Saturday, September 11, 2010

moral dilemma...leaving the 'hips' in the club?

Image: Simon Howden /

Now, I classify myself as a serious traveller. Hubby and I met travelling. I worked in the travel / tourism industry. I speak several languages fluently. I have visited every continent in the world, and I just adore experiencing the different cultures, chatting freely to the locals, and just immersing myself, as much as I can, in the day to day life of the place that I am visiting.

Travelling with the 'hips' shouldn't change this...yes, you just need to be a bit more organised by perhaps booking accommodation, rather than just rocking up, having a plan and sticking to it, and basically be a tiny teeny bit less spontaneous. But, I still envisage that when left and right hip are slightly older, we shall be visiting those back of beyond places, and teaching them about different cultures, languages and religions, and taking them to the places that hubby and I have experienced.

So, here's the thing. We, as a family, have been 'invited' to join family at a centrally located destination of equal distance between Australia and the UK. All very well, and very very exciting, however as there are a few young 'hips' involved, it has been suggested that we all go to a place that caters for us all. So somewhere where there is a golf course, a good massage, lots of different things to do, good food, good weather, basically somewhere to enjoy some much needed R&R, and wait for it....(and I am not even sure if I can even say it)...a KIDS CLUB!

Now, I have always been a bit scared of kids club. Look, I have to admit...I haven't actually ever stepped foot into one - our family holidays were never anywhere near places that had kids clubs. When I stop to think about the idea of a kids club, pictures of young stage school kids enter my mind, and some a ridiculously 'keen' (in reality ridiculously hungover and totally not wanting to be sorrounded by little people) nanny getting everyone to make huge sandcastles or running around the pool wearing silly outfits. Or perhaps as a child I was actually secretly jealous of people who were allowed to go to a place with a kids club, as it actually might have been quite good fun.

But my problem is, I am a "real traveller who goes to places where other people don't go to", and am I really about to enter the world of 'kids club's, and 'all inclusive' holidays. Is this at all possible? Is it allowed? Is it actually fair to just leave the kids with strangers whilst I go off and laze around having a massage, or perhaps a relaxing cocktail by the pool with just my hubby?

Now of course, I don't think I am actually adverse to all of this, in fact, I reckon I could probably really enjoy sending the kids off to have fun with other kids for a couple of hours in the day, whilst we go off and have our own kind of fun. Its just a travel experience that I never thought I would do.

But, the more I think about it, the more tempting it is to have some real R&R and adult time, and living our normal lives millions of miles away from any family, it is something that hubby are not at all used to. I just think that a bit of compromise is in order - quality time with the 'hips' and then some quality time with the hubby whilst the 'hips' are in club (yes, I said it!)

And yes, when the 'hips' are that little bit older, I am sure we will get back to all that 'real' travel!

Image: Michelle Meiklejohn./


  1. I read a fab article recently written by a Sydney mum of 2 (kids aged approx 2 and 4) who stayed at Club Med in Phuket (I think Phuket - if not Phuket could have been Samui) and she absolutely raved about it. Said the kids club was incredible, kids loved it and had a ball, they were looked after brilliantly and kept so active they were exhausted on a night time and the parents had an awesome time being able to do certain things (ie snorkelling/scuba diving day trips etc) that they otherwise couldn't do with the kids. She said she didn't have them in there every day, but it was a great back up for days where they wanted a bit of adult r and r time.. and she didn't feel guilty about it at all! I must admit... it got me thinking about when Sophie is older haha! Sorry, I can't remember which mag I read it in, it was maybe Practical Parenting or something similar, a few months ago. Go for it, I say!!

  2. mmm I think my kids would love going to a kids club but the problem is that the kind of places that have them are generally the kind of places that would bore hubby and I silly after about 3 days (hence the Tassie trip instead of chilling at some QLD resort for a week). However if you are meeting up with family then I think it's an excellent idea and will mean you actually get to spend some quality time with everyone. I'll be watching this space with interest...

  3. You know what Jacqui. I think I probably agree with you already regarding the 'boredom'. I just don't do lying by the pool, and I know how guilty I would feel about leaving the littlies in the club. However, since writing this post, I have spoken to several people who have told me that their kids adored the club, and the adults had some time out, so a winner for all (just like you said Karen)
    Yes, do watch this space. I have a feeling the family we are meeting have decided against the kids club idea (just as I am warming to it!)
    I very much appreciate the feedback, and would love to hear from others who have experienced a holiday like this...good and bad!

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  5. I am yet to cross to the Club Med side. The idea of lots and lots of little kids running around isn't my idea of a holiday. I'm lucky coping with the three I have (3.5yr and 22mth old twins) and their screaming.

    We took our eldest to American and Canada when she had just turned one and whilst it was a tad on the hard side it didn't manage to sway as too much. She spent a day in daycare there and really enjoyed it (or so they said!).

    We are off to Canada skiing next Christmas with the three. Neither of us do pools reading books - my husband goes stir crazy so we figure Kids Ski School will be our little outlet for a few mornings and the kids should love it (we hope!).

  6. My first experience of a kids club was in corsica. Said hip aged nearly 3 was "left" and I relaxed with hubby by the pool. An hour or so later I recognised through animal instinct the crying/wailing of our son and turned round to see a long line of kids being "escorted" by a few nannies with my son obviously distressed. I felt v guilty and took him away. The nanny said to me " he his been like this since you left but we thought he would settle down eventually"!! After that experience I was wary but have since found all hotels with kids clubs have been really good for dipping in and out of especially if it starts raining. One holiday our son won the "jack-in-the-box" award for popping in and out so much....Last year in Mauritus a kids club timetable was provided and our son could choose all the fun things he wanted to do like mini-golf, football, windsurfing, sailing etc etc and so it worked really well and when the tropical downpour fell he was in there like a shot leaving us to relax with a cocktail. Also if a hotel has a kids club it usually means a great pool, suitable food, toys you can borrow, other kids around and friendly staff which all makes for a relaxing holiday!
    Also as we are not great skiers the kids clubs at places such as Mark Warner where they take the kids skiing is brilliant and has been so successful over the last few years that from a complete disaster our son is now whizzing past us on the blue slopes aged 6 loving it!

  7. I have worked in a Kids Club in Spain for 1 year and can only recommend it to parents! Most of the kids really love it and the parents do to as they get a few hours by themselves while the kids are having fun painting, playing etc. After 2 hours everybody can meet up again and enjoy some more family time. One big problem is that some parents want their kids to be entertained all day and not see them at all (what is the point of going on a holiday together??). I had several kids who were crying and very upset and the parents had left the hotel to enjoy their day! Or refused to take the children when we brought them totally distressed back to their hotel room! So I think a Kids Club is fantastic if the children love it and are having fun, but parents have to remember that it is not a child care centre where the staff is expected to look after distressed kids etc. Parents are ment to stay close by and if their children are distressed they should expect the staff to inform them and take care of their children!

    But if your child loves to play with others and making friends a kids club is a great place to be! I loved all my kids and got pressies all around and lots of smiles from parents that had time to read a book or just have another snooze;-)


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