When parents who never get a week of vacation suddenly have several nights to themselves, analysis paralysis can set in. What to do? Where to go? Sightsee or relax? So many options!
Keith and I found ourselves in this situation two years ago, when we unexpectedly had a window of time to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. Henry’s needs came first. Once his care was squared away, we had to pick a location.
We wanted delicious food. We wanted connection. We did not want to make decisions. We did not want to tour. We did not want to shop. We needed something simple but not easy to find — deep rest. We chose Zoetry Villa Rolandi on Isla Mujeres, a small island off the coast of Cancun. As a matter of fact, we chose it again this year for the same reasons.
In hopes I can help parents in a similar situation – prolonged exhaustion and decision fatigue – I’m sharing here how we came to our decision to stay at Villa Rolandi.
How we chose our resort
1. Travel time. For various reasons, we could not stay a full week. We knew we wanted to maximize our relaxation time, which meant
– no more than one layover,
– not driving more than 45 minutes from the airport to the hotel,
– and not changing hotels.
From where we live, Cancun requires one layover. Once on the ground, it is a short drive to the private boat that takes us to Isla Mujeres.
2. Activities. We wanted the opportunity for light exercise if we wished, but mostly we wanted to talk and read. We did not want
– loud music,
– dance clubs,
– vendors coming on the property,
– or kids camps.
On our first trip, we enjoyed paddle boarding each day and also riding bikes one day. We also had spa treatments. On this trip we used the paddle boards for maybe half an hour. Yoga and water aerobics are provided every morning for those who wish to participate.
3. Service. We wanted a small resort with excellent, though not invasive, service. We find the staff friendly, warm and hospitable. They will go out of their way to serve you, but they will not intrude on your conversations or hound you to try different activities or drinks.
4. All-Inclusive. This goes back to making decisions. We liked paying one price and knowing we wouldn’t need to make choices once we arrived. Chocolate cake or banana ice cream? Try both! (Spa treatments are not included, just FYI.)
5. Food. We like to eat well. We do not like mediocre hamburgers and fries for every meal. We do not love buffets, though they have their time and place (like meeting Mickey at Disney). This resort fit our bill.
How will you choose?
Our needs may not be your needs, and our needs today may not be our needs next year. The resort served our purposes in ways others did not for this type of vacation. Other vacations will serve different purposes. Decide what kind of vacation you need now.
What is restful for you? What connects you and your spouse? I know a couple who makes time for ballroom dancing on their vacations. Maybe you enjoy hiking or sailing. Maybe you want sight-seeing mixed in with lounging by the pool.
How much time do you have? Do you want to travel by car, plane, boat, train, or a combination?
What would make your trip unpleasant? While we can’t plan for unexpected problems, we can rule out certain environments or resort characteristics.
Finally, I suggest using a travel agent. Yes, even in a world with Trip Advisor, a good agent can be worth his weight in gold and sometimes can even secure lower prices, all at no additional cost to you.