In the flurry of planning nurseries and road-testing buggies, more couples are using the few months before their new baby arrives to plan one last luxurious break. There are plenty of options for pregnancy friendly holidays and, if it’s your second or third baby, having a break before your new arrival is a great way to spend some quality time with your toddler and pamper yourself before it’s back to midnight feeds. Once your baby arrives, it’s all about the babymoon: self-catering weekend away or a week in the sun at a five-star resort with babysitting on tap, bottles warmed on request and spa treatments galore.
If time is short or you’re unable to fly, there are some luxurious options in the UK. London’s Metropolitan Hotel offers one of the best maternity massages around – their specially designed pregnancy massage bed means even at nine months you can lie on your front and be massaged into gentle oblivion. Massage from £115 comohotels.com Corinthia in Whitehall offers the ESPA Maternity Massage from £140, and the newly refurbed Cliveden is ideal either for a last-minute getaway (their spa uses Mama Mio for pregnancy treatments) or a weekend with new baby in tow. Doubles from £545 per night clivedenhouse.co.uk St Moritz Hotel near Cornwall’s Polzeath has the Cowshed Spa, where there’s a maternity menu using their Udderly Gorgeous range of pregnancy products with sea buckthorne oil, which promises to keep skin super supple to minimise stretchmarks. Doubles from £145 per night stmoritzhotel.co.uk
For the ultimate romantic pre-baby break, Venice’s legendary Cipriani has the stunning Casanova spa, where treatments take place in the gardens with views of the Doge’s palace and lagoon. Maternity treatments are tailormade and there can be few more beautiful places to relax with your feet up than by their pool, one of only a handful in Venice. They are surprisingly family friendly, with a kids’ pool open from May–Sept, children’s menu, and cots and bottles on request. Rooms from £868 + VAT per night, B&B belmond.com/hotel-cipriani-venice For winter sun, Turquoise are experts in maternity and family travel. Long haul can be gruelling when you’re pregnant so, for a short flight time to guaranteed sunshine, they recommend Dubai’s tranquil boutique Desert Palm, surrounded by polo fields and palm trees and just 20 minutes away from the hustle and bustle of Dubai. From £1,100 for seven nights per person B&B, transfers and flights. turquoiseholidays.co.uk
The Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa (pictured below) has a blissful babymoon package that includes pampering spa treatments, aqua yoga, breathing exercises and more. Specially designed to prepare, relax and reinvigorate mothers-to-be ahead of their new arrival.
Take advantage of off-season travel before your child starts school. Most airlines don’t charge for under twos, many hotels let infants stay free and it’s a great time to stay in boutique hotels before your children are old enough for the kids’ clubs on offer in larger hotels. However, once your baby arrives, holidays take on a whole new set of challenges. The amount of kit needed for feeding, changing and just getting around can be overwhelming. Hotels that offer pre-bookable baby kit are a godsend, like the stunning, recently refurbished Anassa in Cyprus, a chic, white-painted haven of peace on the Med, offering the legendary ‘Baby Go Lightly’ service, where you can preorder pretty much any baby equipment you need from buggies to sterilisers, and the childcare starts from four months. Scott Dunn are offering a week in interconnecting studios for £1,300 per person half board, including flights & transfers (children go free). scottdunn.com Anassa’s younger, groovier sibling hotel Almyra in Paphos offers the wonderfully named Week of Sleep for Exhausted Parents, which includes nutritional advice for new mothers, massages, yoga sessions, and reflexology for both of you. The package starts at €1,604 per person B&B, and Alymyra’s crèche takes babies from four months. On the island of Lefkada, Simpson Travel recommends their Mousses Resort, where families stay in self-catering villas with restaurants on site. Their Hatchlings Club takes children from six months.From £696 per person (£75 for babies) for a week in a villa, including flights, car hire and welcome pack.
For winter sun, Turquoise suggests Anahita in Mauritius, one of the island’s smallest hotels, where each suite has its own kitchenette so you can stock the fridge and warm up bottles as needed. Once the children are asleep, one of their chefs will rustle up supper while you soak in your plunge pool. Their crèche takes babies from eight months so you can fit in some grown-up beach time. From £3,584 for a week half board, including flights and transfers (children stay free).
Learn with mother
There’s a growing trend for mother and baby activity holidays. Back in 2013, Holy Mama started their mother and baby yoga holidays in Ibiza, where babies and young children are looked after while mums bliss out with yoga lessons. This year they’re launching a retreat in Morocco in a pretty riad with classes in a leafy walled garden. Highlights include delicious home-cooked food and being whisked off to a local hammam. From £990 for 6 days, including food, childcare during classes and hammam trips. The next Moroccan week is 24–29 October. The Skiathos Princess hotel in Greece has created the ‘Baby Bonding Work Out’ for mums with babies up to the age of one. Billed as a gentle return to exercise while you bond with your baby, they focus on strengthening your core and toning up tummy muscles. There’s also a fabulous spa. From £192 for a 3-day Mummy Boot Camp programme including daily fitness classes, wellness brunch, cooking class and two spa treatments. skiathosprincess.com Mum and Baby Experience have created a Tuscan cooking holiday so new mums and babies can relax in the Tuscan hills, sample delicious local cuisine and brush up their Italian cooking, in a beautiful Tuscan villa. Babies as young as three months are welcome, there’s a pool for splashing about with your little one and babysitting is provided so you can explore the local markets and head out for pizza by night. From £300 for a cooking weekend including all meals, wine, childcare, cooking classes and massages. mum-and-baby-experience.co.uk
Home from home
If you’re not quite ready to fly with a small baby, a good UK hotel with your own kitchen is the next best thing. Rosevine in Cornwall’s Roseland Peninsula is a large, elegant house moments from the beach, and there’s an indoor pool and playroom full of toys. Best of all are the family suites complete with kitchen and separate children’s room and there’s a wonderful restaurant and deli. Studios from £185 per night including dinner and wine, for 3 nights during termtime. rosevine.co.uk
Ikos Hotels Stylish resorts in Halkidiki with childcare, crèches and kids’ club from babies to teens. ikosresorts.com
Manoir la Croix de la Jugie Postnatal retreats in gorgeous French setting. Next retreat 4–6 October. lajugie.co.uk
Martinhal Four luxurious, family friendly hotels and villa resorts in Lisbon and the Algarve. Crèches take babies from six months; you can pre-book baby equipment and buy the essentials from their on-site shop. martinhal.com
Powder Byrne Experts in family travel who offer a pre-purchase service for things like nappies and formula milk, which will be waiting for you on arrival. Their excellent crèches take babies from four months. powderbyrne.com
Sani Resort Family friendly Greek resort with outstanding childcare from 4 months. sani-resort.com
Smith & Family Great collection of family friendly, upmarket hotels. smithandfamily.co.uk
Tots Too Luxury family travel website with pregnancy and babymoon sections. totstoo.com
UK Baby Blue Chip Baby-friendly, selfcatering properties with everything you might need from stairgates to bath mats in Devon, Dorset, Cornwall and Isle of Wight. bluechipholidays.co.uk/baby-friendly-holidays
Chewton Glen Beautiful New Forest country house hotel with childcare in their lovely playroom for pottytrained children, or they can arrange a babysitter. chewtonglen.com
Luxury Family Hotels The original and still among the best. Seven of their eight hotels have free crèche and baby listening services from 3 months +. luxuryfamilyhotels.co.uk
Mama Heaven Postnatal yoga retreats for mums and babies in Sussex. mamaheaven.org
Retallack Lodges and Suites in Cornwall with baby and toddler friendly options. retallackresort.co.uk
Tregenna Castle Fabulous castle in 72 acres with hotel rooms and self-catering options, overlooking St Ives. tregenna-castle.co.uk