When I post this, it will be Thanksgiving and what I’m thankful for most of all is the time I get to spend with family and the people that I love. That’s why I was was thrilled when my sister, who lives in Pennsylvania, said she wanted to join me when I went to Fort Lauderdale for a conference.
My nephew is 12 months old and she hadn’t flown with him yet. I’ve been wanting her to come out to California, but she was nervous about how her busy little boy would do on a five-hour flight. The 2 and a half hour flight to South Florida seemed less daunting (plus the added benefit of turquoise water and beach time), so she agreed to meet up. We asked our mom to come along and she jumped at the chance to spend time with her little love.
To make the trip easier on baby (and mom!), we looked for a few things when deciding where to stay:
- Walking distance from the beach
- A good pool, for quick swim breaks
- Suite rooms–kitchenette for cooking meals together, and a door to give Adam some privacy when he went to sleep.
After exploring the options, we booked four nights at the Atlantic Hotel and Spa, an oceanfront hotel with everything we needed for baby boy plus a little luxury for us. The photos of the pool were what did it for me. [Here’s my shot…]
We got to the hotel mid-morning before check-in time so we had to wait a bit for our room to be ready. We hung out in the colorful lobby. The front desk staff doted on Adam–who was, by the way, a champ on his first flight! He slept most of the time and didn’t cry once.
When we finally got up to our room, we were stunned by the size. We had booked a queen suite but didn’t realize it would be quite as large as it was. It had a large open floor plan including a living area, two queen beds, a separate full-size kitchen, and one and a half bathrooms.
But the best part, was right outside.
Our balcony had a wonderful view of the ocean. We at breakfast out here each morning and I even dragged myself up a few times to take pictures at sunrise.
The (Really Fun) Loaner Crib
When I reserved the room, I confirmed that the hotel had a crib that we could borrow. I don’t know who was more excited to find it had wheels…
The room we were in was a slightly different floor plan than the hotel’s suites. For the added square footage, we gave up a separated walled bedroom. Luckily, the full bathroom was big enough to double as a nursery.
“What is this nap-time you speak of?”
We bought groceries that first afternoon and cooked almost all our meals back at the hotel. It was such a comfortable place to hang out and reconnect, we actually had trouble leaving it.
Being just steps from the beach was wonderful, though except for the first sunny day, we didn’t have the best weather. It was overcast and rained off and on, typical in the fall. The one time we tried to go swimming at the beach, it was a bit too windy and the water too choppy for a toddler and grandma.
But it’s always fun to play in the sand…
Instead of the beach, we spent a lot of time at the pool, enjoying moments like this…
On the last day together, we walked two blocks to The Bonnett House Museum & Gardens. This 35-acre historic estate was built in 1920 by Frederic Clay Bartlett, a wealthy Chicago lawyer. For more than seventy years, he and his wife Helen Louise Birch lived on the property, expanding it and growing lavish gardens. We did one of their home tours, and saw the vibrant home, gardens, and artwork–both Frederic and Helen were skilled artists and the tour takes you through their collections and a gallery of their work.
We were worried about how Adam would do on the home tour, but he was quiet and patient as we walked around the home learning about the history–the best part was the guided golf cart tour of the gardens, wild mangroves, and birds.
On our last night together, it was raining pretty hard, so we opted to celebrate the end of our trip with dessert and drinks at the hotel restaurant, Beauty and the Feast. We sat outside on the patio and talked for a while. I don’t get to see my sister often, and it was great to get this time to be together.
The following morning, I would head to my conference and Carla and baby boy were heading home in time to celebrate his first Halloween. We were both so grateful for the time we got to spend together and everything The Atlantic did to make making baby’s first beach vacation amazing.
And guess what–Adam was such a great traveler, my sister has promised to come out to California to visit us next summer! That was definitely the best end to our trip.
The Atlantic Hotel gave us a media discount on our stay. All opinions and photos are my own. My friend Elaine was staying at the Atlantic Hotel at the same time as us as part of a pre-conference culinary tour. Here is her review.