In praise of the babymoonJanuary 7, 2017
While I fear babymoons (definition: the short break an expectant couple takes before the birth of a child, who will later rob them of lie-ins and dinners after 7pm) are something of a new-fangled fad, there’s no denying the appeal.
With my first pregnancy we combined honeymoon and babymoon (long story, but you can read about me being a pregnant bride here), with a week in the Sri Lankan tea trails, cosied up by a fire playing board games and eating elaborate meals before napping and eating more. It was a lovely way to unwind after the pressures of wedding planning, and we returned to Dubai smiling and a few pounds heavier.
As I wrote in a recent feature for Portfolio magazine; “The idea is, before the little sleep thief arrives, the couple takes themselves off to relax, to reconnect, to communicate just how absolutely buttock clenchingly terrified they are about impending parenthood, all in five-star surrounds. It’s suggested, for practical purposes, that the trip takes place in the second trimester of pregnancy so a) morning sickness should have passed b) the bump isn’t so enormous that seatbelts are an issue c) the baby hopefully won’t make an appearance. With that in mind, relaxing holidays – book, sun-lounger, virgin Mojito – are recommended over action-packed trips – trekking Great Wall of China, diving with sharks, Everest base camp, etc.”
This time, however, we have a toddler to consider. So any ideas of fairly far-flung destinations, unless we wanted to bring her, were out, and instead we were all about the staycations where we could leave Phoebe with our nanny and our friends for 24 hours.
Also, in honesty, since becoming a mum I’m far more tuned into stories of premature births and pregnancy complications, so playing it safe eg with my doctor and hospital close by, was a lot more relaxing than any Maldivian island. No-one wants to give birth 10 weeks early in an unequipped hotel clinic with a doctor more used to treating mosquito bites…
So UAE it was. Thankfully a quick search on regional travel website Holiday ME came up with a great shortlist of hotels (with impressive discounts) and we opted for the Hilton Ras Al Khaimah Resort & Spa. Just over an hour away on easy roads – bumps make women in the third trimester uneasy – the hotel had plenty of restaurants, an adults-only pool, lovely beaches, a spa and even golf buggies for whizzing us around.
Late on a Friday morning we left 23-month-old Phoebe with our nanny Loreta and hit the road. For me, the lack of toddler-related distractions, from being able to pack an overnight bag in 5 minutes to wandering around a buffet breakfast at my leisure, took some time to get used to. Like, an hour. Then it was bliss. Of course we missed her, but not as much as I enjoyed a solo swim, dinner for two, the promise of a lie-in (even though we were still awake at 7.30am), going to the beach with just a book, and not spending the day in a kid’s club. We have the rest of our lives for family holidays, but this weekend was just about us.
For me, the point of a babymoon isn’t just to get away, it’s to put aside time for the ‘big’ conversations without interruption; the coping tactics, the excitement, the finances, the future. Some couples are able to fit these around their everyday lives, but we’re not one of them, so it was fantastic to walk along the shoreline, just chatting – and without watching for a fearless Phoebe striding into the waves. Not to sound too Californian about it, but just… connecting.
I’m a firm believer that kid-free time makes for better parents, and most Saturday afternoons my husband and I will have a Phoebe-free lunch, mooch around the mall, cinema trip or walk. With zero guilt. This babymoon was an extension of that. We returned home refreshed, excited to see our daughter, feeling more like a couple than parents, and having read more than a chapter of our respective novels. Novel indeed.
Whether you’re planning an exotic bucket list trip before your money goes on daycare and diapers, or would just relish an afternoon at a five-star spa, the best babymoon is what suits your needs and budget: for us, 24 hours (for we got back after lunch the next day!) was perfect, and the hotel ticked every box. My only regret is that my body clock didn’t realise it was on holiday too…
About Holiday Me
This regional travel website has 300,000 hotels across the world to choose from, with the ability for you to create custom holiday packages including accommodation, sightseeing, transfers, activities and more. There are hundreds of curated itineraries on the site, or custom-make your own, with a team on-hand to help. It also offers discounted rates, pick-up and drop-off services, and special deals for subscribers.
For more information, click here.
About Hilton Ras Al Khaimah Resort & Spa
This five-star property is a 75-minute drive from Dubai, and has a choice of accommodation, from guest rooms to suites and villas. There are 13 restaurants and bars (plus 24-hour room service), professional babysitting services, a kids’ club with play area, water slides, and supervised games, a spa, watersports centre and seven swimming pools.
For more information, click here.
This post was written in collaboration with Holiday ME.