Let’s just all admit to something. Hotel getaways with small kids are challenging, right? They get overly excited, they can’t settle down at night, et cetera, et cetera. By the same token, they get extremely bored at home and want to do something, anything when the weekend arrives. And yes, as a stay-at-home mom, I also like to get out of the house now and again. I never tried to deny the fact that I’m a quintessential bored housewife! Why do you think I’m blogging?
Trying to get my husband on board can be a challenge, though. Few days ago, I was telling him about yet another getaway I have planned for the summer, and his words were: “You are a pain in the arse. It’s a good thing you are beautiful!” Y’all, I’m not sure if I should be flattered or offended. Thoughts?
So, after canceling our Clearwater Wyndham getaway in order to use points for my parents’ visit, I started having second thoughts. I didn’t have a lot of hotel points at my disposal and didn’t really want to spend “real” cash. What to do? Well, I had 15,000 Ultimate Rewards points left in my Chase Sapphire Reserve account with no specific plans to use them. I will be canceling the card in August and was originally going to semi-speculatively transfer them to Hyatt program. Yes, after all of my Hyatt bashing, I can hardly believe it either.
Hmm, maybe I should burn the points now and use my Explorist lounge upgrade? Sure, 15,000 UR points are technically worth $150, aka real cash. But most Hyatt resorts cost way more than that, especially factoring in food. So, I checked Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa (see Nancy’s detailed trip report) where we’ve been to gazillion times last year. Well, three times, but still.
The paid cost for a double queen room with lounge access was $400 all-in, so obviously, using 15,000 UR points transferred to Hyatt on 1:1 basis seemed like a good deal. We are already going to this Hyatt in December for two nights btw. It takes only 1.5 hours to get there from our house in central Florida. Eh, why not?
I was very proud of myself for skipping Holiday Inn Express in Lakeland that landed on recent IHG PointBreaks list. Normally, I can’t resist paying 5,000 points per night, with breakfast included. However, I vowed to focus on quality over quantity. If we are going to go through trouble of packing and dragging the kids with us for one night, we are going somewhere nice. And honestly, you can’t beat the value of that Hyatt resort. It has pools, slides and a lazy river, plus free boat shuttle to a private island. My kids absolutely love it. So, I called and used one of my club access certificates for the stay.
Unfortunately, just five days before the trip, my husband and kids got sick. Should I cancel? My husband insisted we just keep the reservation and that everyone is likely to feel better by the weekend. Well, he was right about the kids. Unfortunately, he was still feeling pretty lousy, but insisted we go anyway. Not a good start.
After dealing with some crazy traffic, we finally arrived to our little slice of paradise. And it really is a nice place. Not right on the beach, but there are so many amenities to make up for it. We didn’t get upgraded to a suite (sad face), but regular rooms are fairly big, and they did put us on club floor, which has rooms with full balconies.
As soon as we took stuff to the room, my kids wanted to go to the waterpark. My son was finally tall enough to go on the big slides. He was ecstatic!
Seeing him grinning from ear to ear while coming down the slide was definitely the highlight of our stay. Obviously, this is the big draw of the resort and why we keep coming back. Unfortunately, my husband was feeling sick, so he stayed in the room.
When we were playing in the water, my daughter said she was hungry. I asked her if she could wait a bit (thinking I would take her to the club lounge), and she reluctantly agreed. Big mistake! On the way back to the room, I told her about my plan, and she started pitching a fit. She was hungry, tired and still a bit sick.
Her: I hate the lounge! They have nothing good there to eat.
Me: Hey, that’s not true! But listen, let’s go and take a look first. If you don’t find anything you want, I’ll buy you some food.
Her: Look at what? A pepper?
She was referring to grilled vegetables they have as part of the evening spread. I wanted to tell her about starving children in Africa, but I could see it wasn’t going to make any difference. Regardless, being a firm parent that I am, I insisted we go and look first. Well, she wasn’t impressed and just pointed her finger at grilled vegetables. That sassy little broad.
My husband didn’t want anything there either, so he took the kids with him to buy some “real” food. Great. So basically, I was the only one who took advantage of this freebie. We did, at least, all have breakfast in the lounge the next day.
Trying to get sleep was a big challenge, to say the least. First, I made a huge mistake. I didn’t bring a cot like I usually do, thinking the kids can sleep together for just one night. Nope. My daughter started complaining that my son moves around too much. We kept telling her to settle down, to no avail. The rooms at this property have motion-sensor lights on the floor, so every 20 minutes or so, she would get up and just stand there, in a passive-aggressve manner.
Finally, my husband said he will sleep with our son and let me share bed with my daughter. Oh no! She was constantly moving and couldn’t settle down. Just as I was about to dose off, I could feel her rubbing my foot. Then she wanted to give me a hug. That’s sweet, but I’m trying to get some freakin’ sleep here!
My two boys
Then at 1 AM the music started blasting next door. And it went on till 4 AM. I called the front desk, but nothing changed. When I was checking out, the lady said there were several complaints from families that night. A bunch of young folks were partying and didn’t give a rat’s behind about other people’s sleep.
Needless to say, we hardly got any rest. Plus, my husband was still feeling sick. We did request a 2 PM checkout, so we were able to take the kids to the pool in the morning for few hours. At least the weather was great that weekend, something you can’t always count on during this time of year.
I will say that I really enjoyed strolling the boardwalk early in the morning, all by myself. Very peaceful, though being paranoid person that I am, I was kind of concerned that someone would follow and kill me.
Hmm, I wonder how easy it is to hide a body in those bushes?
So, was it worth 15,000 UR points? Normally, I would say yes, but this time we should have probably stayed home. Not because of lack of sleep (though it sure didn’t help!), but due to the fact that my whole family was still recovering from sickness. Driving 1.5 hours may not be that bad in theory, but when you are dealing with interstate traffic, it’s stress galore.
By the same token, we can’t just sit at home for the next ten years and stick to our comfortable, familiar and boring routine. My crazy kids have so much energy, it’s hard to contain it. My son recently said he is a superhero called Rat Man. His special power? Biting his enemies. Yep.
My daughter loves playing with other kids her age, and going to a family-friendly resort, we can always count on her finding a kindred spirit. Since she is a bit socially awkward, this is a good thing.
My husband? His ideal vacation would consist of lots of naps, video games and enjoying movies… at home. But he likes watching me and the kids have fun, or at least that’s what he tells me. After all, I am a pain in the arse.
When it comes to family getaways, it’s often the case of “darned if you do, and darned if you don’t.” Now that the trip is over, I mostly have happy memories. But looks like I need to budget some money for non-pepper type food from now on. And next time, I’m bringing the cot.
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Leana is the owner and 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.