Friday, July 25, 2008

At Least I Can Admit It When I Am Wrong

I am writing this from the beautiful Loews Hotel in Coronado. From where I sit, I am looking over the bay, the carriers at the naval base, and have a perfect view of downtown San Diego. If I had a window on the other side, I would see the harbor and the ocean. If I had a window behind me, I would see the hills of Tijuana, Mexico.

Shamefully, I did not want to come along with Jay on his two night, most-expenses paid business jaunt and was dragged here kicking and screaming. It was my position that, when you have six kids, you no longer have the luxury of spontaneous travel and that the stress of making arrangements for them and packing and preparing the house was simply not worth the transient pleasure of a small getaway.

OK, I was wrong. I officially apologize. And I profusely thank the grandmothers and friends that have taken four of my children for the last two nights with such graciousness that I could not help but relax and enjoy myself only a few hours after our arrival.

Where are the other two children? Right here with me, and I am really enjoying having time with them both. Sam is here because I have not spent nearly enough one-on-one time with him (as I have particularly with Joey, Lindsey and Julia of late) and so I jumped at the chance to bring him along. Isabella is here because, quite honestly, she is too much trouble at 18 months to leave with anyone guilt-free! However, I must say that I have been delighting in her toddler-antics in this environment and haven't regretted for one second that she is here.

I have to take a minute and plug the Loews Hotel for being, without a doubt, the most kid-friendly hotel I have ever stayed in. They say right on their web site that they love kids and pets, but ever-skeptical me was not convinced. Anyone can say that! And since when do classy, resort-style hotels really, truly love kids and pets? However, I am now a believer! They have thought of everything.

Right when we arrived, we were given a resort schedule of events. We went right away to the first one, a sunset ceremony honoring sailors and bells at sea. We were met by a "pirate" who told us a story (granted, not a great one, but Sam liked it) and let both kids ring the bell and walk the plank. The served punch and took our family's photo (and gave it to us, rather than sold it to us!).

Then we were off to dinner, a nice one for Jay and I and a kid-height dream buffet for Sam and Isabella. Kids under 6 can help themselves to all the food for free, 6 and up are $8. It featured really good macaroni and cheese, chicken strips, fries, fruit, carrots and celery, rice crispie treats and cookies...the kids were in heaven and could help themselves since it was low to the ground.

After dinner Jay brought Isabella back to the room to put her to bed and do some work. He found waiting for him a real crib (not a port-a-crib) decked out in girly linens (they asked when we checked in) including a fluffy bumper and--get this--a CD of bedtime lullabies.

Sam and I went to try our hand at "family bingo" where the prizes were Chuck E Cheese type gliders, cards, paddle balls, noise putty, cars and action figures that had every kid straining for a win. Sam won the first game and the last game we played. The last was blackout, so he got two prizes for that one. The had complimentary chips, salsa, guacamole and drinks all laid out for the players (like we needed it after our huge dinner!). We had so much fun!

The next morning Jay left early to speak at his conference and I took the kids down to breakfast. We had another great experience involving a pancake buffet complete with chocolate chips and powdered sugar...need I say more?

After breakfast we caught the shuttle to the beach. I did not really want to go to the beach because it involved crossing a busy street (we are on the bay side but the beach is really close) and, more pertinent for me, hauling all of our beach stuff. The concierge assured me that everything we needed would be at the beach waiting for us and all I needed to bring was myself. I did not really believe him but boarded the shuttle with just the kids and my purse.

Turns out, Loews wins again! They shuttle dropped us off right at the sand where there was a Loews employee sitting at a fully stocked beach stand. He handed me a chair, a beach umbrella and a towel, gave Sam a boogie board and told us to have fun. All complimentary. When we were done, we walked the six feet back to the stand, turned everything in and got back on the shuttle empty-handed. It was perfect.

I brought Isabella back to the hotel for her nap and Jay met us at the room. He stayed with her and worked while she slept and Sam and I went poolside to play "giant chess" with pieces nearly as big as Sam but light enough to move without too much trouble. I did not know Sam could play chess but he most certainly can. He has watched Joey play enough to have learned all the pieces and how they can move. Only the most basic instruction was needed and he beat me solidly (I was really trying!).

While I was playing I noted that my shoulders were getting burned and that I did not have any sunscreen. Not a problem, as the pool concierge brought over a barrel filled with a variety for me to choose from. Complimentary, of course. I love this place.

After lunch it was back to the beach, then back to the hotel for a game of tennis (if you can call what we played "tennis" but Sam had a blast anyway). Then it was "Dive In Movie Night" where you could watch a movie and swim at the same time, but since we had already seen "The Game Plan" we decided to order room service and watch Speed Racer. Not a bad movie, I might add!

Although we did not make use of it, there is a Kids Club here too where you can check in your kids for an hour to a day at a time (for a fee of course) and they get to do all sorts of fun things. This hotel really did think of everything for kids. I am a fan.

This morning we are off to do who-knows-what while Jay goes to a meeting. When he is done we will begin our drive home where we will gather the kids and immediately leave for a drive to Northern California. But I will stress about that later. Right now I am having too much fun!


jamie said...

Hi Suzanne,

Would you consider briefly writing Loews up for my site? The hotel sounds great.

If your'e game, go to Then just click the link that says, "Know a Great Place" and fill in the blanks.


Anonymous said...

Suz, you're coming North? Any chance we'll get to connect? Renee

nicole said...

That sounds awesome! I am kind of really jealous now. I will keep that in mind should we ever have the chance to travel with our kids. So glad you are having a good time.