The honeymoon is a happy memory, and the new baby is absolutely perfect. Still, where can you get away — peacefully — with an infant in tow?
Now is the perfect time to take advantage of portability and free flights for infants, which is why we recommend these top-rated baby-friendly resorts, all of which provide plenty of pampering for new parents and infants, too.
1. Ritz-Carlton Cancun – Mexico
The AAA Five Diamond, The Ritz-Carlton Cancun in Mexico, offers accommodations for the youngest of special guests in its “Itzy Bitzy Baby” guestrooms, providing peace, pampering and a nursery full of supplies. From a sweetly outfitted crib and a changing table to a rocking chair, a “baby’s sleeping” sign and a telephone programmed to light up instead of ring, the smart suites contain virtually every amenity to pacify infants and their caregivers.
With advance notice, the hotel concierge will arrange for a private in-room babysitter and upon request, resort chefs will prepare vegetable, fruit or protein purees to your specifications. While baby is cradled in comfort, you and your partner can steal away for a guilt-free round of tennis or learn to cook with Mexican flair at the resort’s state-of-the-art Culinary Center. For moms, a soothing leg and foot massage at Kayanta Spa will re-energize in short order, while the fitness center’s five-hour Sunrise Boot Camp is sure to get you on your way to a beach-ready body by the time sandcastle building season rolls around next year.
For couples, twice weekly salsa dancing lessons on the resort’s white-sand beach help revive relationships slowed down by diapers and fatigue. If dancing isn’t your thing, some downtime in a luxurious private Beach Villa, which comes complete with a butler, should do the trick.
2. Franklyn D. Resort and Spa – Jamaica
At Franklyn D. Resort and Spa in Runaway Bay, Jamaica, parents are presented with a free gift they’ll be reluctant to part with at holiday’s end: a Mary Poppins who serves as mom (and dad’s) right hand for the length of their vacation stay. From 9 a.m. to 4:40 p.m. daily (and for a small fee thereafter), your resort-issued Vacation Nanny will feed, bathe, entertain and cajole your baby while you’re snorkeling, sailing or getting some shut-eye. If you don’t feel comfortable handing off any of these tasks, she’ll pitch in wherever and whenever she’s needed.
For an additional fee per day, you can request a second nanny from 9 a.m. to 4:40 p.m. — a big help for families traveling with multiple children, particularly when one of them is an infant on a separate sleeping schedule.
Besides an all-day helper, all-inclusive rates cover meals, recreation and lodging in one of 78 spacious suites with staff-stocked kitchens. For families looking to preserve naptime, two-bedroom accommodations offer 1,080 square feet of sleep-friendly space. The resort is so family friendly that they offer a variety of deals, including “Weebabymoons,” where new moms and up to two kids stay free during a seven-night vacation when dad pays full price.
Spa services are reasonably priced, fitness classes are complimentary, and nannies are welcome to accompany infants to the onsite kid’s club (bring a stroller), where a range of baby equipment, from bouncers to outdoor swings, is on hand.
3. Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea – Maui
A popular retreat for celebrities, Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea is an oceanfront haven for travelers with a taste for luxury. As you might expect, nightly rates reflect the property’s prime location and exceptional service standards. However, when you factor in a host of value-added amenities — like resort-supplied baby gear, free fitness classes, no-cost cabanas and complimentary all-day programs for children ages 5 to 12 — the prospect of a star-studded Maui family getaway can shift from far-flung to feasible.
In the guest room, baby and company are welcomed to the Four Seasons family with a crib thoughtfully stocked with diapers and soft animal friends, and in the bathroom, baby’s named is spelled out in sponges in the bathtub. Upon request, your accommodation will be childproofed prior to arrival, and if your little one isn’t up to dinner out at one of the two onsite restaurants providing complimentary chow for children under five, a high chair can be provided for in-room feeding. Just say the word, and a slew of additional supplies, from a baby monitor to a humidifier, will be delivered to your guestroom free of charge. And with advance notice, babysitting can be arranged through The Nanny Connection.
While baby’s happily occupied, it’s time to steal away for a free Outrigger Canoe Class, or else sink your stresses in the adults-only infinity pool. If you’d prefer to keep baby close, staff will help set up chairs, toys and baby gear, then pamper you with fresh fruit, ice pops and cold cloths, so you and your crew can enjoy a leisurely family swim.
4. Beaches Turks & Caicos – Turks & Caicos
From free all-day infant care and a full-service spa to breakfasts, storytimes and rubber duck hunts with an entertaining parade of Sesame Street friends, Beaches Turks & Caicos caters to families with an affinity for action — and a need for some serious babying.
Situated on 12 miles of white sand in scenic Grace Bay, Providenciales, the baby-friendly property is the most luxurious in the Beaches chain of Caribbean family resorts. Extensive facilities include 16 restaurants and a host of opportunities to get wet, including a massive water park with zero entry and a surf simulator, free scuba, snorkeling and sailing, and a sea of swimming pools, including a dedicated toddler pool with a canopy.
Other features include an Italian Village, featuring posh family suites — the most lavish of which include the services of an English-trained butler. For families on a smaller budget, even standard rooms are a luxury, considering all the free amenities that accompany your stay. Kids under 2 years stay free and cribs are complimentary (strollers may be rented through the Kid’s Club), and at no extra cost, couples can enjoy hand-in-hand scuba dives, hammock naps and fruity cocktails on the beach. If that’s not enough to make sparks fly, you and your partner can splurge on extras, like an About Face 60-minute facial for mom, or a side-by-side couples massage, delivered in a private “lovers sanctuary.”
From 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., a certified Ultra Nanny will coddle your little one in a well-outfitted climate-controlled nursery, and for parents who want to stay out late, private sitters are available.
5. Club Med Sandpiper Bay – Florida
While not as beach-oriented as similarly baby-friendly Club Med outposts like Punta Cana (Dominican Republic) and the highly rated Club Med Ixtapa Pacific (Mexico), Club Med Sandpiper Bay offers one magnetic family attraction that others in the chain can’t beat: an easily accessible U.S. location. Situated on the St. Lucie River, halfway between Orlando and Miami, the Florida family playground features the usual amenities you’d find at a typical Club Med all-inclusive property, such as a circus school, free meals and adult and children’s programs overseen by a staff of enthusiastic GO’s. There’s also Baby Club Med, a dedicated program for little ones ages 23 months to 4 years old.
Upon request, new parents are provided with a “Baby Welcome,” which includes infant gear from a stroller, crib and changing table to a bathtub and bottle warmer. Come feeding time, there are a number of infant-friendly options, from a special baby feeding room and a dedicated kids corner in the main restaurant, to a pint-sized dining room where resort chefs whip up soft foods and fruit purees just for baby.
Kids under 2 years old stay free, and the Baby Club program (six days per week; 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.) is optional, as well as new-parent friendly. You can drop your infant off while you play golf, tennis or take a Zumba class, then pick them up so you can enjoy some cuddle time or a family swim. After hours, Pajamas Club staff will watch your little one while they slumber (7 p.m. to 1 a.m.), allowing you to enjoy a leisurely adults-only meal.
Accommodations are far more impressive than when the resort debuted in 1987, thanks to a $28-million makeover that made the property even more appealing to families. When Club Med Sandpiper re-opened in late 2010, visitors found deluxe family rooms designed to reflect a more modern vibe, as well new children’s facilities, including a tot-friendly mini-water park. In March 2012, the Club Med Spa by L’OCCITANE opened; it is the first and only L’OCCITANE spa in the U.S.