With two toddlers and a full-time job, I frequently feel like my days (and nights) are an endurance test. Sometimes—like when I’m changing the diaper of one squirming child as the other is getting into my makeup and our dinner is in danger of burning—I fantasise about a world in which all I have to do is have fun with my kids. No laundry, no grocery shopping, no packing lunches and no stress.
At Bluefields Bay Villas in Jamaica, I got the chance to live my dream. For six days, five nights, my family and I stayed in a luxurious private seaside villa with our own pool and access to a wide range of enjoyable activities. We had a personal nanny, a butler, a chauffeur, our own gourmet chef, and a housekeeper. We didn’t even have to unpack our bags!
The experience began with a greeting by our personal staff. They were all waiting for us in front of our villa with welcome drinks and smiles. Much to my surprise, our one-year-old son and two-year-old daughter seemed to forget their aversion to new people and were happily scooped up by the housekeeper and nanny. This left my husband and I free to nibble on the papaya spears in our bubbly and explore.
At Bluefields Bay, there are six private villas to choose from. We stayed at the six-bedroom Mullion Cove with its antique mahogany armoires and four-poster beds, private gazebo jutting out into the sea, and an outdoor bathtub nestled under the dappled shade of banana leaves. Being not just luxurious, but also unique, Bluefields Bay Villas is the type of place that attracts the most discriminating clientele. Mullion Cove was once the vacation place of choice for Tina Turner, while Justin Trudeau and his family once stayed at The Hermitage, the Bluefields Bay villa that boasts an octagon-shaped swimming pool with a breathtaking ocean view.
As day after day slid by at Bluefields, I was tempted to do nothing but enjoy each perfectly placed hammock, chaise lounge, chair, and sofa. Truth be told, I did frequently give in to that temptation, but my family and I also explored and played and feasted.
One day, we took the kids (along with our very helpful nanny) to a local kindergarten for children under six. It was a cheerful yellow school surrounded by lush fields and cute goats. As a way to give back to the wonderful, warm Bluefields community, we brought a gift of school supplies with us from Canada, and our daughter loved connecting with the Jamaican children who weren’t much older than her.
On other occasions, my husband and I left the kids with the nanny and escaped—just the two of us—to sample rum at Appleton Estate; birdwatch with knowledgeable local guides; and paddleboard on the placid leeward sea. Other possible watery activities at Bluefields—besides just hanging out at your own private beach—include snorkelling, deep-sea fishing, and taking a sunset cruise on a boat with tropical appetizers served by your butler.
Bluefields Bay Villas is an all-inclusive resort, but unlike other all-inclusives, it offers you a vacation that’s tailored specifically to you and your family. This comes through in so many ways. The nanny service, for instance, is personalized. In the case of my family, I was most comfortable with having a woman helping us, but if we had older boys, say, the resort would have offered us the option of having a young man be our nanny—someone who could horse around with the boys but also keep them safe. And for families who are travelling with elderly relatives, Bluefields also provides elder care.
As for food, the chefs at Bluefields can satisfy any palate. Their speciality is preparing sophisticated Jamaican fusion cuisine that marries local Jamaican ingredients and flavours with innovative cooking techniques from across the globe. But they’re also happy to whip up classic kiddie favourites, like chicken fingers and hand-cut fries. It’s that kind of detail that makes Bluefields such a special destination for families.
Now, in Canada, the winter cold is setting in and I’m once again feeling overwhelmed by my to-do list. If you see me with a faraway look in my eyes, I’m probably thinking about Bluefields and what it was like to laze away the day—doing nothing except watch the changing colours of the sea and sky.