I swear that despite my husband's claims, I did not create the word "Babymoon" as an excuse for him to take me away on a romantic trip before the arrival of our first baby. I first got the idea four years ago when my sister and her husband took their Babymoon before the arrival of their first child. Then, two years ago when my husband and I were in Anguilla for our honeymoon we saw tons of cute baby bumps sunning themselves around the pool. I turned to my husband and said, "I'm getting a babymoon when we have our first kid." He stared blankly into his margarita, knowing their would be no room for negotiations.
Think of it as an early push present, but for the both of you. Your lives are going to be completely turned upside down in a few months (the ideal time to take a babymoon is in the 2nd trimester) and you're probably not going to have an opportunity to take a romantic trip for several years. Don't you deserve the indulgence? (To the husbands who are opening their mouths right now, that was a rhetorical question)
Choosing the ideal babymoon location is a little trickier than just booking any beach resort that is having a deal on a flash site. You have to consider the following factors:
Travel Time: Since you'll be in your 2nd trimester (traveling the 3rd trimester could be risky and very uncomfortable) you should choose a location that you can fly directly to in under 5 hours.
Romantic vs. Family Resorts: You're going to be spending the next 18 years at family resorts, do you really need to hear screaming kids while you're sipping your virgin daiquiri poolside? You want to opt for a beach resort or hotel that caters more to adults than children. But beware of the hotels that target singles or you can expect thumping bass poolside, screaming drunk girls, and possible brawls and puke puddles.
Cuisine: We all know the laundry list of "don'ts" on a pregnancy diet so you have to make sure the resort and/or surrounding restaurants provides delicious pregnancy-friendly food.
We chose Kauai, Hawaii since we live on the West Coast and the direct flight was under 5 hours. We had been to the other Hawaiian islands and felt they were too "busy" and we had always heard Kauai was the quiet island. It also doesn't hurt that Kauai, know as the "Garden Isle", is covered in stunning green mountains and lush, colorful vegetation.
Of course we weren't their to hike the scenery, just admire it from afar. The last thing you want to do in your 2nd trimester is hike! The Babymoon is all about relaxation and that's exactly what we did...
We found our hotel by searching for honeymoon resorts on Kauai. We figured honeymooners are looking for the same level of quiet, romance, and privacy. By eliminating the humongous resorts (we hate having a ten minute walk to the pool) and the kidcentric hotels, we found the Koa Kea Hotel & Resort (starting at $369).
The Koa Kea, a 121-room oceanfront boutique hotel, is located at Poipu Beach and caters to a mostly adult crowd (adult couples, not singles). The decor is sleek and modern, yet infused with the Hawaiian aesthetic. The staff couldn't be more amazing -- friendly, helpful, great service -- from the valets and the servers to the front desk staff and the cleaning team.
The rooms are modern and comfy but unless you book a suite (starting at $1625) don't expect to be taking relaxing baths. Normally "no bathtub" wouldn't be a factor, but when you're six months pregnant, feeling like Shamu, all you want to do is end the day by feeling weightless in a lavender-scented bath.
Though the hotel site boasts "beachfront accommodations," it's a little misleading. While the hotel is located at Poipu Beach, the accommodations are not on the beach. In fact, unless you book a pricey ocean front room or suite (starting at $609), don't expect much of a view.
We booked a Garden View Room (starting at $369) and were expecting at least a private lanai (as advertised on the site), but instead we walked out our back door to find a couple piles of dirt with 1-2 scraggly plants and a "view" of our neighbors' bathing suits drying on the furniture.
Though our views were far from "garden" and our lanai couldn't have been more exposed (we had to keep the drapes drawn in case our next door neighbors walked out on to their lanaii), we didn't spend that much time in the room so it didn't really matter.
Where to Eat
As I said before, it can be a little tricky picking restaurants, especially on an island known for its fish. I researched restaurants pre-trip and scanned their menus to ensure there were multiple items I would be able to enjoy. These restaurants passed the pre-trip inspection, food taste test, and under 10 minute drive from our hotel rule:
Red Salt: (Main Courses $23 - $69) Located at the Koa Kea Hotel, this is by far the best restaurant on the island. The food is artistically presented and goes far beyond the usual traditional Hawaiian fare. I highly recommend it for a special, romantic dinner.
Koloa Fish Market: (All Plates Under $15) You don't get more hole-in-the-wall than this little fish shack serving up fresh fish, chicken, and pork plates. Don't be too depressed that you're not able to partake in the fish market's legendary Poke. They have cooked fish options, as well as chicken and pork, accompanied by tasty sides. The fish market does not have seating so expect to take the food back to your hotel, but it's well worth the trip for these delicious cheap eats.
Keoki's Paradise: (Main Courses $21- $33) There's nothing like a little Hawaiian kitsch -- fake rocks, waterfalls, hanging canoes -- think Hawaiian Disney World. If you can get past the tourist trap atmosphere they have a menu full of fresh fish and meat dishes. Whatever you do, don't miss out on their famous Hulu Pie. (It may be the size of a mountain but I polished off the whole thing by myself. It's that good and I'm that pregnant).
Being pregnant means lower back pain is pretty much a given so there was no way I was leaving the island without at least one massage. And let's face it, nothing feels better than being spoiled at a luxurious destination spa.
Spa at the Koa Kea: (Massages start at $120 for 50 minutes) You can imagine how excited I was when I read my hotel had a full service spa. I was picturing lava rock waiting areas and outdoor massage hales. Unfortunately, the spa took a couple hotel rooms and converted them into what looks like a dermatologist's office. The treatment rooms are tiny and there is no changing facility aside from the bathroom. My massage therapist was fantastic, but even she couldn't save me from the feeling that I had been robbed from my Hawaiian spa experience.
Anara Spa at the Grand Hyatt: (Massages start at $160 for 50 minutes) I'm pretty sure trumpets started playing when I entered this 45,000 square foot spa. As I walked through the co-ed outdoor area that included a lap pool and huge bar full of nutritious snacks and naturally flavored waters and juices, I thought, "Now this is a luxury spa!" The women's area is equipped with an expansive locker facility, an outdoor lava rock shower area, hot tub, steam room, and experience shower. I had my maternity massage in one of the outdoor hales, and it felt like I was getting a massage on "Lost" -- flowers, waterfalls, lush vegetation -- without the black smoke monster chasing me. The Anara Spa may be more pricey than other local spas but you're paying for the luxurious experience (I could have spent all day).
Whether you decide to take your Babymoon in Kauai or some other fantastic beach location, just remember relaxation is key. So skip the adventure trips and do Vegas another time. This is all about rocking your adorable baby bump poolside and enjoying some quiet romantic time with your hubby. And mamas, don't let your hubby choose a golf resort. That's just cheating.