Caribbean: Swings and roundabouts

 Photo: Image Bank

LET’S be honest, for most parents a holiday not only means a break from cold weather and work, but also from the children.

Caribbean hoteliers know it too, and are constantly improving the facilities on offer to youngsters so mums and dads are happy to leave their little darlings.

Take, for example, Sunsail’s Club Colonna in Antigua, which now has a ‘Caribbean Pirates Galleon’ play area.

A well-organised and fun kids’ club is an essential for most family holidays, but what actually happens when you hand over your children?

Travel Weekly caught up with a handful of kids’ club reps in the Caribbean to find out.

Kerraine Dennis, 27

Kerraine Dennis, Starfish Trelawny ResortKids’ centre manager at Starfish Trelawny Resort in Jamaica

“The mornings are the best part of the day. The children are ready for action and want to do all sorts of new and exciting stuff. After lunch they tend to just want to relax.

“Children love the arts and crafts sessions. I love greeting the excited children arriving at the resort and having fun with them. I am happy when they are happy. It¹s always really sad saying goodbye to kids that I have grown attached to.

“There have been so many good memories, but one that comes to mind is a magic show we put on with the children. I taught them some tricks a few days before the show and they pulled their tricks off. But when it was my turn I completely forgot a section and really messed up.

“I was so embarrassed because a few parents were there. Of course, the children thought it was funny and laughed at me.

“I eventually had to laugh at myself. So much for wanting to impress.”

Sharon Davis, 39

Sharon Davis, Jolly BeachKids’ club co-ordinator at Jolly Beach in Antigua

“Children are the most energetic in the mornings and that can be the best time; it¹s not like working when you are really having fun.

“However, it can be really difficult having to ask parents to discipline their children when they have been rude.

“My funniest moment was during a drama session with the kids after dinner, when I played a giant¹s wife.

“I had to find a hiding place for the little boy in the story so I ran back and forth trying to find somewhere. I fell down on my you know what and the kids laughed so much we had to stop for a bathroom break.”

Juliette Sandiford, 32

Juliette Sandiford, Almond Beach VillageKids’ club rep at Almond Beach Village in Barbados

“Most kids prefer mornings as the temperature is low enough for them to take part in all our outdoor activities. It means they burn off loads of energy.

“They can take part in waterskiing, snorkelling and banana boat rides. We go crab hunting and even do pool aerobics.

“There are specially designed pools just for the children and a fully-equipped playground. Kids also enjoy the evenings, when they can come to our disco nights, karaoke evenings and pyjama parties.

“My favourite activities are the ones where we teach the kids fun practical activities such as painting and tie-dyeing, jewellery-making, local cooking, calypso dancing and face painting.

“It’s a great feeling when you see the enjoyment and enthusiasm they have taking part in making things and knowing that you are helping them to learn. We are kept laughing by our kids most of the day, which is definitely the highlight of the job.

“I love meeting the children and then seeing them grow up as they return year after year.

“Obviously, saying goodbye to the children is difficult. It¹s easy to become attached to them.”

Gale Charles, 32

Gale Charles, Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort and Spa Kids’ club team leader at Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort and Spa in St Lucia. Loves the creativity of her job

“Children’s creativity comes alive during the arts and crafts sessions, when they create their individual and unique pieces.

“The tie-dye class is another favourite of mine. We teach the kids to ‘let the colours speak’. We find most kids really enjoy the water sports and beach games, as well as the off-property events such as the jeep safari and glass-bottom boat ride.

“Teaching the youngsters Creole can be really funny. Some words expressed in Creole have a different meaning in English. The kids will apply the English meaning in the Creole context and it skews the entire meaning of a sentence.

“I enjoy the whole time spent with the kids, they are so spontaneous and imaginative, they will say and do things that are simply amazing.

“The best part is just being around them ­ opening up my clubhouse and welcoming the kids as they rush through the door.”

Alicia Keyes, 22

Teens fun pal, known as Tweety Bird to the youngsters who holiday at Beaches Negril Resort and Spa in Jamaica

“In the middle of the morning the sun is up, the sky is blue and it¹s a perfect time for beach volleyball or pool Olympics.

“However the kids also love the nights with the teen discos, Jacuzzi parties, toga parties and beach bonfires. My favourite activity with the children is the pool olympics and the beach bonfires.

“The best bit of the job is the people I work with, getting to meet new people every day and seeing them again when they come back for another holiday. The worst part is having to say goodbye to all the new friends I make.

“My funniest moment was during our Halloween performance, when my mask fell off. I couldn’t stop laughing and fell out of sync with the others, who by then had also started laughing. In the end everyone thought it was part of the routine.”

Sample product

Kuoni offers seven nights at Jolly Beach in Antigua from £897 per person twin-share for travel between April 16 and June 23. The price includes flights and transfers. One child sharing a standard room with two adults pays from £169.

Virgin Holidays offers seven nights at Almond Beach Village in Barbados from £1,079 per adult, £149 for the first child, £387 for the second, based on two adults and two children under the age of 12 sharing a standard room on an all-inclusive basis. The price is valid for departures on May 1-18 and includes flights and transfers.

Complete Caribbean features seven nights at Beaches Negril Spa and Beach resort from £1,357 per adult and £728 per child for seven nights in a Deluxe Room, on an all-inclusive basis. The price includes flights and transfers.

Thomas Cook Signature has a seven-night stay in a luxury one-bedroom villa without pool for a family of four at Windjammer Landing in St Lucia from £2,872. This price is based on room-only for two adults and two children aged under 12, and includes scheduled flights and transfers.

Premier Holidays offers seven nights¹ all-inclusive at the Starfish Trelawny in Jamaica from £1,049 per person, including flights and transfers. Prices start at £499 per child, sharing with two adults.

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