You’ve got lovers quarrels, all other kinds of quarrels, sunburn, food poisoning, bad news from home that can never seem to wait until you get home, you name it – so why further jeopardize the potential for romance by bringing your children?
Because most of the time, parents have no choice about it.
Fortunately, parents do have choices when it comes to vacation spots that, through their services and amenities, thoughtful guest room features, romantic surroundings, or some combination– enhance the chance for romance on a family vacation. Here now, a few favorites as well as some picks from fellow parents.
Your Own Private Idaho: River Dance Lodge
If the words “outdoor adventure resort” don’t conjure thoughts of romance, then try putting “Idaho” in front of it and it begins to make sense. The Gem State is the most gorgeous place you’ve probably never been and if you have kids in tow, then River Dance Lodge, tucked in between two National Forests, balances recreation – whitewater rafting, fishing, mountain biking, and horseback riding – with romance: multi-bedroom cabins have upstairs sleeping lofts for kids, while grown-ups have the run of a downstairs bedroom and private hot tub. Three- and four-night all inclusive family packages are offered during the summer and if you’re looking for that special “non-amenity” that may well turn out to be a blessing in disguise, there’s no cell phone service here to impinge on your bonding time.
Romance + Sensible Tech: Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa, St. Lucia
All-inclusive resorts with kids clubs are not uncommon in the Caribbean, so the question for parents and children looking to ditch each other becomes, which resort lets you do that sensibly? Coconut Bay has a kids club accommodating children 12 and under as well as what is decidedly a non-kids club – Harmony Oasis – that parents can escape to while their kids are off on their own. One cool amenity that stands out: whenever your children are in the care of the kids club, the resort equips you with a local cell phone in case the kids club staff needs to contact you. It’s a modest inclusion that provides an essential ingredient for romance: peace of mind that your kids are safe and reachable.
Fiji for the Family: Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort
A bucket-list pick for many, Fiji politely screams romance…but romance while having your kids along? Sure, says Tara Cannon, editor of family travel site Pint Size Pilot, who names Fiji and the Jean-Michel Cousteau resort in particular as a favorite place to bring her kids. “It’s a luxury eco resort that provides a dedicated nanny for every child 5 years and under and a ‘buddy’ for children 6-12” at the resort’s Bula Club, Cannon explains, adding that while there, she and her husband “found time to do the things we hadn’t been able to do in a while, like go snorkeling together and have a romantic dinner.”
Parenting Power: Four Seasons Hotel, Washington, D.C.
You can’t turn around in D.C. without bumping into an important building, important people, or those who just want to be. And what Four Seasons does so well, especially at its Georgetown outpost, is make youand your kids feel important, from treats in your room upon check-in tailored to your kids’ ages and dietary needs to concierges that make you feel like their highest priority are the needs of your family. Good service will improve any vacation, but great service that makes you feel like a super parent helps pave the way for romance in ways that perhaps only parents can understand.
Date Night in Florida: Club Med Sandpiper Bay, Port St. Lucie
Combining romance with kids programming is essential for Cynthia Drake and her husband, who have not yet vacationed without their two young children, and Drake, author of Budget Travel for the Genius, describes the rates at Sandpiper Bay as “very reasonable,” adding that “most nights, my husband and I would hang out with our son, go to dinner together and go to the kids’ evening shows…but we also chose a couple of date nights to drop him off for movies and snacks.” Date nights here might include visiting the adult pool or the adults-only section of the restaurant, Drake says, or simply strolling “along the moonlit boardwalk.”
Adult playground with family touches: Hotel Hermitage Monte Carlo
Like Fiji, Monaco easily springs to mind as a luxe romantic getaway, but if you’re bringing along your kids, does romance have a chance? Definitely a fighting one if your base of operations is the Hotel Hermitage, which in addition to a world-class spa and plenty of flowing champagne for the parents has such thoughtful kids amenities as a children’s room service menu, a playroom with video games and a “buffet of candies,” and for guests in the Diamond Suites, a personalized bathrobe for kids three and under.
Alone Time for Fishing, and More: Coffee Creek Ranch, Northern California
A deluxe dude ranch that’s been operating for more than a century, Coffee Creek has a supervised kids program split into age-appropriate segments – 3-5 year-olds, 6-12 year-olds, and teens 13-17 – which seems pretty typical, until you realize that co-owner Ruth Hartman is in cahoots with parents trying to secure some alone time. The children’s programs run from 9-5, but “sometimes if the parents don’t make it back in time from their various outings, we feed the kids and keep them entertained until their return,” says Hartman, who quickly got to the heart of the matter: “We coordinate times to keep the kids away from the cabin if the parents want some quiet time alone. That has made many future children who return in future years and get introduced as the Coffee Creek Kid!” In addition to this orchestrated private time, mom and dad may also avail themselves of fly fishing lessons for couples, which I bet is a lot more romantic than it sounds.
Image source: Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa, St. Lucia
For more on romantic travel with — and without — your kids in tow, check out Traveling Mom. Among the articles in store there: