Why do so many of us say we wish we could ‘escape to a tropical island’ when we’re stressed, overloaded, tired and feeling hemmed in by urban life?
The yearning to be instantly transported to a place of sun, sand, turquoise seas, coconut palms, lazy days and not a care in the world is practically universal and is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to great reasons why balmy islands rank so highly as go-to destinations for romantic getaways, weddings and honeymoons. It’s a rare person who can’t happily envisage kicking back in a hammock, swimming, sleeping and enjoying cocktail hour with a special someone, at sunset, in a spectacular tropical paradise!
So when babies are added to the mix, are parents obliged to give up the island getaway dream?
The short answer is a definite ‘no’!
Island destinations actually make sensational holiday havens for babies and their mums and dads – and the good news is that, far from having to compromise on chill time (or romance!) because you have little ones – there are many amazing resorts on islands in Australia and the Pacific that are dedicated to keeping the dream alive for new parents. Far from daunting, taking family time out on a beautiful tropical island can only benefit you and baby!
We did it when my daughter was two months old in an attempt to recapture pre-baby holiday memories and to test if it was even possible to enjoy sun, sand, surf and ‘together time’ with another travelling companion in tow. To our surprise it was … we just had to tweak the dream slightly! We shared romantic dinners in the restaurant, with baby asleep in her capsule under the table; we took walks along the beach, with baby in a sling and sun hat; we relaxed on the balcony together overlooking the ocean, while baby slept inside and we had mid-afternoon siestas – the three of us! Same, same … but different.
Factor in travel times and modes of transport to your destination and determine what you – and baby – can manage, without losing it! The carefree days of a backpack each are on hold for now, and while babies are only small, the amount of paraphernalia they require makes travelling light a thing of the past, so be realistic about the logistics of the journey to your holiday island.
If bub is a no-fuss type who loves sleeping, then the world is your oyster … if not, consider holidaying closer to home in Australia or on a short-haul flight, to New Caledonia, Vanuatu or Fiji – and make sure baby has a passport!
Ideally, you want to travel with as few of the bare essentials as possible, so resorts that offer more than cots and highchairs (free of charge) get a big tick. If you’re taking a stroller, ensure that the resort you’ve picked is easily navigable on wheels – with as few billy goat climbs and stairways as possible, and with easy and close access from your room to the resort’s main facilities.
Look for accommodation that is spacious enough to allow you to sprawl out or consider two-bedroom options. Fridges, kettles and decent-sized sinks in your room are all necessities for storing, preparing, heating and cleaning baby formula, food and equipment.
If you’re hoping for some alone time on your island holiday, you’re in luck! Most family-friendly island resorts totally understand the attraction of an island holiday for parents, and subscribe to the theory that if the kids are happy the parents are happy! Many offer exceptional, and reasonably priced, in-room babysitting services and one-on-one baby nannies … as well as kids’ clubs with crèches and special facilities and activities for bubs.
Not so long ago, mums were routinely instructed to let their babies have daily ‘sun kicks’ – nudie sunbathing for a short period each day – to promote good infant health. Of course, we’re all more safety-conscious now when it comes to the sun, but a little bit of sun really is good for everyone, and where better than a tropical an island for tiny tots to get their kit off? It goes without saying that liberal sunscreen and hats are a must before frolicking in the sun or splashing in the water, and on the upside, there’s nothing quite like the ambience, gentle seabreezes, warm weather and laidback lifestyle of an island to induce feelings of contentment and sleepiness! And if mum and dad are relaxed and chilled, generally baby will be too!
Day spa treatments, a round of golf, swimming, snorkelling, kayaking, cocktails at sunset … enticing and attainable with a baby in tow, even if it means rostering grown-up activities and taking turns grabbing ‘me time’. Book in a babysitter and enjoy an hour or so each day, together!
And with more and more families embracing multi-generational holidays, bringing nan, pop, siblings, friends and other cohorts along on your holiday guarantees babysitters on tap and promises loads of fun for all!
The bottom line is: Switched on family-friendly island resorts now make this kind of holiday easy and stress-free and promise one of the best holidays as a family that you’ll ever experience.
One&Only, Hayman Island, QLD, Australia
Licensed crèche caters for little ones from six weeks old and babysitting services are also available.
Hamilton Island, QLD, Australia
Clownfish Club Junior Childminding Centre caters for babies from six weeks old. Babysitting services are also available.
Daydream Island Resort & Spa, QLD, Australia
Skippers Club caters for kids from six weeks old and babysitting services are available. You can also purchase nappies, formula, bottles and more and hire strollers.
Plantation Island Resort, Fiji
Babysitting for as little as (approx.) AUD$3 per hour; a fantastic, affordable supermarket with baby supplies; special services for holidaying single parents.
Malolo Island Resort, Fiji
Fijian nannies available on request for babysitting.
Castaway Island Resort, Fiji
Babysitting available, kids club and the resort also has a great general store.
Mana Island Resort, Fiji
Creche for babies, with activities and nap time scheduled daily. Stay 5 nights and receive five hours’ free baby-minding at the crèche each day of your stay, or pay as little as (approx.) AUD $4 per hour for in-room or crèche babysitting services.
Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort, Fiji
Babysitting and one-on-one nannies to take care of your little one available for the duration of your stay.
Sheraton Resort & Spa, Tokoriki Island, Fiji
Babysitting available at (approx.) AUD$12 for the first three hours and for (approx.) AUD$4 per hour thereafter.
Warwick Le Lagon Resort, Vanuatu
Child-minding (including in-room) available for (approx.) AUD$3 per hour.
Sheraton New Caledonia Deva Resort & Spa
40 of the resort’s 180 guest rooms include a handy kitchenette.
Babysitting and childcare available (including in-room).
Raratongan Beach Resort & Spa, Cook Islands
Banana Beach Playland Creche caters for 0-4 year olds in a completely safe environment including activities and nap time. Cost is (approx.) AUD$ 40 per three-hour session. The crèche is open from 9am-9pm.
Saletoga Sands Resort & Spa, Samoa
On-call, qualified babysitting services available.
Dusit Thani, Maldives
The resort’s Preferred Family status offers certification for the care of different age groups including ‘0-2 infants & toddlers’. Babysitting is available as well as nappies, formula, bottles, cups, toys, clothing and medicine for babies.
Centara Grand Island Resort, Maldives
Babysitting services available.