Beach Vacation with Baby, Anyone?

December 26, 2009 at 10:52 am Leave a comment

When the snow reached nearly a foot (we’re spending Christmas in Denmark), we decided it was time to start researching our next beach holiday. It’ll be in March, Spring Break week. And though we’ve both been to all-inclusives in the Caribbean (Aruba, Jamaica, DR) – choosing a place to go with baby isn’t so easy, it turns out. We’ve contemplated cruises but have no idea what to expect. The prospect of visiting 7 different islands is exciting, but being on a boat – no idea what that’s like. And someone just told me you apparently have to share tables?! Ehhh. I’m a fairly social person, I think, but like the options of being a bit of a hermit with just my family on vacation.

One thing that seems certain: looking for a baby-friendly place is a priority. I can’t imagine spending a week at a place where everyone looks at you with a mixture of anxiety and annoyance when you stroll in with your adorable 9-month-old.

Here are some interesting/useful resources we came across in my research:

  • For cruises, Carnival comes up as a top choice for families.
  • Parents’ Magazine has a list of Top 10 Caribbean resorts for families.
  • The New York Times recently had an interesting article – On a Caribbean Vacation, Baby Makes Three – about St.Martin, where the author and his family rented a villa for the unthinkably low price of $650/week. Check it out.
  • I also know that Beaches is the family-friendly sister of Sandals, but we did Sandals on our honeymoon (Jamaica) and were less than impressed. It was so ridiculously commercial, all about selling more and more and more even though it was theoretically an all-inclusive.
  • ClubMed gets great reviews but is a bit pricey for our student budget.
  • Our family friends with two small girls (2 and 4) just came back from the all-inclusive Tamarijn in Aruba. They loved it. I went there 14 years ago with my family and we loved it. No other all-inclusive I’ve been to (DR, Jamaica) has come close – and it seems it’s still top-notch and was recently renovated. I’ve got great memories of a Jeep safari around the island – and of the excellent food and great entertainment at the resort. The fact that so many of the properties (if not all) are literally right on the beach, so you walk out and step onto the sand – is pretty amazing, too. Sometimes you can find good deals for this (and other resorts) at CheapCaribbean.com.

After loads of research (done by my husband) and several spreadsheets (how we love’em – no major decision in our house is made without one), we decided to try out Curacao and stay at the Hilton. The kiddie pool was a big selling point for me. The property is beautiful, there are two beaches, Hilton breakfasts are usually great, and you can apparently walk to quite a few restaurants. Plus, it got a very high recommend rate at TripAdvisor.com. I’ll post a review in March.

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