Why would anyone want to use a kids’ club on a family vacation? Isn’t the point of going on a family vacation to spend time with your kids? Yes, I have heard those words before, so I will explain.
We have three kids and no extended family nearby to help us out. Until recently, my husband worked from home, and I am a part-time work-at-home/stay-at-home mom. We are around our kids ALL THE TIME. And sometimes, for the sake of our sanity and marriage, we need a break!
We have used kids’ clubs extensively on Disney Cruise Line, and the clubs are one of the reasons I don’t mind paying the higher price for the cruise. I like that the clubs are open during dinner hours since my husband and I prefer to do activities with our kids during the day and then have a quiet date night dinner by ourselves.
I’ve researched in-room babysitting services for hotel vacations, but when it comes down to it, I’m just not comfortable leaving our kids with a stranger in our hotel room. I know that agencies have a thorough screening process, but what happens when the sitter arrives and I don’t have a good vibe? I would not be able to enjoy our date night if I was uncomfortable or worried about the kids.
Enter Camp Hyatt. It’s one of the features that was a big selling point for me to book our recent stay at Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort and Spa near Bastrop, Texas. According to the Hyatt website, there are 18 Hyatt hotels with a Camp Hyatt. The camps accommodate kids ages 3-12 (although some are for ages 5-12), and my three kids happen to fall into that age range.
About a week before our stay at Hyatt Regency Lost Pines, I received an email from the activities team urging me to call if I wished to make dining or Camp Hyatt reservations. The Camp Hyatt at Lost Pines has a morning, afternoon and evening sessions. My husband and I decided to make a reservation for the evening camp session on our second night along with a dinner reservation at the golf club restaurant.
Originally, I made a reservation for just my two younger kids since I thought my oldest (age 12) would consider himself too old for a kids’ club. I felt comfortable with him staying in our room and watching TV while we were out on our date.
However, when the day arrived, my oldest had already bowed out of playing basketball with us earlier in the day in order to play on his phone, so I wanted to get him out of the room for the evening. I called Camp Hyatt and asked if I could add him at the last minute, and there was still space available.
The evening session at Camp Hyatt cost $70 per child and included dinner. I assumed that dinner at the club would be pizza, since almost every single kids’ party and babysitting event we’ve been to serves pizza for dinner. My oldest is maybe the only kid on the planet who doesn’t like pizza. With that in mind, my husband took him to the club lounge for a snack before we dropped him off.
When we got to Camp Hyatt, there were several college-aged counselors in there who welcomed us. Much to my surprise, dinner was not just the standard pizza. The kids got to pre-order their dinner from a menu with many choices.
One of the counselors talked to me about the schedule for the evening:
If we gave permission, they would take the kids around the resort to participate in the resort’s evening activities as a group. Of course, we had the option to say no, and our kids could have stayed in the Camp Hyatt room the entire time.
My photos of the actual Camp Hyatt room turned out very blurry, but here are a few to give you an idea of the set-up:
I was feeling a little guilty that I booked my 12-year-old at the last minute because all of the kids I saw there were younger. Nevertheless, my husband and I headed out for our date.
We walked across the street to the golf club. We were thankful that most of our walk was indoors since it was 100 degrees outside. (Remember, this is Texas in the summer!)
I won’t bore you with photos from our entire meal, but we did like the food. I especially enjoyed this marinated goat cheese appetizer with grilled flatbread:
After our nice quiet dinner, we still had 2 ½ hours to spend together before we had to pick up the kids. We weren’t sure what to do with ourselves! We decided to get on our swimsuits and lounge in the adults-only pool and hot tub. We had the entire pool to ourselves!
After some time at the pool, we walked by the fire pit to get back to our room. We saw our kids with the counselors and other kids from the club enjoying their s’mores and playing games outside on the lawn. Oh no, would they be mad that we went swimming without them?? But guess what? They didn’t even notice we were there!
They were having so much fun that they didn’t see us, in our swimsuits, roasting some marshmallows and eating s’mores just a few feet away from them. I also saw that my oldest son had made friends with a few older kids, so I no longer felt guilty about sticking him in the club with his younger siblings.
When we arrived to pick up our kids later that night, none of them wanted to leave. That is the sign of a really good kids’ club! We seriously had to drag our middle child out of there. Part of that may be due to the fact that he made a new best friend who happened to be a girl and told me they were in love.
I tried to ask the kids what they did the entire night, and they told me that earlier in the evening they went for a walk with the counselors to see various animals on the property. They played games outside and inside, and generally had a blast!
With three kids, the cost to use Camp Hyatt adds up. However, I’m so glad we were able to have a quiet night out while our kids were in safe hands and having fun. I consider the cost an investment in our marriage and totally worth it. I would not hesitate to use Camp Hyatt again at a future Hyatt hotel stay.
Have you used Camp Hyatt while on vacation?
Leana is the founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.