For our first trip with our baby girl, there was a fairly long list of must-haves.
I’m a massive control freak admittedly, and a bit apprehensive about travelling with my first baby, so certain things were essential.
First off, it was winter time and not being a massive fan of flying anyway coupled with the fears of how new baby would take to it... would she cry, would people look at us, would her ears hurt, what will people think of breastfeeding on the plane... all meant it had to be short-haul. Just over four hours to Lanzarote for some sun was perfect, nerve wracking but doable! The journey was fine, I had forgotten how loud planes were, baby didn’t cry, she slept most of the way and I really needn’t have worried. Lots of admiring smiles and polite chatter from the other passengers, only one or two (older) people commented that they thought we were crazy taking such a young baby on a holiday and that we were mad to think we would get chance to relax! They were right in some ways, as it certainly wasn’t the kind of holiday we used to and we still had to do all the things we did at home - night feeds and the rest - but we figured why not do it all in the sun in a gorgeous hotel, at least we got waited on and didn’t have to do the house work!
It was actually a really good stage to travel, pre-solid foods and crawling!
Next on the list was the transfer to resort. The last thing I wanted was another long journey. We had booked a package holiday which included a private transfer as standard, and provided an infant seat as requested (Jet 2 Indulgent Escapes.) The transfer was about 40 minutes.
On the list for the hotel, I wanted everything on site but also with places to walk to for a change of scenery, as I’ve often found some of the bigger hotels to be in really remote areas. The resort of Playa Blanca was 15 minutes or so along a seafront purpose-built path, really scenic and perfect for the pushchair. In the other direction was a small marina and shopping centre. We didn’t venture out much on this holiday aside from a walk to let the baby sleep, but there are lots or nice little coffee places, ice cream shops (discovered when we returned with older baby!) Lots of bars and restaurants, nothing too fancy but nice, no hard selling or menus thrust in your face to get you in and we always felt safe and welcome.
Next on the list were the sleeping arrangements, darling daughter was a light sleeper and a creature of habit, always asleep at 7pm and so I knew we needed some sort of separate living area for the evenings, otherwise we would be sat all together in a bedroom in silence! We opted for a one bedroom suite with separate living area and it was perfect. We used the lounge at night times and if we came back to the room during the day for little one to nap, we used the balcony. There was a small kitchen area good enough for making hot drinks and sterilising baby things etc and a bathroom with bath and shower (bath needed for baby!) There are lots of room types, For example some having the bedroom open to a living area and some having a completely separate room, and I later discovered some only come up on booking sites if you have a certain number of travellers, we tend to book direct now to request specific rooms.
A heated swimming pool was a must have for such a young baby, even with the insulated swimsuit! The larger pools weren’t heated and would have been too cold but the small ones were, it was also nice to have a choice of pools for a change of scenery. The family area had it’s own pool aswell; together with kids club facilities (both accompanied and drop off.)
Cooking was not on my agenda, so a choice of restaurants was important and they were all fabulous, both a la carte and buffet style and we had lots of lovely meals. The only drawback at the time was the opening times of some of them being 7pm which for our little one was too late, unfortunately she would never sleep in the pushchair so it did limit our choices on that trip. There was a beautiful fish restaurant with amazing sea views. Breakfasts were great, buffet style, with so many choices.
The beach! Total must-have and it was really lovely, directly opposite the hotel (not a shuttle bus in sight!) Close enough to be completely flexible and not need military planning for a ‘day out’ and likewise as soon as you’re ready for home you wander back in minutes.
Staff throughout the hotel were so friendly, welcoming, brilliant with children. Rooms are always cleaned daily and I’m a big fan of turndown service and a nice chocolate to come back to before bed! Everywhere throughout the hotel was always clean and tidy.
We’ve been back to the hotel a few times now, both of my daughters had their first holidays there and both felt the sand between their feet for the first time at the exact same beach. It’s our go-to for winter sun and as we have had more children and as they have grown we’ve used more of the facilities, including the family evening entertainment, little soft play areas indoors for a break from the sun or if the weather isn’t great. There are activities you can book and kids club or crèche facilities if you need them. We now book the two bedroom family suites which can be tricky to find in some hotels, with most offering two interconnecting bedrooms. For us we like the space you mostly find in an apartment but with the facilities of a hotel and this fits perfectly.
We will definitely return again, we will still just about fit as a family of six!
Written by Louise Craddock
Louise is a 37 year old, on-the-go, mummy of 3!