Since entering the world of motherhood, my holidays seem to have downgraded from booze-fuelled party shenanigans in exotic international locations, to standing in line at theme parks and washing sand out of butt cracks in caravan park toilet blocks.
With three kids, now aged 8, 6 and 4, holidays for the past 8 years haven’t had the same feeling of glamour or luxury that they once did. Vacations are really just the same chores of feeding, bathing, yelling and wiping of orifices, in a different location, usually in a better climate.
That a is until this year, we went to a RESORT.
O. M. G.
Why had I not thought of this before? This is the answer to my holiday woes, the Resort!
Our resort of choice was the Sunwing, Kamala Beach in Phuket, Thailand. Lucky for me I have a travel agent friend who travelled with us and made all the arrangements. She was like a dog with a bone when it came to getting us the best room location in the complex. This, I have found, is one of the key elements to getting full enjoyment out of the resort holiday. Which I will explain in more detail….
Our rooms were on the ground floor (no stairs or balconies for the littlies) and were poolside, i.e. you could walk out your front door, drop your towel on your very own personal sun lounge (no scramble for a sun lounge with the other patrons) and step straight into the pool. Normally, this might freak me out with my younger child who had swimming skills similar to that of a rock, but at 0.75m depth, she could stand up easily.
So, if the kids wanted to go for a swim, there was no packing a bag of sunscreen, towels, floating devices, goggles, and general swimming paraphernalia, we just simply walked out the door. Everything we needed was in reach. It was impossible to forget something and have to walk all the way back to the room to get it – we were already at our room. This, I found to be genius.
If one kid was sick of swimming and having a tantrum about wanting to watch Disney Junior, the whole family didn’t have to pack up and go back to the room – we were already there. I could supervise everyone from my sun lounge. One in the pool, another doing his 64th turn on the waterslide and the third watching Paw Patrol on their bed. ALL FROM MY SUN LOUNGE. You freaking beauty.
The buffet, a magical place where freshly cooked eggs keep appearing one after the other, omelettes, pancakes, bacon crispy or not crispy, juice, chocolate milk, coco pops, fresh fruit, yoghurt, stir frys (why not?), bread rolls, salami…. mountains of food everywhere. The kids eyes were nearly popping out of there heads the first day. Whipped cream for the pancakes – wowsers!
“Have whatever you like, kiddos…. and fill yourself up because this is lunch as well.”
“Oops, you dropped your pancakes on the floor? Nevermind, just go and get another plate and start again… SOMEONE ELSE WILL CLEAN UP THE MESS.”
Oh, the buffet, the marvellous buffet. I did not make one sandwich, salada or wrap for 10 whole days. And people kept coming to the table and offering to make me more coffee, taking my plate away when I was done and cleaning up after my children. I love you Buffet.
If your resort has some poor human parading around dressed up in a fluffy animal outfit in 30+ degree heat, bless their little cotton socks. The littler kids will think this is like living on Sesame Street and walk around in wonderment, looking at their little hand that just high-fived an enormous bear in overalls like it’s the most amazing thing that ever happened to them.
You can also send them off to do some kids activities while you do some more lazing around in peace.
Which brings me to…
The Pool Bar
There’s probably not a lot I need to say to convince anyone that the Pool Bar is a good thing. Go to the pool bar and get what ever you like, no money changes hand, it all goes on the tab, milkshakes, ice creams, beers, mocktails for the kids and cocktails for the mummas.
The only difficult part is the lure of the Pool Bar and waiting for a reasonable hour to breaststroke over in your togs to peruse the cocktail menu. This requires some control.
A perfectly timed afternoon cocktail will take you from ‘pretty relaxed’ to a calm and breezy ‘fun-mum’ who laughs along with the kids as they bomb their dad in the pool and joins the Swedish aqua-aerobics session going on in the activities pool. Woohoo!
With all of the buffets, cocktails, poolside chips and night time feasts, it was great to be able to start each morning with a beach walk. Walking took away all the guilt of the over-indulgences of the day before.
Also, the beach at Kamala was beautiful. When, you’ve had enough of laying by the pool, just walk out the back gate onto the beach where you have the ocean, sand, more sun lounges, massages, hair braiding, restaurants, shopping, all dotted along the beach.
We found a lovely girl called Coco who set us up with chairs and umbrellas, served us drinks and cut up fresh fruit for us while our kids played cricket on the beach. Needless to say, we became besties with Coco and her family and visited her every day.
- Braids. I have little girls, and we had their hair braided the first day – never had to brush their hair once and it was never in their face. Bonus.
- Sick Day? Great! As often happens in these tropical countries, our family was struck down with some gastro type condition mid-way through the holiday, including the husband. But not old iron-guts Mum! Whilst I would never usually revel in the misery of my wonderful husband and children, this was one of the best days of my holiday. While they were all laid up inside the room, I was just a couple of metres away laying by the pool sipping a Pina Colada out of a real coconut. I read a whole book. No-one had the energy to ask me for anything. And at the end of the day (and every day) someone turned up and made our beds and cleaned our bathroom! There’s an upside to any situation when you’re in a poolside apartment at a resort.
- A resort with waterslides offers hours and hours of happy kids. I’m amazed how long this activity holds their attention. Even on the 100th slide for the day, they still come down as excited as the first time. And climbing those stairs all day tires them out.
- Free wifi – everyone is happy with free wifi. It provides for good chunks of quiet time for the whole family.
- If you travel to Sunwing Resort in February, as we did, the place is wall-to-wall Swedish. A very handsome race and a welcome decorative element to the resort enjoyed by both Mums and Dads in our travelling party.
- Laundry lady – gotta love this girl. Situated a stone’s throw from the resort, this wonderful woman washed our clothes for about $2 a kilo. YES! At the end of the holiday, we unloaded everything we owned on her and travelled home with a suitcase full of clean and folded clothes wrapped in plastic. I’m actually considering FedExing my laundry to her on a regular basis, I really loved that lady, even though we couldn’t really communicate past “Hello”.
- If you’re travelling in a tuk-tuk in Thailand, make sure it’s a disco tuk-tuk. (And keep your head inside kids.)
If you’re a mum that needs a break from cooking, cleaning, feeding, wiping and the general drudgery that comes with running a household. BOOK YOURSELF A HOLIDAY IN A RESORT. There are some pretty good deals around, keep your eye out – and even if you need some time to save up and it’s a long way into the future – you will have a light at the end of the tunnel. Just booking it and imaging yourself swanning around in your resort-wear with a cocktail in your hand will keep you going through the hardest days.
I promise you’ll find happiness in a resort. xx