Planning the perfect family vacation
If you've been following me on Instagram, you will know that I just got back from a two week vacation in Greece. What you might not know, is that I was the master organizer behind a two week trip for 15 people to celebrate my father's 70th birthday. It was a year and a half in the making. I am relieved to let you all know that it was a trip of a lifetime and exceeded everyone's expectations. Phew! To say I was a little stressed prior to departure is an under statement. My entire family were counting on me and I just hoped that my countless hours online researching every possible option paid off. Thankfully it did! This was the view of sunset from our home away from home! Not bad hey?!
Planning a vacation for three generations isn't easy. Everyone has different needs and wants. My father wanted to eat and drink well and relax. My sisters and I wanted nearby activities that would keep our children entertained and on-site childcare would be an added bonus. And the kids? An on-site pool and hot tub would be a dream come true. I managed to find all of this and more.
Thankfully, after hours of online searching I came across the London based Simpson Travel company. They specialize in luxury villas, apartments and family hotels in beautiful locations. I was amazed to find that they have two family friendly holiday options to choose from both of which are located in Greece. These small 'resorts' (and I use that word very loosely) have an on-site creche run by British certified nannies (a day care facility as we would call it in the US), family friendly restaurant (that will even deliver food to your apartment for no additional charge), family friendly pools (splash pool with shade covering in addition to a main pool) and apartments that are stocked with family friendly items such as stair gates, potty, child silverware, plates, cups and bowls, bottle warmer, crib, high chair and a child themed room with child size beds and colorful lights and bed coverings. It was so lovely to arrive and have everything we needed for our kids. It made packing a lot easier!
The first week we stayed at the family resort called Mousses on the island of Lefkada. Each family had their own apartment so we could all enjoy some time together as a family. A nice bonus which allows for some quiet time and time to recharge. As you can imagine, the pool was a huge hit with the kids and they loved the on-site ice cream. It was hard to leave the resort. But when we did we were rewarded with amazing views, deserted beaches and the turquoise clear waters of Greece. One of my favorite places was a beach called Kasthima - lounge chairs and umbrellas line the beach and for the small price of a coffee you can use the chairs and enjoy the shade. Perfect! For lunch we walked up to the restaurant and settled into the comfy seats while the kids played in the pool. The five euro Greek salads were huge and the kids feasted on french fries and hamburgers when they were finished in the pool. I could get used to beach life in Greece!
For the second week, we drove onto mainland Greece (Lefkada isn't technically an island as it is connected to the mainland) and took a deserted road to a tiny fishing village called Sivota located on the west coast. We rented two, three bedroom luxury homes perched up high on a hillside overlooking the water. The views were incredible! If we needed anything, Simpson travel were only a call away. For once, it was wonderful to be able to kick back and relax and let someone else handle the logistics and take care of us (i.e. bringing us French coffee presses at 8pm at night so we could have coffee the next morning, handling the alarm that went off unexpectedly and providing us with local information on boat trips and what to do and see!). Sometimes even an event planner needs to take a break!
It's hard for me to let go of control, but I realized that it's possible when you have complete faith in the person you handing over the control too! It was a good reminder that this is how I want my brides to feel on their big day. If they trust me, they won't worry about a thing.