Do you have a favourite family holiday spot?
Ours is the Paradise Resort Gold Coast.
Their slogan is “Heaven For Kids Paradise For Parents”. And it’s one of the few occasions where I’ve found advertising is true to word.
I’m always skeptical about these things.
After all, the advertising would be a crock, and the place would be over-run by other people’s kids, right?
Well, no, the advertising is actually very accurate. And yes, the place is over-run by kids, but that’s actually a positive as it happens.
Loads of kids means loads of instant playmates. And plenty of relaxed parents. Once we check-in, my own children are happily entertained for hours.
I can relax on a deck chair with a good book, and just listen for their happy screams. They come back from time to time, to drag me onto one of the slides – which they think is the coolest thing ever – or dunk me into the spa for a relax. And of course, whenever they are hungry or thirsty, which is often.
The resort’s biggest attraction is arguably the waterpark.
Arguably, because there’s also Planet Chill, an indoor ice rink; an awesome kid’s club; ongoing entertainment throughout the day run by the Resort Entertainment Crew; and lots of free and paid activities, like hair-braiding, a magic show, and fire-truck tour.
The waterpark features two aqua-play attractions – one for littlies and one for big kids – as well as a large lagoon-style pool and a heated spa. There’s also an adults-only area, with private spa, for those who want to get away from the noise.
The big aqua-play zone is where my kids spend most of their time. Designed over three levels, it boasts myriad slides, water cannons, play areas and ladders, as well as a giant bucket that dunks 600 litres of water on delighted children every few minutes. And the slides are big enough for big kids, trust me.
The Resort Entertainment Crew are gems, supervising regular games throughout the day, like jelly-eating competitions, mini-olympics, jump rope competitions, hula hoop challenges, footy toss comps, and more. They will keep your kids busy and happy throughout the day, as long as you are there to keep an eye on them and cheer them on. (Who would want to miss it? I'm taking embarrassing photos, all of the time!) And it’s all free!
Some games have prizes like ice-blocks, and once, Chase even won a Spongebob Squarepants hat.
To be honest, my kids are far happier enjoying the outdoor activity with their new friends and the REC crew, and forcing me on to the slides than spending time in the critically-acclaimed kid’s club. But other parents find the kid's club invaluable.
Most packages at Paradise Resort include a free four-hour session daily per child, which is awesome. But great as it is for couples who need a break, my kids always seem to want to hang out with me and in the main areas of the resort – which is fine as I still feel like I get a rest anyway, and we are still spending quality time together.
Besides, all that activity makes them hungry and thirsty, and often.
I always pack an esky of drinks, fruit and snacks to keep prices low, and the resort is close to the main drag of Surfers Paradise shops, supermarkets, and beaches anyway.
But you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find the prices at Bistro Zagame’s and the Poolside Bar and Bistro are surprisingly affordable. And they are aimed at fussy eaters so there’s enough to please everyone – even vegemite sammies are available by the pool!
Kids meals are $8, and there are regular budget-priced theme nights around the pool.
There is also a mini mart for purchases like milk, bread, noodles, cereal, and even wine and beer.
Wednesdays and Saturdays are movie nights, when deck chairs are placed outside in front of a giant movie screen. It’s a good time to order takeaway woodfired pizzas, sit back, and relax for an evening under the stars. So relaxing, even if you’ve seen the movie before.
The REC staff do a Wii dance-off with the kids – and a few big ones – as well.
The newest attraction, and one that I fell for, literally, is Planet Chill. Friday and Saturday nights are family disco nights, but there are sessions every day and some nights. And there are penguin helpers and complementary head-gear for those who are unsure of their skills.
The kids and I tried it out on a Sunday night and had it practically to ourselves. I fell over on my arse only twice, and wasn’t nearly as sore the next day as I’d imagined.
It was the kids’ favourite thing to do that weekend, and luckily, many packages include a session on the ice for the family.
There are so many things to do at Paradise Resort, it’s easy just to stay there. From cupcake decorating for the kids, to cocktail making workshops to the adults, it’s tempting to never leave.
But you are close to the Gold Coast’s beautiful beaches and shopping precincts and there is loads to explore using the resort as a base if you choose to.
We always bring back sushi and other treats we can’t get at our country home from our forays, to enjoy when the kids get hungry at odd times.
And the upgraded rooms are funky and comfortable, with lovely beds, and even a (tiny) table and chairs to eat at.
They are not posh, but they are clean, comfortable and serviceable. We’ve stayed there in cold weather too, and it’s only taken a phone call to have someone bring us extra blankets in the middle of the night.
Oh and it’s worth paying extra for one of the bunkhouse rooms, which contain brightly painted bunks for the kids, dividing the room from the adult area. There are xbox games and a TV for the kids, and little things like a microwave and toaster that make a difference.
One of the nicest things about the Paradise Resort Gold Coast is that it’s easy to stay on after check out to enjoy the facilities a little longer.
One of the most difficult things is that the kids always beg to stay one more night. And my goodness, it’s tempting to give in!
Oh well, there’s always next time…
Thanks to the Paradise Resort Gold Coast, MIA has three family passes to Planet Chill to give away. That’s for two adults, and up to three children to enjoy a two-hour ice-skating session, including safety gear if required.
To enter, make sure you’re following my Facebook page. Then leave a comment below, sharing what you’d do first at the Paradise Resort Gold Coast and why.
Entries close 5 pm, Tuesday December 17, 2013.
A rare moment of sibling peace - taking in the view from our room
The lagoon pool and the small kids' water park
You can just see the three-level waterpark on the right hand side. And there's an adults only area to the left of that with its own spa, so grown-ups can have some peace.
More of the pool area
Time for a mocktail - a Cleo's Crush - and a chocolate frog in jelly. Well we are on holidays!
Planet Chill was awesome!
Man Child on the move!
Proof we made it to the beach ...
Lunch at a nearby Sushi Train ...
Can't get enough Sushi
Harmonie with Club mascots The Captain and Cleo
Chase, on one of our visits, doing arts and crafts around the pool
Harmonie puts the finishing touches to her masterpiece
Chase's favourite breakfast, Eggs Benedict
A kids' portion of Pasta Bolognaise at Zagame's Bistro
It's all too much fun!