I found the perfect babymoon destination – Mykonos
By Helen Wright
Honeymoons get all the attention but I was as surprised as anyone to discover that Babymoons are actually a far more stressful trip to plan. Let me break it down for you: you’re pregnant – which, along with your unborn baby, carries with it a lot of extra baggage. You don’t want to fly too far and you definitely want to be somewhere the hospital isn’t a million miles away down a mountain or via a boat. Budget airlines are a bit of a stress because you don’t know how big your belly will be for the tiny seats or whether you’ll get wedged between two sleeping strangers and won’t be able to escape to the loo every ten mins. Plus, with all that baby gear you need to buy, budget could be an issue too. Since a ‘babymoon’ isn’t a real thing, searching for the best babymoon destinations to visit from the UK wasn’t really helping and I genuinely didn’t know where to start.
For me, the real pressure was that this could potentially be the most special holiday Simon and I would have as a couple. The last time it would be just him and me against the world, taking on a new adventure, exploring a new place. It was the last month I could fly as I was nearing my third trimester with my first baby. After that it was going to be unchartered territory for holidays and every other aspect of our lives. That, to me, is why this holiday was so important. People actually asked me ‘what is a babymoon?’ – and, sure, it’s a made up concept – but in reality it’s exactly what it says on the tin; a honeymoon for your former existence and a celebration of your next, most epic, adventure.
how to find the best babymoon destinations in Europe
Being a travel blogger, planning every stage of our trips is usually my favourite part of the holiday but this time I just wanted to flop and drop. My goal was to find a good babymoon destination in Europe. A nice resort, with a pool in the sun and a half decent restaurant would do nicely. But that’s when I hit my first hurdle. It may sound ridiculous as I have travelled around the world numerous times but, believe it or not, I had never booked a package deal before! And (remember I was six months pregnant so probably more irritable than usual) I found it incredibly frustrating. Deals that looked good kept turning out to be not as good as they seemed. Resorts that appeared gorgeous were coming under criticism online for things I knew would bother me. I just wanted a stress-free holiday without loads of hidden extras that wasn’t going to cost the world (at this point I’d bought two fancy dress costumes for my baby and nothing useful, so I needed to save some cash for Mothercare).
The big deal breaker for me were reviews saying there was a lack of sun loungers at the resorts. Even writing this now I sound dramatic but I just wanted to ensure I had a bed and an umbrella to sit under and read my book. I didn’t want to be stuck in the sun or, worse, indoors. I couldn’t face having to get up early in order to wrestle one from an over-eager tourist. The whole experience made me want to give up and just book a BnB in Blackpool for the weekend.
Mercifully, a friend came to my rescue recommending Small Luxury Hotels Of The World, a brand I had seen before but never fully registered. She’d booked with them once and is now a loyal customer and I can see why. Small Luxury Hotels Of The World are a collection of luxury, independent hotels and resorts in over 80 countries around the world. Personally, I’m rarely a fan of huge resorts and so the idea of staying somewhere with more of a boutique feel and a personal touch greatly appealed.
Resorts within the brand do vary in price (but there are some VERY good deals to be had). On finding babymoon destinations, the overriding luxury with this brand was the peace of mind that I was going to arrive at a quality hotel that fulfilled all my needs and not an impersonal conglomerate only interested in filling rooms. Going back to budget considerations and not wanting to splash all your cash before the baby comes, I have to say I do feel passionately that this holiday should be a special one. There will always be things to buy for your new life but if you have a few extra pounds to throw at your holiday, you absolutely should. Even if, post-baby, you leave your little angel with granny and escape to Europe for the weekend, you will never feel as free-spirited and carefree as you do now – so take the chance to embrace it.
Where we stayed
Since we weren’t fussy about destination (other than a short haul flight to somewhere warm) we had a little browse on Small Luxury Hotels Of The World’s website and stumbled across three or four hotels on the gorgeous Greek island of Mykonos. I had limited knowledge of Mykonos but with its cute white buildings and cobbled streets, I had always wanted to go. So, we stuck a pin in the map, picked a resort at random and got very, very lucky.
The Casa Del Mar, Mykonos is a collection of six luxury villas with the added benefit of a 24-hour reception and a call-and-request butler service. The small and stylish resort is the ideal cross between hotel and holiday home, around three miles from Mykonos Town. Our villa (the Family and Friends Seaside Villa) was ridiculous! It was a beautiful white stone cottage with three bedrooms, three shower rooms and a huge kitchen and living space. Outside, an enormous balcony opened up to views over the Aegean sea. It was far too big for us but it was the end of the season and since it was available, we were lucky enough to get an upgrade!
I couldn’t believe my eyes when we checked in. It was everything I wanted for this trip and even more than I could have imagined. Within ten minutes of arriving I had already planned a return visit with all our friends and the baby!
Room with a view
The main bedroom had patio doors that opened onto the balcony and sea views. The villa was fully air conditioned but the cool limestone walls kept the place pretty cool anyway. If I wasn’t six months pregnant I probably wouldn’t have used the air con at all. You could take in the spectacular view from bed and I took full advantage of the opportunity to have a lay in!
The villa had a huge living space with a solid oak table, white limestone floors and a kitchen that looked over the open-plan room. Glass windows along the full front of the villa offered extra light. Some villas (at a higher price point) had their own private plunge pools but with the hotel pool and the beach on our doorstep we didn’t feel like we were missing out.
The entrance was also one of my favourite parts of the villa with Mykonos’ signature pink bougainvillea flowers over the doorway. It didn’t take me long to decide this was my dream house. Whether it be sunset or first thing in the morning, the view was spectacular.
The perfect babymoon destination!
Casa del Mar Mykonos review
As well as the 24-hour reception and security, the hotel had a modern gym, indoor swimming pool and private beach. You are given a mobile phone for use during your stay and can contact resort staff at any time on speed dial. If you are visiting with a car, there was also free parking with one space per villa.
Lunch and dinner can be ordered to the room (breakfast is included and is brought up by the butler at a time of your choice). I mean, I’ve stayed in some fancy hotels in my time but this really did feel like a five star service! Every morning we enjoyed breakfast out on the breezy balcony in our own private space – it was like a dream.
Dinner can’t be ordered from the hotel but they had so many recommendations for us, including pizza, giros and Chinese food. We opted to take a short taxi ride into the beach area of Ornos for dinner on a few nights. We really liked this area. Less than ten minutes from the villa and more chilled out and less packed than Mykonos Town, there is a choice of restaurants serving delicious and freshly cooked seafood as well as traditional Greek dishes. If you do plan on cooking in the villa there is also a supermarket here (slightly expensive) but handy for supplies.
The hotel has its own private beach in Glyfadi bay, which is small but perfectly sized for the resort and no, we never had to fight anyone for an umbrella. You can order drinks and food to the beach from your villa phone so you can bed down and not move all day – exactly what the doctor ordered!
Simon had read on the hotel website that they also organise a movie on the beach with an outdoor screen and projector. At first, we thought this was something that happened at regular times but we realized after we enquired about the service that they were actually organising our own private screening. They even asked us what film we wanted to watch and downloaded it especially for us. We picked ‘Three Men and a Baby’ – an 80s classic but it seemed fitting giving our circumstance!
As we snuggled down on bean bags on the beach facing out to sea, the hotel ordered us some pizza from the local takeaway and even took delivery of the food, bringing it down to the beach for us. The level of service here is one of a kind – they had thought of everything.
As much as I was very much enjoying lazing around and being served food and drinks of my choice, the traveller in me was really keen to explore Mykonos Town so after a few days we put on proper clothes and ventured back into the real world.
Mykonos is beautiful. Not many places live up to their Instagram representations but this did; perhaps even more so. The winding streets are a never-ending maze of restaurants, boutiques, tourist shops and bars. Don’t be surprised if you take three different turns but still end up passing the same place. I found it quite funny as we kept passing people who were doing exactly the same. But, ultimately it doesn’t matter. Mykonos Town isn’t huge so if you end up in cute alleyway groundhog day, don’t worry. Wandering around and soaking up the atmosphere is the best way to experience the town.
A word of warning: it may be worth checking out when the huge cruise ships are docking in Mykonos harbor. On our second day wandering around Mykonos Town, we were there when a giant NCL ocean liner docked in port and within the hour, the whole place was packed wall-to-wall with tourists from the ship. Hardly recognisable from the enchanting passageways we had enjoyed before. We escaped back to the sanctuary of our villa as soon as possible.
FOOD IN MYKONOS
Another reason I had put off going to Mykonos were the rumours I’d heard that it was an expensive destination. Of course, fancy seafront restaurants charge a premium but I found that if you looked around, and with the right research, it was possible to find good quality budget restaurants in Mykonos Town that didn’t break the bank. We didn’t find drinks overly pricey either. Perhaps we just got lucky! We had received a few recommendations from friends before coming to Mykonos (I think it’s just one of those places where someone knows someone who’s been). To be honest, the winding meandering streets made directions difficult and so we just ended up at places that took our fancy.
On the first evening in Mykonos Town we ate at Andriana’s Tavern, a fish restaurant in Goumenio Square. This small eatery and bar is opposite a more famous restaurant, Familia Omerta di Cucina, which is known for it’s picturesque bougainvillea draped across the trellis. It’s against my nature to eat at the most popular place in town so we opted for its equally quaint neighbour and enjoyed some really nice food and a friendly service. As a quick review of Andriana’s Tavern, Mykonos, we had the Horiatiki salad with local tomatoes, peppers, feta cheese and cucumber, which was delicious and the shrimp saganaki – something I had never tried before. It was great and the candlelit restaurant was cosy, with a breezy terrace.
The following day we sampled Lucky Fish, also in Mykonos Town, which I can give an equally positive review. We were actually passing by and got a glimpse of another diner’s food and it was enough to lure us in. Here, the seafood Orzo was the dish we remembered.
Another top spot in Mykonos is the much talked about Kiki’s Tavern at Agios Sostis Beach. This is a very cute cafe on the edge of a cliff that cooks everything from its menu in a traditional Greek way with no electricity. The restaurant overlooks a secluded cove, around 25 minutes from Mykonos Town by taxi. There was a small line to get in but, despite my initial reservations, the food and setting was delicious. Considering Kiki’s Tavern features on just about every blog and review about Mykonos, I did wonder if it would be worth the hype but it was actually a lovely spot. The food was reasonably priced too with chargrilled octopus salad only 15 Euro and Fresh Sea Bass and rice, 20 Euro.
WATCHING THE SUNSET IN MYKONOS TOWN
Like all respectable coastal destinations, there are key spots to watch the sunset in Mykonos Town. I’m sure it’s probably on every guide to Mykonos you’ve ever read but we got a seat at the Sunset Taverna Bar and, true to its name, it was perfect for sunset as well as cocktails and people-watching. Mykonos is built on an incline and so I was just grateful for the sit down. We stayed a bit longer than we expected. It’s a very touristy bar but the service was prompt (you can order food too), drinks were ice cold and views second to none so we just hung out enjoying the vibe.
What to do in Mykonos
Despite my heavily pregnant status, we explored the whole of Mykonos Town (including a LOT of steps) but it was worth it to get the best views. We took it slow and I was impressed with how much ground we actually covered to be honest. The highest point we reached was by the Petasos Town Hotel and got this fab view over Mykonos harbour.
Another great place to wander is the area around the Mykonos Windmills that overlook the harbour of Alefkandra. This area is often referred to by locals as ‘Chora’. These ancient windmills, as well as others dotted around the island, have been here since the 16th century and are no longer in operation but one now houses a small but interesting museum.
Remembering we were on a babymoon, I really felt that as well as the stunning views, cute streets and Instagram-worthy spots, Mykonos also felt very romantic. It was our last overseas trip before becoming parents and the week we spent here was really special. Because we loved it so much, we actually decided to extend our trip for an extra two days – how extravagant! (I think I may have pulled the ‘pregnancy card’ here). On booking.com we just found a cute, budget-friendly hotel in Mykonos town for a couple of days and it turned out to be another fab decision!
The Petasos Town Hotel, a really small hotel, is hidden in a residential area along the winding alleyways of Mykonos Town. Even though we had no idea at the time of booking – it’s sister hotel, The Petasos Beach Resort and Spa, is also part of the Small Luxury Hotels Of The World brand. Free of charge as part of our stay, there was a shuttle bus to this hotel, which is around 10 minutes from Mykonos Town on a peninsula of the island. Here, we were invited to enjoy exclusive use of their pool and services as well as stunning views of the bright blue waters. What an unexpected and brilliant perk. We even bumped into some friends who were actually staying at the posh hotel and, obviously we had to style it out and pretend we were staying there too…
The main deck had a gorgeous pool with sea views, spa pool, restaurant and beach bar. But the real gem was behind the hotel where there is a small private beach area and places to jump from the rocks into the water (or climb in if you are six months pregnant at the time, as I was). I left the jumping to Simon and enjoyed waiter service to my sun lounger.
A BABYMOON TO REMEMBER
A babymoon, or a holiday before you have a baby (if you prefer), is one of the loveliest things you can do as a couple. I’m not usually overly romantic, but that opportunity to relax and enjoy each other’s company before the baby comes is very precious. Choosing a babymoon destination in Europe was ideal for us. We wanted to venture a bit further than the UK for our trip and Mykonos and the Greek Islands were close enough, yet offered us the chance to explore somewhere new too. Researching your destination is key and if you do have a bit of extra cash to spend I highly recommend you do. Once you become parents, spoiling yourself can drop very low down on your list of priorities.
As for Small Luxury Hotels Of The World, I could not speak higher of my experience with them. Casa Del Mar was incredible. So different to anywhere we have ever stayed before and so friendly and welcoming in surroundings of understated luxury. I often say this about places that I love, but I am positive we will come back here – and hopefully very soon. As we were leaving, our host, Asimina, was helping us into the taxi and she said ‘now you can go home and wait for your baby’. I found that so touching and, as someone who’d flown 18 times since becoming pregnant, poignantly accurate. Her words have always stuck with me. After our week in the sun we were now ready, emotionally and physically, for our baby and we couldn’t wait.
Want more Europe inspiration?
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For more information on Casa Del Mar, Petasos Beach Resort and Small Luxury Hotels Of The World, click here. This was not a sponsored post.
Our mini adventurer!
Finn has now arrived and has already been to eight countries! For his adventures, as well as tips for travelling with a baby, follow his very own Instagram account
The first time we came to @watergatebay I had just found out I was pregnant for the first time and I couldn't think of a more perfect place to chill out and reflect on how much my life was about to change. It was before my 12-week scan so I had no idea if I was having a boy or girl or even if he/she (the little bubblenut, as we called him then) was healthy and growing well. We consider ourselves very lucky and (hate this word hate this word hate this word) blessed that he did turn out to be a strong little nut and so we got the chance to bring him back so he can see this place, which will always be special to us, for himself. (I think he loved all the cute dogs the most) @watergatebay 💕 The video from our last trip to #WatergateBay is live on our YouTube channel @passportstampsuk (LINK IN BIO) – check us out before King Finn took over ☀️⛱#finnstagram #Cornwall #LoveCornwall
Find our mote about Helen and Simon here