It’s a common refrain among parents: “I don’t know what happened, but before we knew it, five years have flown since we’ve taken a trip alone.” The logistics of leaving young kids at home, to say nothing of your baby’s out-of-nowhere 103-degree fever that spikes the night before your departure, can derail even the best laid plans for escape.
Think of the babymoon as the beginning of what will hopefully become your annual commitment to each other, to one trip a year without kids from here on out. And, although we’re all in the midst of a global pandemic and thus quarantined to our home, we will travel again, and in the meantime it can’t hurt to start mentally planning. By the way, our version of a babymoon can be two nights in a motel watching Law & Order reruns and eating Taco Bell, which is awesome in its own right, or you can aim a little higher, a little sexier, maybe something involving a few palm trees. The point is to do it. If you set the precedent, going forward, you will marvel at how quickly and deeply you slip into an alternate, pre-kid reality of sleeping in, taking morning beach swims, reading, and napping.
We say, especially given your compromised mobility, that the sole point of this warm-weather or otherwise no-stress vacation, unlike most others you’ve taken in your life, is the absence of cultural enrichment or any sense of duty. It will feel like a time warp that’s as fleeting as it is weightless. And it’s in this anti-gravity, anti-guilt, should-free zone that you recommit yourselves to your partnership, when you remember why you chose each other in the first place. The best kinds of trips suspend not only physical but existential reality, pressing us—when stripped of our all-defining responsibilities—to pose questions like, “Who do we want to be separately and as partners and parents?” or “What are we going to do to make sure we prioritize each other when we are a family of three, four, or five.”
The following properties are ones that we feel are appropriate backdrops to the evolving screenplay of your life.
While we aren’t necessarily making a case for Zihuatanejo as a destination, there are some hotels, even ones as tiny as the 6-room Amuleto, that are enough of a reason to get on to go there…and never leave. Each of the indoor-outdoor palapa-style private suites has a plunge pool, hammock and seating area over the Pacific. But even if you venture into the public area, you feel like the only guests in the private home of adventurous creatives who’ve spent a lifetime traveling the world. Which is more or less true. The tiny aerie gives you instant permission to do nothing but read and drink (virgin) margaritas and eat copious amounts of guac served poolside by a staff who feel like family. You will dream about the breakfast bread basket and tortillas made fresh daily, as well as huevos ranchero forever after. Pro tip: Book a massage in advance. While they dont’ have a spa, they do have an exclusive hold on a massage therapist who has magical healing hands and who will set up her table in your room as you gaze through one heavy-lidded eye at the most dazzling sunset of all time. *If you have concerns about travel and the Zika virus, talk to your healthcare provider.
Palm Beach-WASP by way of the Dominican-Victorian, Playa Grande Beach Club is the “girlfriends getaway” capital of the DR among the Isabel Marant set. The nine-bungalow independent resort on an ocean-front 2,000-acre parcel is the chic-and-cheerful design dream of New York-based interior designer and owner Celerie Kemble. The antithesis of every other multi-pool all-inclusive, there’s a feeling of intimacy, but still with plenty of land around each of the whimsically decorated pastel gingerbread-style private bungalow. Kemble mixes Victorian wicker and ikat fabrics with pink and green tiled floors, footed copper tubs, and local furniture with the kind of cheerful, devil-be-damned, errant heiress insouciance we all aspire to. And while service is passable, food gets high marks for being exactly what you want it to be: healthy, avocado-forward, fresh juices, grain bowl type fare using local ingredients versus all of those other resorts that fly in the t-bone steaks for the gringos who need their staples. Your biggest outing should be drinks and dinner at the Aman next door, because there is little reason to leave otherwise.
We love that Montage Cabo overlooks Santa Maria Bay, which is one of the only spots in Cabo where you can just walk right into the ocean and swim. The ocean is so rough with crazy undertows and a pounding break in front of so many of the Cabo resorts, so it’s sort of like the beach version of blue balls to be sitting looking out at the ocean and not be able to go swimming. So, the location is great, and it’s between Cabo, which is so crowded, and San Jose, which is much chiller, you can easily dip into either town, but are removed enough that you don’t feel you’re part of a hotel strip. The landscaping is great—all natives/drought tolerant (no weirdly green lawns or petunias)—the decor is sort of Mexican 2.0. Clean lines and of place, but no accent sombreros or serapes. And we love that every room, entry level and top tier, nail the indoor/outdoor thing (which is all you really want in a place like Mexico). All room share ocean views, large terraces with daybeds and outdoor showers. What else? Lovely, mellow pool scene, but sexy enough/good people watching that there’s some vibe. Food is solid, spa is fantastic. Oh, and not to be missed is the mezcal massage from the resident shaman, naturally.
It’s a catch-22: The flights to Nassau are cheap, frequent and easy. The bad news is, you are in Nassau with throngs of sunburned jort-wearing (that’s jean-shorts) gringos. The hack? The all-inclusive Kamalame Cay, which is a mere 15-minute hopper from Nassau and a world away from neon rubber bracelets that determine whether you can or can’t eat getting into a certain waterpark, and that will make you rethink your all-inclusive bias. Located on a 96-acre private island, chic, all natural Kamalame Cay will make you wish you could do your honeymoon over. We recommend staying in the beachfront bungalows, each of which have decks overlooking the ocean, beach access, and a golf cart and bikes for tooling around the island. The best part? A breakfast basket delivered as though by fairies filled with pastries, fruit, yogurt, orange juice, and a thermos of coffee. No more awkward early morning fumbling in your robe while your spouse hides under the covers as you try to remember whether you carried the one or whether tip was included to begin with.
Ever since the iconic Alice’s Restaurant on the Malibu Pier reopened under new management as Malibu Farm Restaurant in 2015 and disrupted–and elevated Carbon Beach’s status quo, with Helene Henderson’s haute surfer menu, it seems that all boats have risen along the cove between the pier and Carbon Canyon. The exclusive coastal outpost of Soho House opened, and then something unthinkable occurred: Malibu Beach Inn, formerly a motel-style property on PCH, was transformed by veteran hotelier Gregory Day, formerly of Shutters on the Beach, into pretty much the only luxury property on the ocean. The 47 rooms with private terraces as well as the main dining and lounging area cantilever over this prized strip of ocean. Outfitted with grey linens, sheepskins, cashmere throws, and teak mid-century chairs, the cando-by-way-of-Cali design is like the love child between Aarne Jacobsen and James Pearse. Best of all, with its Cali-meets-Provencal menu (avo toast, burger, and the best soupe de Poisson outside of Marseilles) means you’ll never have any reason to leave the property.
Let’s say you don’t want to get on a plane at all and don’t necessarily want to face yourself in a swimsuit. Once known as the “Queen of Atlantic Resorts,” the lovingly restored Ocean House—originally built in 1868 for well-heeled summer visitors from Cincinnati, New York, and Connecticut and the last remaining of seven such properties in Watch Hill—ticks all WASP-y fantasies of what a Rhode Island seaside resort might have been in a certain bygone era. (The town itself, a quiet oceanside hamlet on Rhode Island’s southern tip known for its discreet wealth, has always been a charming counterpoint to the famously flashy Newport.) Both historic and bright, Ocean House strikes that perfect balance between old world charm and just the right notes of new world luxury, think, high-end Scalamandré fabrics with a more modest New England vernacular of wood paneling, a 12,000-square foot spa, which includes an indoor pool. There is a high-end seasonal restaurant, which is lovely. Chances are you’ll want the mac-and-cheese from the club menu..
By the time you’ve hit the third trimester, there is nothing quite like floating in a big swimming pool on a cloudless Californian day when all you want to do is feel weightless—nor more of a relief than the scent of rosemary and lavender when your bionic sense of smell seems to be picking up every unsavory odor. At the Ojai Inn and Spa, the good smelling plants and herbs that seem to blanket all 200 acres of this property are mere table stakes. The Mecca for all sorts of bleeding edge wellness treatment and practices, the spa takes cues from the Chumash Native American Tribe, who first settles Ojai Valley with cleaning desert clays and essential oils. You might also want to book an immunity-boosting Ayurvedic Detox Body Treatment as well as the highly soothing cardamon and sandalwood body mask. Healthy, yummy grain bowls and juices are a given and Ojai Pizza Co. is only a short drive away should you need a cheesey, gluteny fix. You’ll save the Pilates and hikes for next time.
Tips for a safe babymoon:
Check in with OB-GYN
Ask for any records on your pregnancy you could need while far away.
Think about timing
2nd trimester is the perfect time to enjoy. You’re out of the 1st trimester ick but not big enough, or close enough to full term to stress it.
Avoid the 3rd Trimester
See above. It won’t be enjoyable if you can barely squeeze into an airline seat.
Identify Major Hospitals At Your Destination
Just in case.
Just remember that you may not be able to hike or swim as far as you once could, so just remember to relax and do what feels good.