Dear FG Editors:
We are looking into beach resorts for two adults & two kids ages 2 and 5. We must have child care/kids club during the day for both kids, but I’m finding most places provide only for ages 4 and up. Any suggestions besides Beaches, Club Med Punta Cana, and FDR in Jamaica?
You’re right. Finding a kids club for the toddler set is tough. I think the resorts often want to make sure the kids in their care are potty trained. We did some digging and found a few options in different price ranges, though none where the two kids would be together.
Caribbean Resorts With Toddler Clubs
Though it’s further away than some other islands, Antigua might be a good bet.
The all-inclusive St. James’s Club Resort and Villas (right) and The Verandah Resort & Spa both welcome potty trained kids aged 2 and up in their Kids’ clubs. Those still in diapers can take part in the activities if an adult joins them.
If your budget is roomy, check out Carlisle Bay, a luxury Resort. A Cool Kids Club for kids ages 4 to 6 offers starfish hunting, art projects and access to a clubhouse with a jungle gym, sandbox and paddling pool. But they also have the Kids Crèche where those 3 and under can do finger painting, water play, treasure hunts and beach games. During holiday break weeks the hotel offers dinner and movie twice a week for kids 2 and up so parents can have a date night. Activities are free for kids 2 and up; $15 an hour for babies.
We love the easy flight to the Bahamas , but in deep winter they can have weeks where it’s too chilly for swimming. Nevertheless, if you feel lucky, consider the Grand Lucayan (left), which has a kids’ camp for the 3-and-up crowd that costs extra and can include lunch. They also have a nursery for those under 3. It’s open daily from 9:00 to 5:00 but charges by the hour and is closed for lunch. It’s probably not your ideal, but is an option because of the easy flight.
Several Hyatt Resorts, including Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort & Casino, have kids camps for ages 3 to 12. For an extra fee kids can join in supervised activities like swimming, surfing, arts and crafts and maybe hula dancing.
The Dominican Republic
The DR isn’t my favorite island but it’s a reliable source for affordable, relaxing all-inclusive resorts with good beaches.
Try the Grand Palladium Bávaro Resort & Spa (right), which has a nursery for kids aged 1 to 3 as well as a kids club for the 4-to-12 set. It also offers family rooms with extra amenities including a communal parents’ room with a microwave, sterilizer and extra snacks.
This island is known for all-inclusives that are more expensive and a little more upscale but also more intimate than you find in more popular destinations.
This might work for you: The all-inclusive St. James’s Club has a Mini Club where kids older than two and a half can play in a mini park, do crafts and watch movies. Kids aged four and a half to 7 have their own crafts, activities and sports.
The Fairmont Rosewood Mayakoba in Playa del Carmen, outside of Cancun will accept potty trained kids aged 3 and up in their Rosebuds kids’ program. Daily activities might include castle building, piñata making, easel painting, Mayan jewelry making, art in the sand, nature walks and, rock painting. The resort isn’t all-inclusive but the kids’ activities are complimentary.
Consider a Cruise!
Cruise ships often let kids two and up into their kids camps. But if they are still in diapers you might be called back to the Clubhouse when your child needs changing. Also, cruise ships usually have rules forbidding those still in diapers from using the pool. Think carefully about how many hours your still-diapered toddler will want to stay in the kids club and what you’ll do together if she can’t use the pool to make sure the trade-off is worth it. Once kids are out of diapers though, cruises are a great option for balancing couple and family time.