I apologize in advance for the lengthy post. My family (myself, husband, 5 & almost 1-year old daughters and my parents) will be vacationing at Now Sapphire from 8/8-8/14. My husband and I have been to many AIs in the area (Secrets, Excellence, VIM, El Dorado Royale, etc.), but this will be our first trip with our children and my parents. We stayed at Now Jade two years ago, and had such a good time that we decided to try Sapphire with the family. Since this is our first time traveling with our young girls, I was hoping some other Mommies and Daddies could provide some pointers! I have a few specific questions, but any other advice would be greatly appreciated!
• Packing – We have our packing down to a science, but I’m paranoid we will forget something for the girls. Any recommendations on the number of diapers I should pack for my youngest (regular and swim)? If we forget to pack something, what does the resort sell? Are there any stores nearby if we need to buy anything? Any other packing recommendations for the little ones?
• Upgrades – Are there any upgrades available for repeat guests? Although we haven’t stayed at Sapphire, we’ve stayed at other resorts in the AM Resorts chain (Secrets Maroma, Secrets Capri and Now Jade). We are also celebrating a few milestones – our 10 year wedding anniversary, my father’s 65th birthday and my daughter’s 1st birthday.
• Rooms – We’ve requested a crib for our 1-year old. Is there a pull out couch for my 5-year old, or does the couch convert into a “bed”? We’ve also requested adjoining rooms with my parents. I haven’t received confirmation if the resort even has adjoining rooms. Has anyone stayed in an adjoining room? If so, which buildings?
• Food – Do the specialty restaurants offer any options for children? If not, would they make something “kid-friendly”? I understand there is always the buffet, but for what we’re spending on this vacation, I’d rather not eat at the buffet every night.
• Amenities for babies – Are there any other amenities for babies? I’ve noticed some other (pricier) resorts, such as Azul Beach, offer baby food, bottle warmers, sterilizers, etc. Those things aren’t really necessities, but I was just wondering what else the resort has for babies, aside from cribs.
• Preferred – Is it worth upgrading to Preferred when you have young children? We were Preferred at Now Jade, and enjoyed the adults only pool – obviously we wouldn’t be able to take advantage of this at Sapphire with the kiddos. In reading many of the reviews, it seems that the “towel game” is in full effect here. One main reason I’d like to upgrade to Preferred would be to reserve Bali beds so my youngest would have a place to nap, and so my parents will have some guaranteed shade. Are Bali beds only available at the Preferred pool?
• Explorer’s Club: What are some of the activities offered at the Explorer’s Club. When we were at Jade, I saw one night that there were tents set up, and the kids were watching a movie projected on to a wall. I understand the Explorer’s Club is for children 4 and up, but is there anything there for my 1-year old as well?
• Air Conditioning – Ok, not really kid related, but I’m starting to get worried about the AC (or lack thereof) at the resort. Is it really as bad as the reviews have been saying? My parents are older, and I’m mainly concerned about their comfort. The questionable AC and towel game is making me question my resort choice, and I’ve contemplated switching. Please, someone talk me out of this!
Thanks in advance for your input!