Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Traveling with Kids CAN Be Relaxing!

Summer is nearly over, the kids are back in school, and the crisp Fall air has returned. This can only mean one thing: time to start planning your next family vacation! I recently had the pleasure of visiting some really incredible hotels, and I can't wait to share them all with you.

Shot of Azul Beach Hotel

AZUL resorts, by Karisma, have taken the family vacation to a whole new level, especially if you're traveling with small children. AZUL Sensatori, AZUL Beach Hotel, and AZUL Fives are wonderful Gourmet Inclusive family resorts that will impress you in every way. It's one thing to have a Kids' Club - virtually every resort now has one. But I have seen far too many "Kids' Clubs" that are simply a room with some bean bags on the floor and bored-looking babysitter sitting uncomfortably on a too-small chair.
The active family pool area at AZUL Sensatori sits close to the family section. There is also an adults pool for when you need a little alone time. :)

AZUL resorts go way beyond Kids' Clubs. They actually make traveling with children a relaxing experience, because of all the extra amenities they provide that you don't have to lug along with you!

I remember the first time I traveled with my kids. What a wake-up call! We had a two year old and a six month old - that's not too difficult, right? One parent holds the two year old's hand and the baby while the other manages the luggage with the clothes...and the other with the diapers...and the baby food...and the wipes...and the toys...and the pack 'n play. Oh, and the stroller. And don't forget to take off everyone's shoes when you go through security while your kids are crying, the line is moving and you have to maneuver all your luggage! I am not kidding you, my husband and I have NEVER been so crabby at each other as during that airport experience. There are just too many items to bring when you have little kids, resulting in a level of stress and anxiety that just doesn't seem worth it! Not to mention the added expense of the extra baggage nowadays.

Look at the cute check-in area for the little ones!

They even get their own 'welcome smoothie' at check-in, and you can indicate all the toys and amenities you would like to request for your room.

That is why the AZUL properties have been sent from above, to spare us parents the little sanity we have left. When you stay at an AZUL resort, you don't have to bring all that stuff! You bring diapers. Period. Nothing else. Everything you could possibly need, whether you have a newborn or a teenager, will be there for you when you arrive. Check out this list of items they will make available to you at no extra cost:
  • Crib
  • Pack N Play
  • Changing Table
  • Jogging Stroller
  • Bottle Warmer
  • Bottle Sterilizer
  • Baby Bath
  • Kids Bathrobes
  • Baby Monitor
  • Coloring Books
  • Fisher Price Toys
  • Step Stool for the Bathroom
Extras included in the Family Suite at AZUL Sensatori. You can even request a diaper genie!
Changing table in your bathroom makes changing a breeze!

I mean, seriously, where were they when I needed them? In addition, each restaurant serves fresh, gourmet food at every meal, with organic ingredients grown in their own greenhouses housed at El Dorado Royale. And while the cuisine sounds delightful for us adults, the kids are probably cringing and thinking they'll be forced to eat cabbage all week. Not to worry! Every restaurant has a special "gourmet" kids' menu, complete with Gourmet Gerber baby food for the tiny ones. Not only that, but they all have highchairs, boosters, and plenty of fun things for the kids to do while they're waiting for their delicious meals. The restaurants also are divided into sections, so families can eat together at bigger tables, or if the parents would like a quiet, romantic dinner they can enjoy a table for two in another room.
Restaurants have everything on hand to make dinner enjoyable for all!

While the kids' clubs are amazing and filled with fun activities and Fisher Price toys, there are also a ton of events that families can participate in together. There's yoga, Spanish classes, dance classes, cooking classes, beach games and s'mores parties. They also have in-room DVD service complete with popcorn if the kids are tuckered out at night and just want to chill. If you have children of all ages, the tweens and teens love their internet cafe and teen club, where they will enjoy hanging out with other kids their age. They even have a teen disco with a DJ so you should never hear, "I'm bored!"
Breeze Teens Club comes alive at night.

The Suites at AZUL resorts are gorgeous, and while each of the three resorts has a different personality, you can count on one thing: your family of five can fit in one room, and if your family is even bigger than that they will guarantee you connecting rooms. That is very rare and very welcome to this mother of four!
Beautiful new Suites at AZUL Beach have a separate sleeping area for kids.

Finally, I want to mention just how perfect these resorts are for multi-generational travel. More and more often we are seeing grandparents wanting to take their entire families on vacation. Well, this is the place to do it. There is literally something for everyone here to enjoy, ages 1 - 100. The adults will enjoy the spacious and private bedrooms, the Premium beverages, beach butler service and 24-hour room service. They even have what's called the Family and Friends Vacation Planner for weddings, family reunions, and other groups. All you need is a minimum of five rooms to receive this free service, which includes the following amenities:
  • Pre-assigned room categories and special request handling
  • Personalized group itinerary received at check-in
  • One group dinner reservation with set menu guaranteed for up to 20 people
  • Communication updates to all group members
Swim-up rooms have locks on the gates for safety, but parents can still enjoy a swim and a swim-up bar while their children are napping in the room.

So please do yourself a favor and give an AZUL resort a try. The hardest part now is just deciding which one you want to go to, and since I've been to them all, I would love to help you find the right fit for your family. Then as you're strolling through the airport with only one suitcase, and see the family across the hall struggling with their six pieces of luggage, you can simply shake your head with empathy and smile to yourself at just how smart you really are.

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