First Real Family Vacation

By March 2, 2020Blog

Guys, vacation is bliss. Preparing for vacation however, mayhem. Granted we booked our trip 12 days before departure. But still. I’m just not a fan of booking trips far in advance, especially as a business owner and parent, anything can happen in like an hour nonetheless weeks and months. Better to book it right before you see your window of opportunity to abandon all responsibilities for awhile, ensuring you can actually relax and enjoy the vacation instead of thinking about all that there is to do when you get back. And that’s my mind set. And a very long sentence. 

Now let’s talk about the resort we stayed at, Baha Mar, in the Bahamas. What a beautiful place. It’s made up of three hotels – the Grand Hyatt, the SLS and The Rosewood. We stayed at the Grand Hyatt which seems to be the hub of the resort. It is the middle hotel, connecting to the SLS on one side and the Rosewood on the other, with a giant casino on the first floor. You never have to leave the hotel to get from one to either of the others. All three locations encompass the resort which is filled with pools, food trucks, huts, beautiful foliage and more. And of course they all lead up to the gorgeous beach. 

As a family with a toddler who can explode at any given moment (both me and Logan, let’s be real) I was nervous upon arrival. Lots of stress about food and amenities for my son, who loves to eat but can be very particular. I was slightly freaking out about not having my kitchen and normal routine of roasting sweet potatoes, making scrambled eggs and getting meatballs from our local restaurants. So food was definitely one of the first things I needed to explore after checking in. 

First things first, most of the restaurants book up really quickly, so it helps to make reservations on opentable before you arrive or the morning of for some. Everyday was different but for the most part we could make our reservations in the morning for a dinner as early as 5:30pm. Below I’ll list our favorites and a link to all the dining offered in the entire resort. 

Also note, this resort is extremely pricey. The food is twice as much as what we would pay here (a bottle of Fiji water was $7, a slice of pizza was $7.50 and a Caesar salad for two was $29 – yikes, I know) You definitely have to come prepared and have to be a lover of food.

  1. Costa {< click to view menu}- This incredible spanish restaurant is located outside of The Rosewood. I’ll admit we had a good laugh finding our way there because it’s probably the only place that was difficult to get to. But once we did we were like oh okay. Gorgeous. Set on top of coy fish ponds, all different floating lounges with a super tranquil vibe. Logan ate French fries for dinner this night BUT WE had the most delicious spanish food ever. The tortitas de papas are a must along with the ceviche and the chicken tacos which are kind of like a crispy enchilada. Their cocktails are also fantastic. Five stars. 
  2. Fi’lia {< click to view menu}- This Italian restaurant is located right in the heart of the Grand Hatts main floor with easy access. They have delicious meatballs that Logan had twice for dinner. Indoor and outdoor seating. The outdoor seating was ideal for our hyperactive son who midway through the meal decided he wanted to go for a run so we easily took turns chasing him around right outside the patio without having to really leave the restaurant. This is clearly a “parents of toddlers” exclusive story. But for everyone else, the food here is delicious. The Italian salad was ridiculous, they prepare the Caesar salad dressing on the spot and I thoroughly enjoyed my Cabernet. 
  3. Cleo {< click to view menu}- a mediteranean restaurant with a stellar reputation but we unfortunately did not make it in here because it was very booked the whole week. It’s located in the lobby of the SLS. The lobby is also known as the Sky Bar which looked chic and lovely but not toddler friendly. 
  4. Pizza lab {< click to view menu}- Located in the Grand Hyatt, right below a Starbucks which was convenient for grabbing milk after Logan ate his lunch here, every day. Suffice to say he’s taking a week or two off of pizza now that we’re home. They also have meatballs and other kid friendly meals! 
  5. Cafe Madeleine {< click to view menu}- a coffee / pastry shop which I LOVE and basically live for. While I was adjusting to vacation mode with my toddler, I would leave the pool and let John take a break (after being a superstar playmate in the pool), and push Logan in the stroller, up from the pool to this cafe for a coffee and a pastry while he napped. We also ate breakfast here a few mornings and the quiche is divine. They sell little bottles of wine here and the counter stays open until 9. Great spot for parents to grab a treat and/or a bottle, to bring up to the room for after you get your baby to bed. We however, were so exhausted we did fall asleep shortly after Logan most nights but it was still a nice option to have. We just chose to catch up on sleep instead of having romance this time around. 
  6. Regatta buffet – again, insanely expensive buffet but a great variety of food to choose from. Plus, by day two I got savvy and brought empty Tupperware’s to fill with fruit and some snacks to have by the pool for Logan later on. I don’t think anyone saw me but I also can’t see them minding. Also, Logan had his first hard boiled egg here and that’s exciting because he liked it and I finally could relax knowing he had some form of protein in his body. And then we ate pizza again and all was right in the world. 
  7. Scoops – Ice cream shack on the beach! This was lunch for Logan one day, ok fine maybe two. And I didn’t hate it myself.

The pools. There are so many. They all have different layouts, sizes and feels. We of course, went for the giant family pool with a fish tank under a cave and a waterfall and lots of shallow areas for kids to wade into the water without fear of them plummeting to the bottom. It was absolutely perfect. John went down around 7:30am to save us chairs and we got to the pool around 9 and that was the rest of the day. We alternated grabbing a lunch or a drink at one of the trucks nearby so everyone wins. One of my favorite trucks was El Jefe serving tacos and a beverage called the Blue Coconut that was my pool drink of choice for all five days. I also indulged in a couple poke bowls and I still don’t understand why there’s not one right outside my house at this very moment. Real life is mean. 

My favorite part of the trip was after dinner when everyone was fed and done being taken care of for the most part and we could just aimlessly walk around and chase Logan as he happily ran through the resort. It was so peaceful and silly and exactly what he wanted to do and we didn’t have to stop him or figure out a way to make him be quiet or sit still. Going on a family vacation is really about the kids and it’s a blessing if you can find a few moments in there for yourselves. Giving your partner a chance to have alone time two or three times throughout your trip is really healthy for you both and I highly recommend that. 

Toddler ready travel necessities:

  1. Umbrella stroller. Ours is not great so I won’t link it here but basically anything that’s light enough to throw around but durable enough to hold your kid, allow them to comfortably nap in it and maybe hang some bags off of and has underneath storage space. We gate checked it which was super easy.
  2. Cosco brand carseat { < click to view ours} for the plane. For Logan, this was totally necessary in order to keep him in his seat for the duration of the plane ride.
  3. Snacks for the plane ride. I prepped little baggies and containers with Logan’s favorite go to snacks and we bought drinks in the airport. Best to keep it simple and bring instead of buy there to save money!
  4. iPad with purchased movies. We bought four movies and were able to access them through the Apple TV app on the iPad when we didn’t not have service. Also, Disney+ does not work in the Bahamas which is very funny because now we all of a sudden cannot live without it. So I was really glad that we had our go to’s purchased in the app to get us through the plane and essentially, all our meals on the island.
  5. Headphones { < click to view ours}- We brought these headphones but Logan did not want to wear them. John suggested we could have put them on him before our trip to get him used to them but it’s still not guaranteed. Luckily he was okay watching the movies with no sound but another kid could be totally fine wearing these! I put them on and they’re very comfortable.

That about sums up my synopsis on Baha Mar but if you have questions, feel free to message or email me. I’d be happy to share anything helpful! Below are some photos of the resort to give you a full visual.