Expecting a baby? Did you know there’s such a thing as a babymoon?
In terms of the pregnancy itself, babymoons usually refer to the starry-eyed few days after a baby is born. In travel, however, we’re talking a final time-out together before the new arrival.
A babymoon is typically a short break giving parents-to-be one last dose of us-time before baby. This is your chance to enjoy a romantic meal, sink into a spa treatment, go for a brisk country walk or curl up with a good book… because it could be some time before you get to do them again!
The Spa Break: Hayfield Manor, Cork
Hayfield Manor, from Ireland’s Blue Book, has a one-night luxury package for parents-to-be.
It’s based around a series of spa treatments, beginning with a seated head, neck and shoulder massage, followed by an Aroma Pure Taster Facial, suited to your specific skincare needs. A leg massage and an OPI Luxury Pedicure follow, before a refreshing desert in the relaxation room. Guests can take home a 100ml Japanese Camellia Oil, designed specifically for skin during and after pregnancy.
Complete your break with a four-course dinner in Perrotts Garden Bistro, where the chef has prepared a nutritious meal that is safe and healthy during pregnancy for both mom and baby. Overnight is in a luxurious manor room, where you’ll retire to find a turndown gift of an aromatherapy pillow spray and eye mask, and awaken to a full Irish Breakfast in the morning.
When you leave, the hotel has a little souvenir gift to celebrate baby’s first hotel experience, as well as a collection of Elemis essentials to take with you to hospital…
Details: hayfieldmanor.ie; from €247pp.
Country Escape: The Cotswolds
Barnsley House is an 18-room luxury hotel that ticks all of the babymoon boxes.
It dates from 1697, but has been converted into a luxe hotel complete with spa, village pub and famous gardens including a lazy Laburnum Walk. It’s become something of a go-to getaway for celebs with Cotswolds homes – including Liz Hurley and Kate Moss.
A maternity massage “using specific prenatal techniques to improve circulation and lymph flow and alleviate tired muscles” costs £75/€90.
The Cotswolds are a 100-mile stretch of English countryside, extending from north of Bristol and Bath to Shakespeare country. They’re second only to the Lake District in terms of pretty rural escapes in the UK – with loads of walking paths, delicious honey-coloured villages like Chipping Camden. Cheltenham is right on the doorstep too, with a certain festival approaching (March 11-14)…
Details: barnsleyhouse.com; from £145/€177pp.
The City Escape: Carton House, Co. Kildare
Carton House is famous for hosting sporting teams – Real Madrid and the Irish rugby squad have stayed – but it does a pretty impressive line in food, golf and spa treatments too.
Its babymoon package bundles B&B with dinner in the Linden Tree restaurant, free access to the leisure facilities and one activity per person. That could be a round of golf on either of its courses – The O’Meara or The Montgomerie – or an hour’s pampering Aveda Spa treatment, for example. The expectant mothers’ massage is “a deeply nurturing massage specifically designed for this special time” zapping specific aches and tensions with the use of supporting cushions throughout.
It says: “Carton House’s oil blends will condition and rejuvenate body tone while nourishing areas where the skin is most stretched. Mums will emerge feeling indulgently pampered and floating on air.”
Details: cartonhouse.com; from €315 per couple (€157.50pp)
The blow-out: Mustique Island, St. Vincent & Grenadines
This 1,400-acre island is where Kate and William spent some private time before the arrival of their baby, and Mick Jagger is a regular too.
Basically the island is a little paradise unto itself – with villas scattered around, lots of beaches, sailing and snorkelling options, horse-riding on the beach, a tennis club and top-notch spa. Guests arrive by jetting into St Lucia and Barbados and taking private charters to the island’s tiny airstrip from there.
Alas, villas start at $5,000 dollars per week!
The Cliff House Hotel
The Cliff House Hotel, a five star holiday hideaway in West Waterford, bills itself as “the perfect place for you to enjoy one last final getaway with your significant other before the pitter-patter of tiny feet”.
One night’s accommodation in a Deluxe Seaview room and dinner in The Bar Restaurant (tailored to suit any special dietary requirements mum-to-be might have) form the basis of a babymoon package that also includes a mother-to-be Anne Semonin Pregnancy Glow Boost Facial (a 55 minute rehydrating and soothing treatment for hormonal unbalanced skins).
The Cliff House suggests itself as the perfect spot for baby’s first holiday: “a place where they can awaken the senses with the outdoors, without even having to leave the property”. If the sea air and wilderness feel don’t appeal, you can always avail of a nice warm pool for baby’s first swim…
Details: cliffhousehotel.com; from €350 per couple (midweek).
NB: Flying while pregnant…
It is generally considered safe to fly in the first and second trimesters – up to around 28-32 weeks.
Different airlines have different policies (due to risk of premature labour) – Aer Lingus, for example, allows travel on all routes up to 28 weeks with a doctor’s written permission, travel from weeks 28-33 with a special form, but no travel over 36 weeks. The rules are slightlymore lenient for UK routes.
Ryanair does not carry expectant mothers after 32 weeks.