Happy Travels With A Baby In Tow
Being a self-confessed travel junkie, having a baby was always going to involve a dramatic decrease in my air miles. Stoically resolved to be of the have baby, will travel mindset and perhaps fuelled by ignorance, I ambitiously booked a holiday for three months after the due date. My requirements were simple; proximity, luxury, laziness and relaxation. The answer? The Chedi, Muscat.
Fast-forward a pregnancy and three months of sleepless nights and hubbie and I were in desperate need of a break, thankful for my trip planning foresight but more than a little nervous about how the holiday would go. Never knowingly under-packed, I proceeded to bundle up the entire contents of the nursery for the seven night trip (most of which was deemed unnecessary seeing as the hotel actually provided tons; a baby bath, steriliser, car seat and travel cot) and set off hoping if not for a holiday as I knew it, at least some sort of change of scenery.
And what scenery I found. Only a 15-minute drive from Muscat airport, The Chedi was a complete oasis. Feeling nothing like a city hotel, it is a sprawling beach side sanctuary, with white geometric buildings dotted amongst pristine green lawns housing multiple restaurants, pools, spas and the ridiculously luxurious guest rooms.
As we ambushed this paradise with our little man, worries crept in about disturbing the peace. Needlessly so it turned out. The Chedi caters for small children without letting them spoil the very chilled out ambience. With three pools; one right on the beach, an impressive 100m long lounge pool with oversized loungers and low-key club music and then one child-friendly pool, we could take our little man swimming without infringing on anyone else’s tranquility but also enjoy solo relaxing swims without feeling like we were in crèche. The hotel is on the whole, dominated by couples but we clocked quite a few other kids under 4, happily accompanying their parents as they laid back and relaxed like us. The absence of older children does hint to the fact that this is, first and foremost, a grown up hotel. It’s perfect for parents of discreet younger children who crave a holiday like they used to have, but not so suited for older tots; think cocktail bars rather than kids clubs.
Our room, a sprawling Chedi Club Suite, was thankfully detached, offering up heaps of space and ensuring no baby cries would disturb our neighbours. With a clean aesthetic, Omani architectural touches and luxury at every turn, the room was perfect. Our giant lounge was great for retreating from the midday sun, the bedroom with its dark wood and clean lines left us well rested and then there was the bathroom – with an impossibly large tub, rain shower and his and hers sinks, it was faultless in its luxuriousness. And there was the private terrace, playing host to a romance reviving in room candlelit dinner one night and on the mornings we opted to have the inclusive breakfast in private, our own breakfast feast.
We had been worried about the hotel’s lack of babysitting facilities for under 1’s, fearing little man’s 7pm bedtime would have us room bound every evening. But after settling him in his pram, the hotel was open to us dining in all of the restaurants, pram in tow. Baby boy obligingly stayed asleep every night, allowing us to enjoy dinner like normal civilised grown ups. Making the most of the variety of dining options we dined around, first sampling the daybeds at the Long Pool Cabana with chill out music and candles setting the tone for delicious Japanese tapas. We also headed over to the Beach restaurant to check out their seafood offering served up in a stylish, breezy seaside setting. But most nights we headed to the main restaurant for delectable Asian, Middle Eastern and Indian fare. Best of all, every evening started with a sundowner in the dimly lit courtyard of the club lounge, the best perk of the Suites; daily complimentary afternoon tea and happy hour drinks. Although a couple of glasses of prosecco did make it harder to navigate the hotel’s paths with buggy in tow. The bumpy paths didn’t suit a sleeping babe so we ended up unglamorously carrying the pushchair around the hotel, giving knowing nods to other parents doing the same.
Making the most of having my husband around to help, I pampered myself at every possible moment. From soothing massages at the spa to morning gym trips where I attempted to whip my wrinkled skin back into shape on their high tech equipment, I left feeling healthier and fitter. But most of all, we spent our days relaxing, just the three of us, enjoying being a family but all in the settings of exquisite luxury and faultless service. We had come seeking a baby-friendly break and left with so much more, a sense of our old selves – well soused, fed and relaxed and sure to return to The Chedi, at least for the next few years until the little man clocks on that holidays should be more about him!
The Chedi, Muscat, Oman http://www.ghmhotels.com/en/muscat/