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Read Mumsnetter reviews of Tots to Travel resorts

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EllieMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 14-May-19 15:03:19

This is the feedback thread for the users that tested out the Tots Exclusive Experience resorts for a week. This was open to all UK MNers with children under the age of 5.

Non-testers in order to be entered into a prize draw, where one MNer will win a £200 voucher, please answer this question: Share your golden tip for going away with babies or toddlers!

Here is what Tots to Travel have to say: “At Tots to Travel we believe that every family with children under five should be able to holiday wherever they want, in the style they choose and in locations they love. It’s why we’ve developed our own Tots Exclusive Experience resorts. To give you those little extras that go a long way to address the specific needs that only parents of babies and toddlers face when going on holiday. With locations ranging from idyllic countryside retreats to blissful beachside escapes, there are plenty of places to choose from.

We are committed to giving every parent the confidence to go anywhere with their little ones, by providing everything you need for a seamless and stress-free travel experience. Tots Exclusive Experience resorts combine a whole lot of holiday know-how with a sense of fun, plenty of play, essential baby and toddler equipment, safety and a level of care that you won’t find anywhere else.

Each of the seven Tots Exclusive Experience resorts comes with the same Tots quality and family focus to make sure your holiday really is one to remember.”

Testers please answer the following questions:
- Which resort did you attend?
- Did you have all the Tots Essential Kit that you requested in your accommodation?
- Did your accommodation suit the specific needs of a family with children under five?
- Did you find the in accommodation play corner age appropriate and engaging?
- Did you find the Tots Play Zones age appropriate and engaging?
- Did you find the Playmaker activities age appropriate, varied and engaging? (Green Garden, Villacana Resort & Vale da Ribeira only)
- Did the Tots Guarantee of the Essential Kit and accommodation safety checks make you feel more at ease about holidaying with young children?
- Were you able to relax, recharge and reconnect as a family?

Selected testers will be required to leave their feedback on a thread on Mumsnet and fill in a short survey. Everyone who leaves the required feedback will be entered into a prize draw where 1 MNer will win £100 voucher of their choice (from a list).

Thanks and good luck with the prize draw
MNHQ

Standard Insight T&Cs Apply

N0Time Tue 14-May-19 18:19:20

Stayed at Almond Grove, Villa was brilliant, large rooms, separate play room, big totally private courtyard, air con in the bedrooms. Outdoor play area was amazing, both my under 5’s loved it and spent most of each day out there. The pool was big, heated, clean & safe. There’s was also a large communal bar and play room, plus a mini soft play with a ball pool.
Really well set up for families, baby monitors in all bedrooms, steriliser, stair gates, kids plates & cutlery. Dishwasher & washing machine. It really took the stress out of packing and worrying about how suitable it’d be for the kids, especially the baby.
I would definitely use Tots to Travel in the future.

Grumpasaurus Tue 14-May-19 20:38:42

Which resort did you attend?

We attended Villacana resort near Estepona in Spain.

- Did you have all the Tots Essential Kit that you requested in your accommodation?

Yes, and even some we didn't ask for, which was great.

- Did your accommodation suit the specific needs of a family with children under five?

Yes, perfectly. They really thought of everything!

- Did you find the in accommodation play corner age appropriate and engaging?

Yes, when we arrived DS didn't want to leave the villa because he wanted to play with "his" toys so badly!

- Did you find the Tots Play Zones age appropriate and engaging?

Yes, and a special mention must be made of how clean and well thought out they were. Shaded areas + lounge pods for parents (and the willingness of the resort to bring drinks and snacks over) meant we could relax whilst DS played there, and tag team easily.
- Did you find the Playmaker activities age appropriate, varied and engaging? (Green Garden, Villacana Resort & Vale da Ribeira only)

Yes, and Cay, the playmaker was AMAZING. She genuinely loves what she does and it shines through. All the kids warmed to her and she was fun and playful and had lots of ideas of things to do.

- Did the Tots Guarantee of the Essential Kit and accommodation safety checks make you feel more at ease about holidaying with young children?

Yes, without a doubt. So much easier than lugging everything!

- Were you able to relax, recharge and reconnect as a family?

Yes, and I cannot say thank you enough. We have had a difficult time and are fairly broke at the moment, so this opportunity meant we could carve out time together as a family and all of us, including DS, feel so much better for it. It was also our first holiday just the three of us (without friends or grandparents) and I will look back on our week as some of the happiest times we have had together so far. Thank you!

EnglishBreakfastTea Tue 14-May-19 22:52:58

We visited the Green Garden resort in Tenerife.

Our first impression of the accommodation was that it was very clean, spacious and in close proximity to everything within the resort.

We requested some Tots essential kit which had all been set up for us, even the equipment we hadn’t requested was available in case we did need to use it.

The children’s bedroom was fantastic! They loved the decor (large map of the world on the wall) and the fun scatter cushions on their beds. It was clear that a lot of thought and effort had gone into making the children’s room feel special and it was really appreciated by our 2. The master bedroom was in the main living area but didn’t feel like it was a bed inside a living room and was very comfortable!! There was plenty of space to move around the main room even with the bed in there.

The children noticed the toys set up on the living room cabinet immediately and they were a huge hit! All wooden based puzzles, cars, farm animals and a few books. We even managed to have 2 lie ins during the week as they played with them instead of coming to find us! I would say the toys were ideal for my children’s ages (2 & 4)

In our resort there were 2 sandpits, a tree house and a wooden pirate ship as well as 2 large swimming pools and a kids splash pool. We spent a lot of time watching the children playing in the sand and really appreciated the seating areas right next to each play zone. There were tons of toys to choose from and I loved the fact that both sandpits were shaded so they didn’t need to wear their hats & sunglasses to play. They were also big enough for a few children to play together which my daughter loved as she made a few friends.

Throughout the resort there were little wooden trikes scattered around which the children loved to find and ride to wherever we were heading. The mix of play zones kept them entertained for the entire week and would have kept their attention if we had been staying longer.

The pools were lovely and clean and the kids splash pool had been heated so there were no complaints about being cold! There were lot of toys and inflatables around all 3 pools so there was always something to play with.

We were lucky enough to have playmaker activities at our resort and were given a timetable of what was on when we checked in. We took part in a couple (messy play and pirate play) but once the children had completed a couple of the activities their attention wandered away and they went back to playing amongst themselves. Letitia our playmaker was lovely, she made a real effort to learn the children’s names and did seem to genuinely enjoy playing - she even taught my 2 year old some Spanish which he loved!

We did do the organised trip to the beach which was excellent - in fact it was so good and the children enjoyed it so much we did it twice in one week!

Every night there was a kiddie disco after dinner which was a huge hit for my 2, they couldn’t wait to (in the words of my 4 year old) have a boogie! The enthusiasm of the staff was excellent as well, it can’t be easy to dance to baby shark every night and make it look fun, but they managed it!!

In summary, our first family trip abroad has been fantastic! The fact that the entire resort has been designed with little ones in mind meant that we could totally relax knowing that they were safe and entertained. We have all returned home with fabulous memories and are seriously considering booking another Tots resort for next year!

Thanks to all at Mumsnet for such a fantastic opportunity, we had a blast!

salema Tue 14-May-19 23:29:51

We stayed at Salema Beach Village in the Algarve. It’s a modern place on the edge of Salema, which is a pretty small village down a very steep hill. Compared to some of the other Tots resorts, this is a quiet place that feels residential rather than resorty. No Playmakers here, but that suited us fine. The villa felt new, clean and well looked-after, both inside and out.

The Tots kit provided was excellent; the only thing we were missing was a second baby monitor that we’d requested. To be fair, we could have called the 24 hour reception and I’m sure they would have rectified it. They were pretty efficient with any other queries we had!

The place is perfect for under 5s - or in our case under 3s. This is the first time we’ve been on holiday with kids and actually felt able to relax. The toys and books were brilliant and kept them occupied throughout the holiday. The safety features are ideal too - specifically, the stair gates at the top and bottom of the fairly steep tiled staircase. I spoke to another mum at the pool who was in a non-Tots villa and she was worried about the stairs, which lead straight down from the living room. It would have been stressful with our fearless 11 month-old if the gates weren’t there. We had 2 travel cots set up that looked very comfy and the kids all slept brilliantly! Hurrah!

There is a small playground down the road from the villas, accessed with your room key card. This was very well-kept but I would say more appropriate for age 4+. Our 2 and 3 year-olds couldn’t get up onto the slide by themselves and couldn’t use the climbing frame/rope type thing. So we only spent a few minutes at the playground. There is a shared garden between the Tots villas with some toy carts each with different types of toys (big blocks, kitchen stuff, parachute etc). This is such a great idea, as you could relax on the loungers while the kids played. However I don’t know if the carts have been a bit forgotten about at this resort, as the contents were all mixed up and some had become damp and mouldy (some of the wooden toys had mould on). I think they just need checking every couple of days, as the idea is great.

We took lots of trips out in our hire car (Lagos, Portimão and Monchique all within easy reach). You may feel a bit lost here without a car, unless it’s pool/beach weather every day. The pool was too cold for the kids at the beginning of May - they had a couple of little dips but it really was chilly! And the weather was good enough for a couple of beach days, but Salema is very small so there’s not much else there. The golf buggy to and from the beach/village was excellent. Each time we called they came immediately and the kids loved it. Also worth a mention is the pool bar where we had a delicious breakfast every morning and the staff were so friendly. We ordered room service from the pool bar a couple of times once the kids were in bed, and the food was good.

All in all, we had a fantastic family holiday and none of us wanted to come home! We will always remember it and have already started browsing the Tots to Travel website for next year... smile Thank you so much TtT and Mumsnet.

PurpleCrazyHorse Thu 16-May-19 16:22:10

Unfortunately we weren't able to apply due to it being term time but the reviews above are really helpful. I've definitely bookmarked the Tots to Travel website for the future.

mumsolihull Wed 22-May-19 16:46:18

We visited Hyde Park Lane, Lanazarote - myself, my husband, and my two children (DS 4 and DD 5 months). The resort was about 10 minute walk from Los Poscillos, in a very quiet residential area. I wish we had taken a buggy for our 4 year old as well as the baby, as he did struggle so we couldn't explore the area as much as we would have liked to. There was a small supermarket on site and some bigger supermarkets within a 10-15 minute walk. 

We had all of the Tots Essential Kit in the accommodation, and everything was set up beautifully when we arrived. My little boy was so excited and immediately spotted the play corner and all of the new books to read. There were also some lovely baby toys for my 5 month old, which was a really nice touch, as often the babies get forgotten! The toys were great and kept him entertained, and there was enough of a variety that he didn't get bored with them. 

The Tots Play Zone was located just behind our villa, and again was perfect for my son. Plenty of imaginative play and a really lovely area to meet other families on Tots holidays. There was a kitchen, construction sets, sandpits and a pirate ship, amongst other things, and lovely comfy day beds for parents to relax on whilst watching the children play. We all made some new friends! The only downside was that it was only really used early morning or late afternoon, as there was virtually no shade and it was 26c/27c most days. 

The accommodation was perfect for us and we had everything that we needed. The villa was nicely decorated and spotlessly clean. It was a real home away from home. We had a huge covered terrace with a comfy sofa and dining table, and spent a lot of time out here relaxing, eating lunch etc. We also had a private pool, which we all enjoyed. There was a secure, lockable gate between the terrace and the pool so we had no worries about our son getting in there accidentally! Although we were initially planning to do some trips out, we ended up just spending the whole week in the villa, as it was so relaxing and we were all enjoying ourselves so much. It was the first holiday we've been on since having children where we both managed to read a couple of books!

Although there wasn't a Tots playmaker, there was a kids club onsite. It was very quiet when we went, and my son was the only child during the session that we went to. There was also a mini disco most evenings, which he absolutely loved. Again it was quiet but that suited us perfectly!

The villa was cleaned every day which was great, and our accommodation included half board (breakfast and dinner) at the main resort. This was great as it took the stress out of having to think about preparing food, although I would say that the food was a bit disappointing and didn't reflect the quality of the villa. 

Overall we had an amazing holiday and were all so sad to return. My 4 year old has talked about it non stop since we got back! I would definitely book another Tots holiday in the future as it was such a relaxing experience for all of us. I was also really impressed with the communication that I've had from the Tots team too, they've been very professional throughout. Thank you so much Tots to Travel and Mumsnet! smile

BinglyBinglyBeep Sat 01-Jun-19 11:25:32

We stayed at the Villacana resort.

The apartment was spotless and really spacious. The stairgates provided by Tots to Travel meant we could relax and not worry about our exploring two year old on the stone staircase! The play corner in the apartment was prefect. Beautifully decorated, with wooden toys, bricks, lego and books in like-new condition kept our DD busy when we needed time in the shade.

The resort itself is well set up for children amd under 5s. There are three pools, including one indoors (none heated). One playground has a slide (though it gets hot early from the sun!), and I understand is the base for the kids club from July for older kids. We spent hours and hours in the other playground, with a pirate ship and other play areas, and shaded loungers for the adults. It was a good spot for parents to meet and swap ideas for restaurants and activities nearby. Cay the playmaker was wonderful, she remembered all the kids' names and struck exactly the right balance of structured casual play. We did messy play, painting and water play. There are also trips to the beach and lots of other activities twice a day at nap-friendly times.
The other parents were all delighted with Tots to Travel and the kit provided.

Tots to Travel themselves were great in terms of communication. I've come across them in the past and would definitely use them now. We had friends travelling with us to Villacana (not with TtT) and the difference in terms of comfort with everything laid on by Tots to Travel was huge.

Thank you Tots to Travel for a great holiday!

MuddlingThrough1724 Thu 06-Jun-19 19:16:24

We stayed at the Green Garden Resort in Tenerife. We had seen this advertised and debated booking several times previously but had always decided that we weren’t brave enough to take our daughter away abroad just yet. It was a huge stroke of luck that we were able to test the resort for Mumsnet!

We asked for everything on the Essential Kit List, partly to be able to test it, but mainly to have everything on hand “just in case". Ironically, the two things we really needed/wanted weren’t in the room when we arrived (bodyguards and a DVD player for “essential” Frozen and Peppa Pig viewing), but when we call reception about this both were brought to us surprisingly quickly.

The accommodation was relatively spacious and well set up for a family group. The two bedroom apartment clearly used to be a one bedroom apartment, with the original bedroom being used as the twin room for children and the original living space which is open plan with the kitchen area becoming the main bedroom. The bed was king/superking size with curtains across the footboard to give a little privacy from the area with the children’s toys and small sofa. My daughter is two and a half and once asleep rarely wakes and doesn’t usually get out of bed, but if I had older children prone to wandering about or trying to escape, I may be a little mindful that the door to the room is right next to the children’s bedroom and the opposite end of the apartment to the adults bed and the outdoor terrace. The apartment layout also meant that the audio monitor for the children’s room has to sit on the kitchen worktop as on either of the bedside tables, the receiver was out of range. This was a little annoying as I am the sort to have the monitor next to my side of the bed (and I am used to a video monitor anyway), and the monitor was no good if you wanted to sit on the terrace after your children’s bedtime with the monitor nearby.

We occasionally heard other children from the apartment above and next to us, but on the whole we found the room surprisingly quiet given we were in an area specifically for those with children. Our only other comments on the accommodation were that we would have liked to have seen air conditioning in the main bedroom as well as the children’s room, and we would have liked there to be some storage for clothes in the main bedroom. All the storage was in the children’s room and was completely open, so not ideal if your children like to rearrange things! There was no storage, drawers or hanging space in or around the main bedroom. A safe in the room would have also been useful/reassuring

Having the play corner in the room was wonderful. I had also brought a few toys from home, largely for bribery purposes, but I needn’t have done as the selection of toys was great. We had a table and chairs, a little wooden house with plastic animal toys, megablocks, wooden blocks, a selection of wooden cars and peg dolls, a selection of books, a wooden rainbow and a couple of dressing up capes and masks. My daughter loved playing with these and all the toys were impeccably clean. Outside were some foam mats and a plastic elephant.

The playzones were appropriate and engaging for our daughters age group, but I would say that there was something for all ages from just sitting to beyond pre-school age. We were at the resort the week before half term but found that none of the areas were ever especially busy. Tots Boulevard is between the terraces of one row of the Tots to Travel rooms and the entrances to the other row. It isn’t permanently “manned" by anyone from the resort or Tots to Travel so there was no way of policing its “exclusivity" but we didn’t see it being over run with children staying at the hotel but not with Tots to Travel.

The playmakers activities were varied throughout the week and they appear to run a two week timetable sonic you were there longer than a week there was a bit more variety. Things ranged from treasure hunts, messy play, film viewings, making play dough and parachute games. The playmaker at the resort was lovely, really friendly and great at engaging with the children. Tots to Travel also offer two beach trips a week where you turn up at the hotel reception and a coach, water and bucket and spades are all provided for a trip to the local beach before it gets too hot in the middle of the day. We found this way of going to the beach really made it so much easier and more enjoyable as we didn’t have to negotiate public transport or fit in with the timetable of shuttle buses. The playmaker held the fort where families could leave their things on the beach and dug out a boat and suggested games to the children, but we were free to wander down the beach and do our own thing for the duration too.

Having the guarantee of the essential kit was great and made packing so much easier. We have always holidayed in self catering lodges in the UK since having our daughter and I find the stress of remembering everything and having to squeeze high chairs, travel cots etc into the car so stressful and I then start the holiday still feeling stressed! That these things and more were all provided and in fact I took snacks and toys “just in case" and needn’t have done as the resort all inclusive included snacks being available between the main mealtimes.

As a family we had a lovely stay and just wish we had a few more days there – a week was just long enough to relax in to holiday mode, by which time it was time for me to start thinking about packing and the journey home. The pools were lovely, and despite the resort being seemingly quite full, it never felt over crowded. The food was generally good and being all inclusive really helped with the being relaxed as it is just so easy to turn up and eat whenever suits you and not think about where your next meal is coming from! The hotel staff were friendly and the housekeepers did a great job, the room was very clean and stayed that way throughout the week.

It was the first time we had flown with our daughter and the first trip to the Canary Islands for all of us. We found the flight time easily manageable with a toddler and the lack of time difference was great as it was one less thing to factor in to the travelling. The weather was perfect for us as a family and we enjoyed our stay so much we have actually booked to go back to Green Garden at a similar time next year but for a few days longer. I’m sure that there are other great resorts out there which are perfect for families with kids, but it is reassuring and less stressful to go somewhere that you have been to before and know exactly what to expect!

We really couldn’t fault the hotel, we had a great stay, our daughter had the best time and we are very much looking forward to going back again!

Butterflies13 Wed 12-Jun-19 21:58:36

We stayed at the Vale de Riberia resort in Portugal in May. The resort and villa itself was spotless, it all looked brand new. The villa had lots of toys for my 2.5 year old daughter. The toys were in great condition as was the rest of the 2 bedroom villa.

The resort itself was going under a period of new management so I wouldn’t say it was 100% up to expectation (E.g. supermarket didn’t have the basics, no kids meals/snack at the on-site snack bar/restaurant) however the staff and management of the resort are working tirelessly to get it to the tots to travel quality and expectation.

The resort itself has one large pool area with a small play area which was perfect for my toddler. I would make aware that the pool is not heated so my toddler was only able to stay in there for short periods of time.

The resort is about 15 minutes to the nearest town so a car is essential. I would say this resort would suit those who prefer to explore and get out and about and use the resort as a base and those who’d prefer a mainly self catering holiday (although a small breakfast was included).

All the staff were fabulous and friendly. I would definitely recommend tots to travel and would use them in the future as I found the level of Carr and customer service fantastic.

sharond101 Fri 14-Jun-19 13:02:24

I fill this with snacks www.wilko.com/en-uk/wilko-small-clear-9-compartment-organiser-box/p/0343101

biffyboom Fri 14-Jun-19 13:23:19

non-tester my tip is to be open minded about how much relaxation you will actually get when you have young children, and don't plan fixed activities in advance and just go with the flow.

CaptainCorellisConcertiGrossi Fri 14-Jun-19 16:52:41

Share your golden tip for going away with babies or toddlers!

My tip is to take a bit of time to consider how best to make it a holiday for SAHMs as well, as so many holidays when you have small children are just the same old drudge in a different place. So by all means book self-catering for the flexibility, but expect to eat out so no one has to shop and cook. Relax on your green principles a bit and fall back on disposable and single-use stuff for once, so there's less in the way of laundry and washing up. And make a list of essential packing well in advance so poor old mum doesn't have to think so hard about remembering everything that her head explodes on the eve of going away. Speaking from bitter experience!

Whenasuitcasejustwontdo Fri 14-Jun-19 19:05:46

non tester most practical advice is ensure your child or baby has a passport! But an actual tip would be to board the plane as late as you can- you avoid lots of people rushing to their seats and it means less time for the kids to sit whilst travelling.

katiewalters Fri 14-Jun-19 19:31:50

Non tester
Anything you can buy there such as formula, nappies, do that so saves you having to pack so much things. Stay somewhere child/toddler friendly, where there are things for them to do, childrens pools etc. Take snacks for the plane, that you know they like.

gggg1 Fri 14-Jun-19 19:58:38

non-tester

My tip would be to pack an activity kit with a little toy, snack, puzzle or sticker book that your child hasn't seen you prepare so they will have something to entertain them on the journey.

TellMeItsNotTrue Fri 14-Jun-19 20:00:28

Don't plan too much, it is overwhelming for them and leads to a lot of emotions coming from a very small child. They are entertained by exploring the new sleeping arrangements or going for a walk outside

kateandme Fri 14-Jun-19 23:48:40

dont panic.this is a holiday and should be one!you cant what if and oh no about everything that ight or might not happen.you are ready.you are prepared and all your worries will most liely just weigh you down.
get yourself as ready as you can.dont stress at eacohter.be there for eacohter and then just stop,breathe and enjoy it all.usually noadays most places you go to is equipt ith anything you might need.

emphasisofmatter Sat 15-Jun-19 06:42:26

Non-tester

Organisation helps - I make a big list (love me a list) to make sure I remember everything we need for holidays. If you're going on a long journey some new toys or activity books are a good idea to keep the kids busy and happy when confined on a plane/ train/ car.
Also don't plan too many activities- toddlers love the pool and playground, you don't need to find lots of pricey other things to do, sometimes keeping it simple makes everyone happy.

kateandme Sat 15-Jun-19 10:18:33

oh and make a big list.a base list that you save then to your computer so you can print it out each time you go away.so it has the eseentials on it.clothes,passports,tickets,mobile,games etc and then depending o nwhere yo uare going you can add to it.so beach gear,surf board,language book etc.but then youve always got your go to list to start with.saves times and panic.

Cotswoldmama Sat 15-Jun-19 14:59:43

My golden tip is to bring comforters from home to help them sleep. My sons don't have any particular teddy bear they like but when they're away from home it helps them to settle quicker and bedtime to have something familiar

Ribeebie Sat 15-Jun-19 16:19:14

My tip is to plan well in advance - lists, pack early! But when you're there don't get too stressed and enjoy your holiday - wherever you are in the world there will be babies and children who live there!

DaisyDando Sat 15-Jun-19 16:51:14

Non-tester here.
My tip would be to recognise that it’s not going to be like holidays pre-children, so try to embrace the madness! Aim for one “thing” per day - and pack snacks.

user1496959500 Sat 15-Jun-19 19:36:42

From my most recent trip my tip is, if possible, take the boat rather than the plane, even if much longer! It was so much less stress, he had space to play and run around and we didn’t need to worry about baggage allowance.

MuddlingThrough1724 Sat 15-Jun-19 21:00:14

My top tip after our first trip abroad with our toddler is stickers and snacks, all the stickers and snacks for the journey and a good supply of crayola colour wonder colouring so you don't have to worry about pen/crayons all over your accommodation. I think being relaxed about usual routine helps as you will settle in to a holiday routine quickly enough, and if you can justify it, all inclusive accommodation to avoid the usual chores of shopping, cooking, cleaning etc from home, making it a bit of a break for everyone.

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