Before having children, my husband and I had one reason for continuing our jobs...vacations. We swore that when we had children we would not let such a minor setback cramp our travel style. Pff, immature morons. I love the people that think having kids won't change them. They think, "I'm not going to miss a dinner with friends because it's bed time." Or, "My kid can just nap with me while I get my nails done." I'm allowed to make fun of these people because I was one of them. (Except I never get my nails done.) Once you actually have children, you realize the complete chaos that ensues if said child doesn't get their nap, or goes to bed late. It means a miserable night for everyone, which in turn means a miserable next day for everyone. Plus, children need quality sleep and routine to allow their brains to grow. In the end, not skipping the nap is just easier on everyone.
But we so wanted our vacations. And hiking around Europe with a non-walker, just wasn't going to allow for those pesky naps. We needed a new plan, a morphed vacation that accommodated everyone. (In the end, I think it accommodated my husband best of all.) We chose an all-inclusive resort. I'm the type of person that does not consider it a vacation unless I've read every historical plaque a city has to offer. That's not really the point of an all-inclusive resort. It's more about relaxation and entertainment. You book the place and they kind of trap you there. It was going to take being trapped to slow me down.
So, my sister called me in the middle of the night, mind you I had to get up at 5:30 am to get ready as a teacher and she did not work. So she called me in the middle of the night. She told me about some fabulous island called St. Lucia and some fabulous resort called Coconut Bay and how it was on sale. I don't remember much, but apparently I gave her my credit card info and she booked it.
Now she has two children and I the one baby. She chose Coconut Bay because they are one of very few resorts having a kid's club that allows small children. Most won't allow them until age three or four. This was our first experience with an all-inclusive resort and it did not disappoint.
Coconut Bay has two sides to the resort. Splash, the family-friendly section, and Harmony, the adults-only side. We, of course, stayed on the Splash side. This side also housed Cocoland, the kid's club. They have an itinerary of activities planned for little ones occurring throughout the day. Parents are allowed to drop off and and pick up their children whenever they want. At first we swore we would not leave our children with strangers on an island, but the security measures and staff make you extremely comfortable entrusting them with your little ones. Plus, the kids seemed to like being there more than with us. So, we did leave them a few times.
Our rooms were on the ground floor. Annoying at first thought, but actually the best deal they could offer, which is funny because they charge more for the upper floor's "ocean view." However, on the ground floor, your sliding glass door opens straight onto the lawn where the resort hosts many of their events. We were also only a few steps from the pool. When you are traveling with a bunch of children, easy access to your room is a life-saver. We never had to tote wet swim gear up and down steps or elevators. It was amazing!
The resort has a water park that includes a slide and a lazy river. They also have multiple other pools including one that has a kid's swim up bar where they can order virgin cocktails. They also have paintball facilities and multiple organized events occurring throughout the day. At night, the resort puts on shows with a Caribbean or western flare depending on the night.
Cocoland has a kid's splash area as well. They also have a kid-sized zip line and petting zoo full of rescued animals that refuse to leave the luxury of the property.
The food was amazing and there were plenty of options, even for Cohen, our picky eater. The resort houses a cafeteria-style diner open pretty much all day, a swim-up food bar, and three reservation-required restaurants.
Through the resort, you can book off-site excursions. We booked a zip-lining through the rain forest excursion that was awe-inspiring. (Watch out for spiders the size of your face though.)
Now don't get me wrong, the resort is no Rome or Maui, but if you are looking for a relaxing way to chill and regroup with your family, especially if you have really little ones, I can think of no better place to spend a moderately-priced vacation than Coconut Bay in St. Lucia. Grab your swimsuit, book the resort, and explore LIFE!