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Why Upscale Travel?

Colleen Dunn Bates, in an article on family travel in San Luis Obispo, poses that one of the keys to a successful family vacation is "accept[ing] that most grown-up pleasures must be delayed" (28). Yet to me, this sounds very depressing. If I devote my time, energy, and money to a vacation, I would not want my own enjoyment postponed for some later trip that may never materialize. Is it not possible to plan a vacation wherein the parents and children are equally gratified and revitalized?

There is a misconception circulating that when it comes to vacations, child-fun cancels out adult-fun, and vice-versa. At the core of this idea is the belief that traveling with a small child means entertaining the child. There are some solution to overcoming this apparent dilemma of family travel.

With the rate of high-stress conditions and health issues on the rise, many people have come to recognize the massive benefits derived from visiting resort spas. John DeFontes, spa director at The Phoenician in Scottsdale, Arizona, commented that, "People now are more educated about spas than they were back in the ‘80s and early ‘90s" (qtd. in Donoho 75). Resort spas have been heralded as places to go for adults to unwind, enabling them to return to their routines refreshed and enlivened. What most people do not realize is that select resort spas are also the ideal destinations for family vacationing.

Certain upscale full-service resorts work double and triple-time to simultaneously please each member of the family in the most satisfying ways. Part of the convenience of all-inclusive resorts is that the right ones provide children with activities, camps, arts, crafts, sports, and opportunities to meet other same-age kids right on the premises, while under the careful and professional supervision of the Activities Director and staff, and while Mom and Dad are very close at hand. Several of these resorts also offer bonded, highly accountable baby-sitting services for infants, also on the premises. While amusement parks cater to our children, resorts do this and, at the same time, give parents their own opportunity to indulge in golf, tennis, swimming, massages, and facials. They allow us, the parents, to eat scrumptious food, recollect our thoughts, and steal romantic moments all amidst dreamlike settings. In my estimation, the first rule behind designing a successful family vacation is not accepting that grown-up pleasures must be delayed, but rather, recognizing that romance, baby/child friendliness, luxury, family unity, and rejuvenation can co-exist, and determining to settle for nothing less. The key then to achieving fulfilling travel with babies or young children becomes uncovering the rare destinations wherein all of these ideals intersect

The American lifestyle is such that it is virtually impossible for most of us to devote ample amounts of time to travel. Vacation time is a rare commodity for most of us, and we must therefore make each precious hour and day of our leave time count. The only way to derive the benefits of happiness and ease that family vacationing at its best can provide for us is by learning to prioritize our vacation and travel expenditures.

With our absorbing and often laborious work schedules, many of us come to consider travel an optional activity to pursue if/when our schedules show a gap and if/when money is left over after everything else has been taken into account. Yet at the same time, many of us have no difficulty figuring into our budgets more new clothes and more new furniture each year than anyone really needs. We would do better to consider recurring, pampering vacations a mainstay of our and our family's well-being.

Notes:

Donoho, Ron. “Spa Mania.” San Diego Nov. 2000: 73-77, 185.
Dunn Bates, Colleen. “Life in the SLO Lane: Small-Town Delights for the Entire Family.” Westways Jan./Feb. 2001: 26-30.






FEATURED RESORT: Meadowood Napa Valley

The Meadowood, in lovely Napa Valley, is characterized by gracious wine country hospitality and a brimming menu of resort amenities: two croquet lawns, seven tennis courts, a 9-hole walking golf course, a 25-yard lap pool, a family swimming pool and a complete health spa providing fitness services such as personal training and luxury treatments. The Meadowood is also a private club and a wine center with two restaurants, The Restaurant, for formal fare, and The Grill, for a more casual atmosphere. Read the full review. More>>