A Christmas Day surprise for Frank, Danny and Clodagh and boy what a surprise it was!
We travelled over the Easter Holidays going direct from Dublin to JFK with Delta Airlines who offer a very friendly and comfortable service.
We were met by a limo to take us to our hotel (another surprise and to see their faces...it was priceless).
We had 4 nights in New York and I guess if I was to change any aspect of our trip it would be to extend New York by at least a day, ideally two as it really did take the kids a couple of days to recover from jet lag. I had the four days planned as follows:
• Friday - Rockefeller Centre (top of the Rock) and Times Square, Diner for dinner • Saturday - Ground Zero, Ellis Island/Statue of Liberty and meeting friends for dinner. • Sunday - The Ride, Hire bikes Central Park, Natural History Museum, lunch at The Boathouse. • Monday - Empire State Building and shop till we drop!
Needless to say, nothing went to plan!! I knew I had to go at the kids pace and the jet lag really did knock them at the beginning of the trip. We managed to fit in Top of the Rock, 9/11 memorial, Central Park (we went rowing on the lake and had the best of fun), Hop-on hop-off bus which I would highly recommend with or without kids, very informative and entertaining.
I had not planned to do the outlets but all the boys wanted were shoes and sports gear so we made a last-minute decision to include Woodbury Common to the agenda in lieu of Macy's. It's was a good decision, we got excellent value. We did this on our last day as it was a Monday and the shops were relatively quiet.
We arrived back at the hotel around 6pm and finished off our stay in the Big Apple in style by visiting Times Square by night and heading up to the top of the Empire State Building close to midnight. New York is spectacular by night and the queues were minimal. Ellis Island will have to wait!
We then flew onwards to the Caribbean Island of Dominican Republic for a 12 night stay in the beautiful 5 Star All Inclusive resort, Now Larimar Beach Resort and Spa. We had 2 inter-connecting Deluxe Rooms and they were so spacious we could have fit into one room (at a squeeze).
This resort has something for everyone. We were lucky to have been upgraded to the preferred club and so we had exclusive lounges, restaurants, pool areas and a dedicated section on the beach with waiter service. We were truly spoilt.
My youngest, Clodagh went to the Explorers Club quite a bit and this kids club ran from 9:30am - 9pm everyday with endless activities and facilities including outdoor cinema nights, camping on the beach, bingo, talent shows, mini-disco and lots lots more.
There is plenty for the older kids too including beach and pool volley ball, play station, pool tables, giant chess board, zumba, archery, yoga etc. There is also a Core Zone for teenagers with plenty going on. The beach was without a doubt one of the best I have ever seen and the endless array of water sports kept us busy with complimentary kayaks, paddle boards, sailing boats and snorkelling. You can also book scuba diving courses, parasailing, banana boats and speed boat trips. Plenty of room to haggle for the best value.
The entertainment in the evenings was excellent and very varied. There was great interaction between the staff and guests. Food was good, our favourite was the Mexican Restaurant and Castaways Restaurant down by the beach.
Whether you are travelling with a family, as a couple or a group this resort has something for everyone. A truly memorable trip for me and my family and I think we might head East for our next big holiday so watch this space…