Traveling with a Baby — The Beach Holiday Edition

Posted on June 18, 2015 by

This is a part of my “traveling with baby” series to share our experience taking our new born baby on different types of trips around Spain this summer: from glamping trips to beach holidays. We hope to encourage you to show your baby the world too.

You know how much I love adventures. I’m not someone who can lounge by the pool and do nothing for hours.

But since having a baby, I’ve been craving to do just that — relax and kick back, enjoy the sun and do nothing. Perhaps it’s the stress and exhaustion that come with motherhood.

Since the baby’s arrival, I’ve had to deal with lots of lifestyle changes as well as long, sleepless nights. I needed a break badly.

That was why for our second trip with the baby, we decided to bring Baby Kaleya on a relaxing beach holiday in Costa Blanca, just a 3.5 hour drive from where we live in Granada. Located on the eastern coast of Spain, Costa Blanca stretches across 200km (120 mi) of Mediterranean coastline and covers pockets of relatively quiet beaches and coastal towns. We had been to Costa Blanca several times and we loved our time there; so we knew this would be the right place to introduce to Kaleya.

Family-friendly resort

Why A Beach Holiday?

It was after all the baby’s second trip (the first being in a country retreat close to home), so we didn’t want to venture too far nor pack in too many activities. I had done my research before this trip, and I knew that it was possible to enjoy the trip with a baby by making some adjustments. That was why we didn’t plan to do much, and just focused on enjoying things at a much slower pace.

At the beach resort, we had all the conveniences of home at our doorstep, which made feeding, diaper-changing and play time very easy. Because we didn’t have any agenda, we could laze in bed with Baby Kaleya, have a late breakfast, and just go with the flow.

We spent most of our time lounging by the pool while Baby Kaleya napped, we took long walks on the beach with her in a sling as she curiously looked at the world, we even took naps in the hotel room after a day in the sun, and also had nice dinners in the hotel while she caught up on her sleep.

Taking a beach vacation was a wise decision — I finally got the break I needed and Baby Kaleya absolutely loved it too. She enjoyed the car journeys and she couldn’t stop smiling throughout the whole trip. Surprisingly, she also slept and ate really well. A born traveler indeed.

Of course she had a few episodes but that was normal for a three-month-old. We were worried that she would fuss or refuse to sleep, but she adjusted miraculously well to the new environment. They say babies don’t really care where you go as long as her needs are met — it’s really true.

A relaxing vacation is possible with a baby!

Choosing a Child-Friendly hotel

To make the trip a comfortable one for the baby, we wanted to stay at a resort that was family-friendly and equipped with lots of amenities (so we didn’t have to move around too much), but also something unique and different. Barceló Asia Gardens definitely met all our expectations — and surprised us with even more.

The resort isn’t your typical five-star hotel. Asia Gardens feature lush tropical jungles and koi ponds, bamboo forests and thatch-roofed pavilions. Over 20,000 seasonal flowers fill its tropical gardens — from colorful frangipani to exotic birds of paradise and fragrant hibiscus. From afar, the rose-red villas blend seamlessly into the natural surrounding. Everywhere you go in the hotel, there’s Chinese calligraphy, paintings of tigers, Sanskrit scriptures, and Buddha statues. We felt like we were traveling somewhere far and exotic, without actually leaving our home.

The resort's Asian theme as displayed by the Angkor Wat faces pool

One of the reasons why we chose Asia Gardens was because of how family-friendly the hotel is. It was selected as Best Hotel for Families 2015 by the exclusive Condé Nast Johansens guide and is a favorite among people traveling with children. The hotel organizes plenty of activities everyday for kids — ranging from drawing contests to sports tournament and outdoor games. Its Mini Club is also great to keep the kids (from 4 to 12 of age) entertained while adults enjoy some time to themselves. While our three-month-old was still too young to enjoy any of the resort’s amenities for kids, we really appreciated having other families with babies around us.

Asia Gardens definitely hit the spot with its array of facilities, including seven restaurants and six swimming pools on the property itself. The pools are spectacular and each serve a different purpose — the iconic Angkor Faces pool is an adults-only outdoor heated pool, while the Zen pool is a family outdoor heated pool with an area for infants to frolic in.

Beautiful white pavilions by the pool

Most of the in-house restaurants serve modern Asian cuisine: Koh Samui serves up traditional South East Asian dishes such as Nasi Goreng and Beef Rendang in a stylish, romantic setting (although it is quite pricey); Palapa offers casual poolside dining and simple Mediterranean food; Udaipur is the most popular option, serving up buffet style international cuisine. We were really surprised to find such authentic flavors at Koh Samui as it’s usually hard to find good Asian food here in Spain, but we highly recommend dining here if you stay at the resort.

(Read the full hotel review)

Strolling around the green gardens

Things to Consider When on a Beach Break with a Baby

Some people say going on vacation with a baby is not a vacation. That’s not true at all — you just need to manage your expectations, plan ahead, and make some adjustments to your usual travel style.

A beach vacation is definitely a great way to spend some quality time as a family and slowly introduce the baby to travel.

Traveling with a baby is not easy as it was pre-baby, but here are a few things you can do to make a beach vacation with your baby a fun experience:

  • Create a home away from home. Make your baby feel at ease by finding a comfortable spot in the room to feed her, a play area in the hotel room, and bring her usual toys and blanket to create a familiar sleeping environment.
  • Stick to your baby’s routine. Let her take her usual morning nap and evening bath. If your baby’s bedtime ritual at home includes storytelling and a bottle, then do the same on holiday.
  • Plan activities around your baby’s schedule. My baby is usually very active in the morning, so we tend to play with her before going for a late breakfast.
  • Keep your baby entertained during the car journey with her toys and books.
  • Make sure you take enough nappies, baby wipes and nappy bags if you won’t be able to buy them on your trip.
  • If you want some time to yourself, choose a resort that provides babysitting service (our resort did!) or bring a nanny or family member with you.
  • Be sure to keep your baby in the shade and protect him using sun-protective clothing or a water-resistant sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher on your child’s face, hands and any other parts of her skin that aren’t covered by clothes.

Baby Kaleya on the spacious bed

If you’re a new parent, don’t clip your travel wings just because you’ve had a baby. Start her off with a low-key beach vacation and soon she’ll be ready for bigger adventures!

Disclaimer: Our stay was hosted by Barceló Asia Gardens, but all opinions expressed above are our own.

About Nellie Huang

Nellie Huang is a professional travel writer and blogger with a special interest in off-grid destinations and adventure travel. Her mission is to visit every country in the world. In her quest, she's climbed an active volcano in Iceland, swam with sealions in the Galapagos, built a school in Tanzania, waddled with penguins in Antarctica, crossed into North Korea and drank beer in Palestine.

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