7 Things To Look For in a Family Beach Resort
What do moms want in a great family beach resort? That’s the question we asked in September at #MOMtravelchat.
The Twitter Party was sponsored by Grand Beach Hotel in Miami Beach, which is known for great family amenities like big rooms with an extra bathroom and even a Kid Zone right on the beach. (You can read about our stay there.)
Moms like Miami for families
All the moms at the party said they wanted to visit Miami with their kids. Some had been with just a spouse and wanted to return with whole family. Those who had been before with their kids said they would be glad to go back. Miami’s great beach is the chief attraction for families. But Miami’s reputation or good food and the chance to sample its famous nightlife were popular reasons, too.
Whether in Miami or anywhere else, here are seven things we learned that parents look for when they want to escape to the beach with their kids.
1. Moms want value
While our moms are willing to pay more for a quality resort with good amenities, they do need to be value conscious, especially if they are traveling with two or more kids. Having essentials like breakfast and beach umbrellas built into the room rate (or resort fee) helps them to budget and to feel free to spend more on other things like snacks and entertainment.
2. Moms like to see family amenities
Parents want to feel they are in a place that welcomes families. Even if they don’t use them they like to see amenities like kids menus, kids clubs and activities for families to do together because they signal that a hotel wants kids around. If a hotel has a stash of extra beach toys to borrow, that can save the day; it’s the kind of things parents mention to other parents.
Even when their young ones eat lots of different foods, parents like a kids’ menu because it offers appropriate portion sizes and prices. Most parents like to see fruits or vegetables on that menu, even those with picky eaters. And those with more daring eaters appreciate having options beyond chicken fingers and buttered pasta.
Not all families use a kids club. Everyone sees vacation as a time for the whole family to be together. Some moms want to balance that with couple time or feel they need a little kid-free time to relax a little. Others say they will take a separate weekend away for couple time. Either way, moms appreciate it when a beach resort provides activities the family can do together. It adds value and helps to create more memories.
3. Moms like extras for the parents
Parents want to feel they are vacation too. To that end, Moms appreciate a bigger room, ideally designed to offer some privacy and allow some lights to be on while kids are sleeping. As one mom said, it’s nice to have room for the kids to do their thing and the adults to do ours.
Balconies are important at a family beach resort because they give the adults a place to get away from sleeping kids while staying in the room.
Mom and dad also want to eat well even if their kids stick to chicken fingers. They like to see a variety of high quality food and good cocktails, wine and beer right at the hotel or nearby.
4. Moms have different ideas about couple time
When they do get couple time on vacation, moms and dad do a variety of activities. Free time during the day might offer a chance to relax or walk on the beach or do an activity their kids are too young for, like jet-skiing or visiting the spa. At night they appreciate being able to have a quiet dinner that is fancier or more adventurous than usual. And in Miami, of course they want to go dancing.
5. Pool or beach? Both, please!
Everyone agreed that they like a pool, even at a beachfront hotel. The beach is great for playing in the sand, collecting shells and running around; it’s free all-day entertainment. While we had a few boogie-boarders and body-surfers, the pool is the preferred place to swim, especially if families have small children or the surf is rough.
Parents with toddlers like a kiddie pool; at any age separate family and adult-only pools mean we don’t have to be self-conscious about every splash our kids make.
Parents also like the convenience of poolside cafe with high quality food and drinks. It means they don’t have to de-sand kids or dry them off just for a salad or sandwich.
5. Moms want fun local activities
Even if parents know they’ll spend most of their visit to a family beach resort on the beach or by the pool, they like knowing there are activities to offer a change of pace. In Miami, our guests were interested in the boardwalk, the zoo, Cuban and other local ethnic foods, and in seeing a Dolphins football game.
7. Moms read reviews
Most of our moms say they rely on Trip Advisor or Yelp when choosing restaurants, shopping and things to do, but most of all for hotels. They trust the reviewerss to be very honest and say the reviews help them them feel informed and like they’re getting the inside scoop. Several say they post reviews, too.
One mom said she likes to see the hotels responding to comments and questions on Trip Advisor. Grand Beach said they make a point of doing this.
Of course, moms also say a recommendation from a friend trumps online reviews any day.
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Thanks to Grand Beach Hotel, @momneedstime, @MOMiSHStyle, @SillySheep for their awesome photos.