Category Archives: Baby travel

Seeing a different side to Dubai – Bab al Shams Desert Resort 

Dubai, I have found on the whole is a marmite kind of place – you either love it or you hate it! It’s a pretty showy place and every time I have been I have stayed on the palm! So this time we wanted something a little different so we booked ourselves into the Bab al Shams desert resort and spa! Meaning gateway to the sun, we were hoping for something special from our stay at the desert resort – Bab al Shams!

One of the things I like when staying in a luxury hotel is getting a real sense of place. Personal touches and things unique to the place. To be honest, the hotels I’ve stayed in Dubai previously have been lacking in this! There a lot of chains (nothing wrong with that) but on the inside can feel like anywhere else in the world. My favourite hotels always have something unique about them and this was my hope for Bab al Shams and it didn’t disappoint! All the luxury and 5* treatment that you expect f a great middle eastern hotel coupled with a taste of tradition and heritage! 

We flew into Dubai maktoum airport which is much closer to the resort than dxb but offers only regional flights at the minute but was perfect for us! From here it was about a 40-50 minute drive. When we arrived we were greeted with a lovely Arabian welcome and some fresh lemon mint and baby e was given a soft camel which she became very attached to! 

The desert resort

After a slight confusion over booking details we were shown to our room. The resort is laid out like an Arabian fort – low rise and you walk down winding corridors and alleys with quaint ‘historic’ objects littering the walkways to get to your room! On the way there are many areas to sit and unwind such as reflecting pools and nighttime fire pits! 

Water feature
Fire pit

The room was stunning and had a true sense of place that other Dubai hotels can lack. I was particularly fond of the bathroom.

The bath
Luxurious bathroom
 

The only downside to the traditional layout could be that it can seem a little dark but I think the ambience it creates more than make up for it!

Sitting area

As we arrived late in the evening we went straight out to dinner in one of the five onsite restaurants. Night one we tried masala the Indian offer and were very impressed with the quality. There was a nice mix of traditional and more contemporary dishes and a live band which baby e enjoyed dancing the night away too. Of all the restaurants we tried, this was our favourite.

Masala

On other nights we tried the Italian, Le Dune and Arabic, Al Forsan, which are nice and have lovely views across the desert especially for sundowners. There is also an Arabic buffet restaurant, Al Hadheerah, that has a live show and has a firework display at weekends. Since wandermust daddy was ill and the baby has an earliesh bedtime I didn’t get to do this but is something I’d love to return and do!

As we went half board we had our breakfast at the buffet restaurant. I am not always a buffet fan but was really impressed with the breakfast, especially the live cooking stations. Due to illness, I mostly experienced the resort on my own, I was concerned about the mix of baby and buffet while solo parenting but the staff were so helpful. I had a great time even if wandermust  daddy was shut away in the hotel room for most of the trip! At least we had a nice bed! 

The bed

The whole resort was perfectly set up for families of any size and age. Baby E enjoyed the heated pool and there was plenty of space around the three pool areas.

The pool

Your room rate also includes some desert activities such as camel riding, nature walks, fat bikes and baby E’s favourite falcons! She has now become slightly obsessed with trying to pet birds!

Our fearless traveler

I must admit that even I enjoyed the falconry. The blend of afternoon activities I think makes Bab al shams perfect for the young and he young at heart! 


The resort, while well connected by road is set amongst the sand dunes! You could organise trips out through the hotel but we just enjoyed sitting and taking in the scenery! The baby particularly enjoyed the sand between her toes!


We had a fantastic time and would thoroughly recommend anyone who wants to experience a more traditional Dubai scene to try visiting a desert resort.

Top tip – the resort is much busier on a Friday than in the week due to a large brunch and pool day passes so try and stay mid week if you can 

Have you ever stayed in a desert resort? I’d love to know what you thought! 

 UK City Breaks with babies 

We love a city break and the UK is filled with some great baby friendly cities! Some of favourite family travel bloggers have picked their favourite cities for family city breaks and have shared other parents to offer top tips, advice and inspiration for other families to take successful UK city break. Continue reading  UK City Breaks with babies 

European City Breaks with Babies Part Two, N-Z

When we were just a Wandermust Couple, Wandermust Daddy and I loved a city break. I’ve lost count on how many we went on so we were determine to continue when we had children but is it possible to still enjoy a city break with babies?

From our own experience we have found the answer to be undoubtedly yes and as we have looked into it more we have discovered that there are loads of young families out there to inspire you with tales from cities. This round-up features contributes from some of my favourite family travel bloggers telling you about their favourite city breaks they’ve done in Europe with a baby with top tips and advice so you can go to!

PALMA, SPAIN, BY WANDERMUST FAMILY

Here’s what Wandermust Mummy has to say about visiting Palma with a six month old:

At Palma Cathedral

Continue reading European City Breaks with Babies Part Two, N-Z

European City Breaks, A-M, with Babies 

When we were just a Wandermust Couple, Wandermust Daddy and I loved a city break. I’ve lost count on how many we went on so we were determine to continue when we had children but is it possible to still enjoy a city break with babies?

From our own experience we have found the answer to be undoubtedly yes and as we have looked into it more we have discovered that there are loads of young families out there to inspire you with tales from cities. This round-up features contributes from some of my favourite family travel bloggers telling you about their favourite city breaks they’ve done in Europe with a baby with top tips and advice so you can go to!

ATHENS, GREECE BY NECTARIOS AT CITYKILKS 


Athens is an amazing city for families to visit. When my wife and I visited with our 9 month old son we took in as many sites as we could, including the Acropolis, Syntagma Square, Plaka and Monastiraki (shopping). Some other notable places we visited were the Olympic Stadium, Lykabettos (the hill opposite the Acropolis) the Acropolis Museum, and the gardens behind Parliament. All of these places are easy to get to by public transportation, which despite Athens’ street network, is super easy to use. The Metro especially is incredibly easy to ride and can take you pretty much anywhere. If you leave the city center, things can get a little more challenging using a stroller but a well planned excursion can save you the hassle. It’s doable.

The nightlife is also very family friendly in Athens. In fact, I recommend staying out late with your child. People watching is a past time in Greece and kids love it. You’ll see plenty of Greeks and their children out and about as late as 12 am and beyond, enjoying breezy warm evenings and nights in the company of friends in local squares and dining outdoors at taverns. The music is also fantastic and really puts you in the mood.

All in all, Athens is simply unforgettable culture, unforgettable people and lots of fun. You can read more Citykliks travels in Athens (and other travels and topics) here. Also, you can follow on Twitter and Facebook

BARCELONA, SPAIN BY WANDERMUST MUMMY FROM WANDERMUSTFAMILY

We went to Barcelona at the end of a cruise for a long weekend with our six month old baby.

Wandermust Family in Barcelona
Continue reading European City Breaks, A-M, with Babies 

Our baby travel outtakes & the lessons we’ve learnt 

We are relatively lucky that in all our years of travelling we have not had too many big disasters. One of the worst was losing our luggage in Uganda before going gorilla trekking! The abundance of wine we were travelling with helped but it taught us always to have the essentials in our hand luggage! Oh and travelling with wine is always a good idea! You can read more about our disastrous Ugandan luggage experience here!

Wine helped drown our sorrows in Uganda – explains the blurry camera work!
Continue reading Our baby travel outtakes & the lessons we’ve learnt 

Five Reasons why Suites are Good for Cruising Families! 

Our first cruise with a baby we were lucky enough to be booked into a suite. Despite being seasoned cruisers we had never actually been in a suite before. Most of our previous cruises were done slightly not the cheap – once we went on a week long cruise for less money than we would have spent eating takeaways and at restaurants in our home of London – but that is a story for another day! We keen to have a suite with a baby to have extra space as we knew we wouldn’t be travelling light and thought we would be spending  more time in it than usual – so was it worth it?

For us this was a big yes for several reasons

More Room 

We could store the stroller, car seat, travel cot and luggage without a problem. I believe you can enjoy a cruise with any room size (See my Cruise Cabin Room Guide for Families) but it was certainly nice not to have to look at the baby clutter all the time.

It also meant that we had room to put the baby playmate out to give our little one chance to explore and play safely

Our suite

It has an amazing balcony with plenty of room for us to sit out while baby played in an inflatable bath as a paddling pool. It also meant we could enjoy the balcony easily while baby was enjoying a nap.

Continue reading Five Reasons why Suites are Good for Cruising Families! 

What is the best cruise cabin for a family?

We are experienced cruisers, mainly as a couple but we took Baby E as soon as she hit Royal Caribbean’s 6 month minimum age limit. We have experienced all types of cabins aboard a variety of lines so here are the cabins we suggest are ideal for different types of families and top tips for your stay onboard with a baby.  Continue reading What is the best cruise cabin for a family?

Top tips and reasons why you SHOULD cruise with a baby! 

We are experienced cruisers – now being in double figures, and have sailed round the Med, Carribean, Greek Islands, New York and Alaska, so there was no doubt in our mind that we would cruise with our baby! Excitedly we booked our first cruise on Royal  Carribean’s Rhapsody of the Seas sailing out of Rome as soon as our daughter hit the required 6 month minimum age (minimum ages vary by cruises but 6 months seems the most common – check with your cruise line before booking).

As I normally do once I book a holiday I started googling. To my horror the first thing I found when looking for information about cruising with a baby was an article on how terrible cruising with a baby was – here’s said article – 9 Reasons Not to Take a Baby on a Cruise! Eek! Had we really been naive in thinking we could continue cruising with our baby? Continue reading Top tips and reasons why you SHOULD cruise with a baby! 

A Day In & Around Montjuic with a Baby

Montjuic is an area on a hill overlooking Barcelona. Anyone whose been to Barcelona, will have seen Montjuic but many will never have been. Is that because there is nothing there of interest? Absolutely not! So here are the top reasons and things you should do  on Montjuic next time you are visiting Barcelona:

How to get there

Montjuic can be reached by walking from Barcelona – if you are prepared for a fairly steep walk, by hop-on-hop-off bus -there are a couple of stops in the Montjuic area or even better take the cable car up.

Cable car in action
The Views
Once you are at the top you are going to be rewarded with spectacular views across both the city and the harbour.

Barcelona skyline from montjuic

It is truly an unrivalled view of the city!
The Parks and Gardens
Montjuic is really a green place. Whether it is walking in the hotel Miramar Gardens or one of the many nearby parks, you can really get out of the city and into some peace and quiet. There is also a great cactus garden and montjuic is home to Barcelona’s botanic gardens.

Enjoying parks and art in montjuic

Attractions 

Montjuic actually has some great attractions – for art lovers there is fundacio miro, for the outdoor lovers – the botanic gardens, for history lovers the montjuic cemetery with many famous graves and for sports fans the Olympic sites. Not to mention the amazing fountain light show which montjuic is perhaps most famous for!

We recommend setting aside a day for the area around montjuic – if you are going up you might as well spend a day in the area

Top tips

  • When visiting with a baby you may want to consider a carrier. It is doable with a pram but some hills are pretty steep.
  • Montjuic has limited food options. Bring a picnic or book a table at Martinez – awesome paella with views to match
Paella at Martinez

Have you visited montjuic? What are your top tips? 

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Starving a Baby and Health and Safety Gone Mad!: Our worst airport experience so far!

I am not usually a complainer. I am not usually a ranter BUT …

We all have our favourite airports right? Pre-parenthood me picked these largely to do with lounge access (I’m looking at you Doha and Heathrow!), perhaps a nice bar or cafe for a little pre-flight drink but no more. Parenthood has changed me! Now I am a parent I look for different things – friendliness and helpfulness of staff, speed of security, availability of nice and clean changing facilities etc. So why was it so bad?

Firstly let me say. I thought we had it all planned. I thought we would get through no problems. I had timed going through security between feeds when I knew Baby E was going to be happy. Well where did it all go wrong?

I am not going to name the airport in question but first things first… I’ll admit I didn’t buy a fast track security pass. I didn’t think we needed it and the airport really didn’t seem that busy. How I wish I had bought that pass! You can’t actually see the security queue until you are well past the point of no return! Next time I am buying a fast track no matter what! The queue on the day in question turned out to be long. My worries started. Baby E is not a great fan of the baby carrier but for the forty minutes we were in the queue she was a little angel. Things were looking good as we arrived at security. THEN

Of course our bag got pulled to one side. We are formula feeders (no debate necessary 😉 ) so obviously we had liquids, properly packed I might add. We had researched several feeding options before we decided on Aptamil Ready Feeds. These are bought in the Aptamil Starter Packs for Hospitals but at 70ml each, don’t contravene any flying regulations. I understand they have to check, I really do – I have no problem with security – none whatsoever! What I do have a problem with is the speed in which the checks are carried out. Checking and stopping for a five minute chat (with friends about non work related stuff) so there is a fifteen minute gap between bags – I definitely have a problem with! I also have a problem with you dropping my carefully packed milk on the floor!

But of all things, I have a problem with you taking half an hour before you check my bag,  while my baby screams for her milk! A little more compassion and common sense would go a long way!

As soon as we were through security – one of the rudest experiences I have ever had at an airport – we decided to find a quiet spot to feed Baby E and get us parents some much needed caffeine. We settled on Girrafe! I’m a big fan of this chain. I use to take my visiting nieces and nephews all the time to the one in Richmond so thought this would be the family friendly option! All was going well until I realised I needed to sterilise a dummy. I asked for some hot water to be told for Health and Safety reasons this couldn’t be given to me. I wonder if I asked for a cup of tea with the teabag on the side if they would have had the same reservations? In fairness, our waiter was very apologetic and offered to do it for us! I politely accepted his offer. On his return he told us that he had sterilised the dummy and had dipped it in cold water so it wouldn’t burn my child! Obviously this dummy was now useless! At this point, I was at the end of my tether! I just wanted to get on the plane.

So this is my plea to airports – I’m not asking for special treatment, I’m not asking for less checks. What I am asking for is perhaps a little more efficiency, a bit more compassion and  a little more common sense!