All Inclusive with Kids
Have you ever been on an all-inclusive holiday before? By all inclusive, I mean food, drinks, pool, live entertainment and accommodation all rolled into one price at one resort. When I was in university, these types of trips were very popular, and I can see why, but I spent much of my teens and twenties traveling Asia and Europe. My parents on the other hand loved their Carribean and Latin American vacations. This past week, my husband and kids experienced our very first all-inclusive getaway in the Mayan Riviera, Mexico. My mother also graciously joined us as she offered to help with the kids.
This wasn’t a planned getaway. In fact, we weren’t expecting to go on any out of Canada trips this year. However, much to my husband’s surprise, he earned his work’s annual getaway trip, also known as the President’s Club. Last year was his first full year with the company, so he didn’t know exactly what the guidelines were to earn a free trip, but needless to say, he knocked it out of the park. Excuse me for a quick moment while I brag on my humble hubby. He would never say these things about himself, so it’s my job to do it for him. My husband is a crazy hard worker, but he’s also crazy dedicated to his family. Between the hours of 9 to 5, he is 100% dedicated to his clients, but when it’s time to come “home” (I use this term loosely since he works from home; so it’s just a matter of him walking out of his office and going downstairs to the kitchen), he’s 100% dedicated to his family. When he travels, he is generally in work mode for most of the trip including evenings since he makes full use of his time when he’s not able to be with his family. But as soon as he gets home, he gives us his undivided attention (because let’s be honest, mama needs to recharge her batteries by this point). So when he told me the news that he earned a free trip, I felt that it couldn’t have happened to a more deserving man. We decided right then and there that we would also bring our children along because our youngest was still nursing and we knew the boys would love a few days on the beach after a long Canadian winter (who wouldn’t?!)
Here was the problem: we were booked at a resort that was for adults only. I totally appreciate their sentiment. My husband’s company wanted this trip to be a quiet few days of pampering and relaxation for their hardest working staff and spouses, not necessarily a theme park style resort with kids and loud music playing all around us. So we did a quick google maps search for the closest family resort, and we were elated to find out there was one right next door. My husband and my entire trip was covered by his company, so all we needed to book were our kids and my mothers’ flights and accommodations. I also booked myself into the kids resort so I could go back and fourth between hotels and eat with them as well. Here is where we booked them. We liked that the kids resort had an activity club for children aged 3-12. I knew our oldest would love the activities and my mom would welcome the few hours of relief from having both children all day.
The flight to Mexico from Toronto is only 3.5 hours. But when you’re flying with a baby and toddler, it feels like triple the time. Much like our trip to Vancouver and Australia last year, I spent most of the flight walking the aisles with the baby in my arms or in my carrier trying to distract him from wanting to scream at me. The day we landed, it was pouring rain. The forecast actually showed rain for the entire five days we would be in Mexico. But we woke up to beautiful sunny weather the following morning and the remainder of our time on vacation. Apparently there was a ritual in our resort where healers asked the sun gods to come out. Personally, I prayed to Jesus, so while I like to think it was my God, I was just relieved to have the sunny hot weather one expects when they come to Mexico 😉
Once I got my mom and the kids checked in to their rooms, we enjoyed a nice lunch buffet at one of the eight restaurants on site. Since it was raining, they decided against swimming and just went back to their rooms for the remainder of their afternoons. The kids were up since 5am for the flights, so it was probably a good idea to get them into bed earlier than usual. Just before dinner, I headed over to the adults resort and was welcomed by this wonderful view.
I took a long bath in the jacuzzi tub then got ready for the cocktail reception and dinner for my husband and his work colleagues. I was a bit nervous since I would be meeting his boss but then again, I’m pretty chatty when I meet new people (heck, I’m always chatty) so I knew I would be fine. Not only did I meet my husband’s boss who is the CEO of the company, but his lovely new wife. There were 10 other couples, and of course the common factor between all of us were our children. That’s basically all we talked about, which is not surprising. As much as these are all high professional achievers, every single person there considered themselves a parent first from the conversations we had. My husband and I happened to be the youngest couple, which meant we had the youngest kids. Most of his colleagues’ children were in their late teens to early twenties. Some had kids who were even married, including the CEO. We were told multiple times to cherish these fleeting years with our babies. It didn’t feel patronizing at all; it felt like genuine advice coming from wise friends. Some of them were parents of five grown kids, who while enjoying their time together more as husband and wife still longed for days with their children. However they did mention they were excited to eventually be grandparents. Many of my husband’s colleagues are Mormons, as the head office is based out of Salt Lake City. It was interesting to learn more about their faith. Even though I am a believer, there are some major differences in our versions of Christianity. While the CEO also lives in Salt Lake City, he actually happens to be a Canadian, and I found out that we went to the same university (go Mustangs!) We sat beside one another at dinner and chatted about our respective studies. While he is the CEO of a software company, he was a physics major. Go figure! Then again, I studied political science and I’m a mommy blogger. Very different paths, but both passionate about our work 😉
The remainder of our days were mostly left to ourselves. My husband did have one business breakfast, but I took that opportunity to sleep in. We spent much of our days on the beach with the kids. When the kids were starting to hit a wall (aka needed a nap), my mom would take the kids back to their room. Our oldest sometimes went to kids club while the baby napped, which he loved. There he played on the playground and made arts and crafts, but his favourite activity was bungee trampolining. When you sign your kids into kids club, they give you a buzzer similar to the type restaurants give you when you’re waiting for a table, which you carry around with you on the resort. If they buzz you, you need to come get your child, otherwise they will entertain and feed your children from 9am to 9pm in the evening. I can’t imagine keeping your kids there all day, but it was such a great service for parents to have a few hours to themselves. Those few hours were when my husband and I would lounge around our resort. There was a lazy river, outdoor spas and hammocks everywhere. IT. WAS. AMAZING.
On day three of our stay, we purchased a day pass for my husband to come enjoy the kids resort so he could take the boys to their pools and we could have a meal altogether. We purchased this amazing floating device for our baby, which our baby immediately took too. We tried the only Asian inspired sit down restaurant in the resort for dinner, which was okay. It was nice to have a change from the buffets, but most of the sushi they served had cream cheese in the rolls, which is not how I like to eat my fish. The pad thai was good, but a little too spicy for my tastes (I know, I’m a bad Korean). But the yakitori was a hit with my kids. Also, the tempura ice cream was delicious! Deep fried ice cream is always a good idea (unless you are very health conscious – but hey, when on vacation!)
As a small thank you for watching the kids, we booked my mom a massage at the resort spa. She said it was relaxing, but not strong enough. My mom may be 4’10”, but she’s got a tough exterior. On our last evening, my husband and I had a beautiful dinner on the beach with a live jazz band. It was a private dinner for him and his colleagues. We danced, sang and probably drank a bit too much sangria (not the Mormons). At the main resort stage, there was an Elvis impersonator followed by a magic show. We stayed up much too late to watch it, then all headed back to our rooms for one last uninterrupted sleep. While I went back and fourth to nurse the baby during the days, my mom bottle fed him when he woke up at night. Thankfully, he only wakes up on average once a night, but it was a game changer to have four uninterrupted nights of sleep! I’m back home and it’s back to once a night feedings again, but I fondly recall in my memory that short week of restful sleep. Thank you mom!
While my husband and his colleagues all arrived at different times, we were all departing at almost the exact same time, so a large chartered bus was hired to pick us all up. My husband and his colleagues first got picked up, then they drove 3 minutes down the road to our resort to pick up my mom and the kids. As soon as our kids got on the bus, they were welcomed warmly and fawned over by all the adults. Everyone was excited to meet the little people we had been talking about all week. It was very sweet. Once we got to the airport, we all went our separate ways to catch our flights. I armed myself with a few boxes of Mexican chocolate at duty-free to prepare myself for another physically taxing flight. My baby did not disappoint. I held him in my carrier the entire time as I walked up and down the aisles. But this time, I ate Mexican candies while doing so. Everything is better with chocolate and candies. We landed around 10pm, and I was showered and in bed close to midnight. I was exhausted, but as I fell asleep, I told my husband I couldn’t wait to do it all again next year 🙂 No pressure babe!