Blogger Naomi Davis (aka Love Taza) recently collaborated with Fairmont Hotels & Resorts on trips to Scottsdale and Bermuda. Naomi shares her experiences of motherhood, family, travel, good food, and life’s simple joys on her Instagram and blog, Rockstar Diaries. Here are her recommendations for a warm-weather family getaway.
Where to Stay – Fairmont Scottsdale Princess
“I will admit that I was a little bit hesitant to leave New York City during the peak of my favorite holiday season where the festivities are just so good,” said Naomi. “But fortunately, Fairmont Scottsdale Princess most definitely knows how to do the holiday season right! In addition to having more than 3 million lights decorating the property alone, you can enjoy them all without a winter coat–an upgrade from the store windows on Fifth Avenue.”
But traveling to Arizona during the holidays doesn’t mean foregoing beloved cold weather activities. “I was so impressed at how The Princess is able to maintain an ice rink when it is so warm outside. We were able to take Conrad out for a tiny and very slow lap around the rink which was so much fun!”
The Fairmont Scottsdale makes for a perfect home base due to the numerous activities offered by the property, which caters to families. “The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess had great activities and programs for children and families to enjoy together. Our kids love playing pretend 'hotel' at home, so they were beyond thrilled to see the kids' check-in desk and have the chance to properly check in, kid style! They loved getting their own little pins and stuffed animals as well. It made the experience very special.”
What to Do & See
Scottsdale makes for a great holiday destination because not only is there so much to see and do but you can do it all with the benefit of great weather. In winter it may “be a bit chilly to most locals in Arizona…but to us East Coasters, a heated pool, and 75-degree weather in the middle of winter is heaven.” Visitors from colder climes will enjoy experiencing the holiday season from a different point of view. “The train ride to see all the lights around the property was very exciting! We had so much fun, we did it twice! It was a beautiful contrast to see Christmas decorations up against palm trees in the desert scenery.”
Outside the property, Naomi and her family enjoyed visiting The Musical Instrument Museum. “The Musical Instrument Museum, or MIM, is definitely one of the most unique and amazing museums ever! It’s a must-see for anyone visiting the Scottsdale or Phoenix area for the first time!”
“And the Butterfly Wonderland Exhibit in Scottsdale was also fun for us because our kids had some caterpillars at home that had just transformed into butterflies, so we had been studying up and learning all about them.” This exhibit is currently the largest butterfly conservatory in the country.
Where to Eat & Drink
Scottsdale is known for some of the country’s best Mexican food and La Hacienda, on the resort, is one of Scottsdale’s best. “We all loved the guacamole!” The fresh, modern Mexican cuisine is also complemented by an unmatched tequila bar for those traveling without children or nights when the kids are with the sitter. If you go, Naomi recommends the lobster tacos because they are the “BEST EVER. The homemade tortilla in and of itself was divine.”
Start your day with a mouthwatering breakfast sandwich or a Spanish latte at La Grande Orange. “We loved La Grande Orange [Grocery]! If you go, get the homemade English muffin! Delicious!”
If desert is your favorite part of lunch, a visit to the charming Sugar Bowl is a must. “The Sugar Bowl is a really fun place! They have a huge selection from soups, sandwiches, and salads awesome ice cream cones, sundaes, and floats.”
If comfort food is what you’re craving, make sure to visit Bandera, in Scottdale’s Old Town. “The ribs were amazing and the homemade cornbread, delicious!”
Where to Stay– Fairmont Southampton
“Taking this trip to Bermuda with the kids felt extra extra special,” said Naomi. “One of the biggest pros for me (besides the fact that it’s just about a two-hour plane ride from New York!) were the beautiful beaches. The water is warm, vibrant and clear and it’s also shallow a good ways out. I always appreciate those sorts of things, especially with kids who love getting in the water.”
The little touches that family-friendly resorts bring to welcome little ones is key when traveling. “The hotel welcomed the kids with their own sea turtle stuffed animals on top of a plate of cookies! My kids are obsessed with sea turtles and they loved the stuffed animals. And we pretty much planted ourselves right next to the kiddie waterslide nearly every afternoon because our kids were obsessed!”
What to Do & See
Naomi recommends taking the family to the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo – “It’s a great way to spend a morning learning about and feeding rescued sea turtles, birds, and other animals.” There are a lot of hands-on, interactive opportunities for families to enjoy. If you're looking for a more natural setting, explore the Crystal Caves. “They were really cool and beautiful to look at.” Or you could take a boat ride around the island–a fun family-friendly way to explore the island by water and discover great secluded beaches, beautiful fish, snorkeling, and other treasures. “The kids couldn’t get enough of this fun activity.”
Looking to buy gifts or souvenirs? Visit the National Museum of Bermuda at the Royal Naval Dockyard. “Watching glass being made at the dockyard glassworks is a great experience, and so is taking home a little glass souvenir.” Or walk around Saint George’s to shop: “This was my favorite town. What a beautiful and colorful place!”
Where to Eat & Drink
A quality seafood restaurant located right on the beach is Ocean Club at Fairmont Southampton. “We were just going to the restaurant to eat but of course we had to stop by the beach and play with the sand before and after we ate!” But Naomi and fam's favorite restaurant was the Waterlot Inn at Fairmont Southampton. “Our meal at the Waterlot Inn was our favorite meal in Bermuda. The sticky toffy pudding was so good, we ended up ordering a second one!” The restaurant also has a great children’s menu, making it ideal for a memorable family dinner.