Friday, July 20, 2007

Nice Jungle Dome reviews

It's always great to hear how much people enjoy staying at the Jungle Dome. The atmosphere at the lodge is rather unique, unless you've been there it's hard to explain in words. I guess you could say that it's like a luxury bed & breakfast experience (even though we feed everyone fantastic dinners there too). Our guests usually end up becoming good friends with everyone else at the lodge and they all love our staff! Some guests are virtually in tears when they leave the place and tell us that they feel like they've been visiting family, instead of feeling like they were guests at a hotel.

Just have a read of the Carrie's blog, a newly-wed who recently stayed at the Jungle Dome:

Monday, July 16, 2007

Our all-inclusive resort experience

It's so funny, just over a month ago I wrote 'No more travels please!' and what have we been doing lately? Yep, travel, travel and travel some more.

Last week we drove to Playacar, Mexico and we stayed at one of those big all-inclusive resorts. We've never stayed at one of those before and had never had felt attracted to them, but thought it was a good idea now because of the kids. All the reviews on Tripadvisor go on about how great these places are for children, with kids clubs and activities for them, etc. So we tried it out.

Well, what can I order to decide who and what you are in life, you sometimes have to experience that which you are not. And people for large all-inclusive resorts we are not. Don't get me wrong, we had a nice enough time. The food was over-flowing and good, we were right on the beach and by the pool, there was nightly entertainment that was good fun and it was an easy vacation/holiday for parents like us with young kids.

One of the down-sides was that Lucas, our jungle boy, was totally intimidated by the size of it all and refused to go to the kids club or take part in any of the organized activities (he liked watching the evening shows though), it was hard to make any friends, even for us, in a place that was that big. The activities around the pool were incredibly embarrassing, with the aqua fit sessions looking more like something from an 18-30's holiday (a cheap excuse to touch up members of the opposite sex). And I found it hard to admire the beauty of the sea and the beach as it was so full of 'stuff' (palapas, beach chairs, hammocks, etc.)

On our last day we drove to Tulum for the morning and as soon as we arrived there I realized that that is where I would want to stay again next time. Tulum is so unspoiled, with cute character-filled little hotels, restaurants and gift shops. It's got a slight 'hippie' feel to it & I find the whole place rather magical. I can't exactly explain why I feel like that.

The only down-side to Tulum is that it hasn't got a golf course nearby. And Andy, of course, is totally into playing golf. It would therefore be a shame to go to Mexico without making use of the incredible golf courses that are there. Oh well, we will figure out where to stay next time we go back to Mexico. Maybe we'll go again when Andy's mum is with us in September?

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Great golf vacation for the whole family!

We just returned from a 3-day break on Caye Chapel, a private golf island off the Belize coast.

When Andy first suggested going to Caye Chapel with the kids I was slightly sceptical of the idea. First of all, I thought that only millionaires were able to afford to stay there & I was a bit worried about what the kids and I would do for the three days that Andy played golf. It turns out that I worried for nothing. Caye Chapel feels like a playground for the rich and famous, but it actually is quite affordable (but don't tell anyone...otherwise we'll never be able to get a room there again) & the kids and I weren't bored for a minute.

We were given a lovely 2-bedroom casita, with satellite TV, wireless Internet and a DVD player (so when we needed the kids to wind down, we'd stick on one of their favorite movies). We also were given 2 golf buggies and bicycles for whizzing around the island. There was a lovely pool, a spa, a gym, coconut skittles, a basketball court, volleyball, swing sets and of course the beach. We didn't need to lock our door for the whole weekend, the kids were safe to run in and out of the casita and Andy would practice his golf swing right outside our door (the golf course was just across the sandy road). Whenever Lucas wanted to join Andy on the golf course, he'd run over and use the little kiddies golf clubs that the Caye Chapel staff provided us with.

The place is both swanky and relaxed at the same time. Our food was brought to where ever we wanted it (lunch at the pool and dinner in our casita) and it was funny to see men playing the golf course on bare feet and with just their swimming shorts on.

Lucas never even missed his friends. Which is unusual for him. Even after 3 days there, he did not want to leave.

So anyway, we'll be going back soon. Until then, Andy is practicing his golf skills almost daily at the Roaring River Golf Course near our house. He really has a the mindset of top sports man. When he gets in to something, he gets in to something. And right now that something is golf. It's inspiring to watch his determination, even though I could never be like that myself. When Karen and I played tennis for instance, we weren't even able to keep score. We were too busy chatting to be serious about the game. Andy was baffled. Why would anyone play sports and not even care about how well they do? Guess that's why he he's the sports man in the family ; )