"You'll never do it!" they said. "Once the baby is here you will change your mind, you definitely won't fly long haul with a little one!" Well, they were wrong and we did.
We decided upon a twin-centre to the Seychelles and Dubai, not the usual destination for a first family holiday. Flying with Emirates was seamless - and quite frankly, a joy! We had pre-booked a bassinet which provided a cosy space for our seven-month-old. We had purposely chosen an overnight flight to Dubai to encourage him to sleep, but when he wasn't sleeping, there were lots of lovely people for him to watch and smile at to keep him occupied. Emirates provided a little amenity kit too; a cosy jungle-themed blanket and some clip-on toys that could be used on a cot or pram.
Upon arrival in Dubai, they had plenty of stroller stations located throughout the airport, making it easy to pick one up as you disembark the aircraft and drop it off at the departure gate before you board your next flight. If you aren't travelling through Dubai, I would highly recommend taking a baby carrier, as they make life so much easier for getting on and off the plane. Our onward overnight flight was just as easy - he slept the entire way to the Seychelles, and so did we!
On arrival, we were greeted by the friendly Four Seasons Resort Seychelles at Desroches Island staff, who quickly escorted us to check-in for the 35-minute flight to the island. With only 16 seats, it gave our little one the chance to make friends with everyone! Desroches Island is beautiful and the baby amenities provided by Four Seasons were amazing, including items we'd requested and things we hadn't even thought about. There was a baby bath, a bottle steriliser and warmer, high chair and a beautiful cot. The highlight was the baby seat provided on the bicycles used to travel around the island. It was the first time he had been on a bike and he loved it! For those who don't want to cycle, there's a shuttle too.
The resort's accommodation is dotted along the beach. The villas are all extremely spacious - even with the cot in the room, we had more than enough room for us all. The outside area was fantastic, featuring a private pool and large deck with a daybed, which was fully covered and perfect for relaxing with the baby. Having our own pool made it so easy to just dip in and out, while the shaded area meant we could stay outside and play all day.
One of the absolute highlights at Four Seasons Resort Seychelles at Desroches Island is the food. Even though there are only two restaurants, the themed evenings with tasting-style menus meant there was always an abundance of choice. The Indian menu was honestly amazing, offering some of the most interesting flavours and spice combinations I have ever tried! They were great with the baby too, with the breakfast buffet providing him with lots of new flavours, but the staff were more than happy to cook something specifically for his needs, if required.
The complimentary Kids For All Seasons programme and the club looked fantastic, but as our baby is still so young, we just enjoyed time as a family, playing and swimming. A highlight for us all was visiting the giant tortoise sanctuary - it's equally amazing for adults as well as little ones!
After a few days in our private paradise, we headed back to the main island of Mahé to Four Seasons Resort Seychelles. The location is breathtaking, and although the resort is hilly, they offer a great buggy service to get around and will happily take the stroller for you. The beach area is stunning and perfect to use as a base for the day; the huge beachside pool was idyllic for splashing about in, there's a restaurant and bar nearby and also the Kids For All Seasons centre. There were more children here and the children's club proved very popular! The staff were amazing with children of all ages, and we even attended a first birthday party they were throwing for another guest which was so lovely.
Similarly to Desroches, the in-room amenities exceeded our expectations. Once again, we had a private pool and a day bed, but we split our time between here and the beach as the main pool had the perfect atmosphere. The staff again were wonderful with children and couldn't do enough for us. Four Seasons really has perfected the art of family holidays - I wouldn't hesitate to stay or recommend their hotels, simply because they make it so easy.
Leaving the Seychelles behind, our next stop was Dubai. We timed our flight around the baby's mid-morning nap in an effort not to disturb his normal routine. We had decided upon Jumeirah Zabeel Saray on The Palm, and we weren't disappointed. It really is perfectly suited to families, especially those with young children and babies. The main pool had incredible views towards the city, plenty of sun loungers and even a machine to inflate the floats for babies!
There are six restaurants to choose from, all of which invite families to dine. We often went for a late dinner once the baby had gone to sleep in his stroller, but there were always families dining and no one had any issues. The choice of cuisine was fabulous - we experienced Mediterranean at beachfront Plaj, delicious steaks in the Rib Room and flavoursome Lebanese and Turkish delights. The food really was fabulous whichever venue you chose. Meanwhile, Sinbad's Kids Club had a fantastic mini water park, featuring a pirate ship, climbing wall, playground and soft play area, along with plenty more for older children too - I think you'd struggle to draw any fun-loving little ones away from here!
Swimming Pool at Jumeirah Zabeel Saray
Plaj Al Fresco Restaurant at Jumeirah Zabeel Saray
Talise Ottoman Spa at Jumeirah Zabeel Saray
We stayed on a half board basis which was ideal, as you can not only dine in the hotel's restaurants, but at up to 40 dining outlets throughout the Jumeriah collection. We also upgraded to a Club Room, which gave us access to the Club Lounge. This was the perfect place for a lovely buffet breakfast on the private terrace, while they also serve a light lunch, pre-dinner canapés and complimentary drinks between 6- 9pm - well worth the value for those looking for something extra.
We also ventured out into Dubai to further explore the city. We visited the Lost Chambers Aquarium at Atlantis - fantastic for babies -and we couldn't miss the chance to go up the Burj Khalifa to view Dubai from up high. We also visited the famous fountains, which of course fascinated our little one! In addition, the hotel provides complimentary access to the Wild Wadi Waterpark for one day, which would be perfect for older children.
As a whole, I found long-haul travel with a little one pretty easy going! The hotels we chose made everything so seamless and stress-free, giving us the chance to spend some well-deserved family time together. Four Seasons and Jumeirah have given us the most amazing family memories - the toughest decision, where will we go next!?