11 July 2017

Feature: Wish You Were Here!

Travelling together, as a family – making memories and putting pins in the map

First up – Mexico, on Boxing day, with a 5-month-old and a 4-year-old on a 7am flight!

An amazingly thoughtful surprise 30th birthday present from my then fiancée and now husband Mr. Rich seemed ambitious but doable. Skip forward to 7pm Christmas day – slightly drunk, with 2 over excited children, 12 family members still playing charades in the front room, and a 14 lb turkey carcass to get rid of, I am packing and losing my holy shit – where are the passports again?? (More on passport fails later this year – it will be worth the wait.)

After no actual sleep, we set of at some ungodly time to Heathrow. An overpriced and underwhelming breakfast, £200 in duty free and some booze to ease the pain and all seems very chilled…
Ted (5 months) has 14 baby gros, 22 nappies, 4 packets of baby wipes, 11 dummies – Beth (4 years old) has an iPad and a packet of Haribo star mix!

Let me share a few points on travelling long or short distances on a plane with an infant:

  • ·   They are on your lap, arm, shoulder, head for the WHOLE journey
  • ·   If they fall asleep on you make sure you don’t drink a drop so you don’t need to pee
  • ·   The drop-down baby changing hatch on a plane is the size of an envelope – good luck with that
  • ·   Changing a baby on a plane is like trying to get an octopus into a string vest
  • ·   No amount of free wine makes any of this better!

The 2-hour delay on the run way while they fixed the plane was another win – I take back what I said about the free wine! Luckily Ted slept for most of the 10-hour flight – which was a welcome break from his home routine of sleep for 15 minutes’ stay awake for 6 hours – on repeat!

Exhausted and cranky we checked in to the Riu Playa del Carmen

The hotel and the chain itself were utterly amazing – the level of service was fantastic and the choice of food and drinks were incredible. The all-inclusive package really was all inclusive and we never spent a dollar. The staff in the restaurant were attentive and friendly, even though they began to draw straws in the morning to see who would collect Ted’s 8 bottles to be sterilized and filled with fresh boiling water!

The food was superb at every meal in the main restaurant and although there was the option to pre-book in some of the smaller restaurants for dinner you had to be up and at reception for this before 7am each morning (not really an issue for us) to book. I need to point out that this was like no other buffet restaurant in a hotel that I have ever experienced. A meat station where they hand cut Argentinian beef steaks and grilled then on an open fire .10-foot-high wall of fresh fruit being chopped into fruit salad. A dessert bar that would make your back teeth ache.

One evening a chef used a chainsaw to carve a boat out of a block of ice, then got inside it to make handmade sushi for the rest of the evening –Beth was in heaven as this is her absolute favourite dish. She got her money’s worth that evening.

Breakfast was also a joy – a mimosa and bloody Mary station at the entrance to the restaurant each morning and a 2ft marble slab of smoked salmon is the only way to start your day - I think!

Popcorn machines were scattered around the resort as well as all day ice-cream for the children. When ordering any drinks or cocktails we were told by a fellow traveller to ask for the named premium brand spirits and when ordering wine to pick from the extensive list. This meant that you never got the house spirits and it was all part of your all-inclusive. This was another win for me as I am a massive drinks snob. We even had the bar man take our insomniac baby for a spin around the block so we could enjoy 4.5 minutes of cocktail time together

We can thoroughly recommend the Riu hotel chain for service, attention to detail, value for money and quality. In hindsight, we probably wouldn’t have travelled that far with a baby but having your 30th birthday on NYE means you must chase that Winter sun. The only down side would be that we are always a little reluctant to add a pin to Mexico on our map as we really only saw the airport (in the dark) and the hotel.

See you next month for Greece – a lovely family run hotel and how you miss the NHS in a medical emergency abroad!

Written by Fiona @trixierich


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