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Can a holiday be family-oriented AND relaxing, at the same time?

There was a time when I would have said, ‘probably not!’, but over the years, my opinion has changed somewhat.

Nowadays, I can appreciate how chaos and calm can coexist in the same 24 hours, and how the overriding experience can be ‘relaxing’ not just in spite of the contradiction, but because of it.

This wasn’t always the case, but I think with the parenting territory, down-time evolves to be measured in quality, than quantity.

Subsequently, I now only need ten minutes, and a few pages of a book by the poolside, to experience the same level of ‘zen’ that used to take a whole day, and several chapters, to achieve.

Not only this, ‘calm’ in itself has found new meaning. It’s no longer found solely in peace and quiet, but instead seeps through the pores of connection and compersion (ie. the joy felt from seeing one’s children happy.)

This explains a lot, as to why so much of what would have once stressed me out (noisy, splashy children! Sorry kids!), is now a source of soul-ease.

Of course, it goes without saying that much of the above, has context as a caveat. The same mayhem that is a tonic by the poolside, would test my nerves to the limit in the airport.

Context… is key, and it certainly helped that the Anantara Resort - home to our most recent 'relaxing family getaway' - has been designed with both the needs of children AND adults in mind.

For example, the children’s pool is foregrounded in a half-sun-half-shade area of luxurious cushioned daybeds, allowing parents to juxtapose vigilance…with rest.

For every adult menu, there is also a child’s equivalent.

The breakfast buffet even has a designated counter for smaller guests, complete with animal-themed serving tongs, so children can practice independence when choosing from the wide range of fruits, cereals and pastries on offer.

This, for us, was a particularly nice touch, and underscored the difference that the details can make, in allowing the family dynamic to not just adapt to a new routine, and new surroundings... but thrive because of it.

By ‘details’, I’m referencing as well (and perhaps most notably) the sheer size of the family swim-up suites, the square footage of which renders the common hotel-room problem of being under each other’s feet… obsolete.

In all, I’m inclined to think that herein lies the secret sauce to a ‘relaxing’ family holiday.

It’s not just about practicalities, or the sensory impact of service and surroundings.  Instead, it’s about how these factors combine, to make the ‘perspective’ I talked about earlier… possible.

It’s about how being immersed in a 'fortifying' environment (the fluffy slippers, the steaming waterfall shower… the morning coffee in bed!) can have aggregate gains for patience, tolerance and emotional health.

The net result, is a mindset that can not only imbue the mundane with magic and memories (the getting up, getting dressed, having becomes a pure delight!) but which also has the power to transform the stressful art of suncreaming a slippery-eel-of-a-child, into something surprisingly serene!

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