stay was her star turn as a dwarf in an all-action version of Snow White, which the staff somehow managed to stage successfully despite the best efforts of the youthful actors.

Our submarine adventure was operated from Puerto Calero. A high-tech vessel that takes a couple of dozen people down about 30 metres, and roves around the coas.

It’s a great way of seeing the abundant local ocean life, and Evie thought she was an extra in Finding Nemo.

Among the colourful creatures we spotted were a stingray, an angel shark and parrotfish.

If you have a birthday or other special occasion to celebrate, they will also send a scuba diver to hold up a sign at the window, which is a nice touch.

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

 James Tapsfield was a guest of Sovereign Luxury Travel (0843 770 4526;, 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.

Price includes complimentary child accommodation (2-4 years), 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 in a one-bedroom suite.