Monday, 09 November 2015
Pregnancy calls for some serious R&R, so Ali Horsfall prescribes spoiling yourself with a dreamy pre-baby getaway
Countryside comfort in the Cotswolds
Best for: A girls' get-together
Take your pregnant bestie or go solo and make new friends on a two-day pregnancy retreat on the Kingscote Park estate in Gloucestershire. Matara House is a welcoming country pad where mamas-to-be can slow right down and savour all the practical and emotional pregnancy support that's provided.
From the moment you arrive, you and your bump come first – you can join an inspiring workshop, take a yoga class or pregnancy treatment and nourish yourself with delicious fresh food. Then come bedtime you can retire to your room and fall asleep starfish-like on a big comfy bed.
Peace and pampering in Portugal
Best for: Holidays with a healthy vibe
Wellness resorts can be a little overbearing (all the timetables and green juice), but at the Vilalara resort on Portugal's Algarve the mood is go-with-the-flow – so perfect for a healthy fly-and-flop break should pregnancy fatigue be taking hold. Rooms are whitewashed and elegant with stunning views over the Praia das Gaivotas cliffs or the hotel's botanical gardens. If you're feeling active, take the steps down to the private sandy cove (coming back up again will give you a bit of a workout), do gentle laps in one of the six pools (two are freshwater, four seawater), or stretch yourself out in a yoga class. The exceptional spa offers more than 50 treatments that can be tailored to your pregnancy.
The restaurant serves Portuguese cuisine with a healthy twist, and there's also a barbecue on the terrace. Your other half won't be bored, with tennis, diving and golf on offer, but should spa fever kick in, hire a car and explore. Head east for shopping and a meander in Albufeira's old town or a spot of lunch and yacht-watching in Vilamoura's harbour.
Alpine goodness in Austria
Best for: A feel-good fix of fresh-air
There's something about mountain air that makes you feel a million dollars, and at the Hoteldorf Grüner Baum you can get a head start on your pregnancy glow. Wellbeing is at the heart of this Austrian hideaway in a valley on the edge of a national park, and parents-to-be will come away refreshed and ready for the life changes ahead.
The scenery is breathtaking, with views of the snowy peaks beyond, and the indoor and outdoor pools are filled with water from the hotel's own spring. Pack your trainers and enjoy a stroll, indulge in a pregnancy rose oil massage in the spa or take a romantic horse-drawn carriage ride. The restaurant's organic-certified menu means produce is home-grown and additive-free.
Sensational scenery in Sicily
Best for: A cultural food fest
Make like the Corleone clan and head to Sicily, Italy's gorgeous Mediterranean island. At the Donnafugata golf resort and spa you can admire the epic countryside from your poolside lounger, relax in the sleek spa (the osteopathic treatments are perfectly safe in pregnancy) or take a shuttle to the pretty private beach.
This break is where you'll really want to roll with the 'eating for two' excuse. It starts with the lavish breakfast buffet that can be served on the hotel terrace – unmissable. Then head into Ragusa, one of Sicily's UNESCO-listed baroque towns, to explore the winding alleyways, photograph the stunning architecture – and then fill up on delicious Sicilian antipasti. Particularly recommended is the stone-vaulted Cucina e Vino, where food is traditional and hearty.
Lazy days in the Dominican Republic
Best for: A long-haul getaway
If it's bare-foot luxury you want for your 'last hurrah', then the Dominican Republic delivers. A direct nine-hour flight from the UK, the island has all you'd expect from the Caribbean – powdery white sand, warm ocean waters and guaranteed sunshine. On the east of the island, in Punta Cana, you'll find the Excellence, a shoreside resort of gorgeous suites, nine restaurants and a world-class mountain-facing spa.
For day trips, head to the capital of Santo Domingo with its old-world charm, colonial buildings and market packed with jewellery and local artwork. Don't want to move far? Spend lazy days at the hotel – the decadent beach beds (complete with waiter service) are perfect for sky-gazing and dreaming of the future. The resort is adults-only too – you might as well enjoy it while you can.
Spa chic in Spain
Best for: A short-flight spa retreat
Marbs might not be your first choice for a relaxing babymoon, but with plentiful flights from the UK to Malaga you can be soaking up good weather within hours. What's more, the Puente Romano Beach Resort on Marbella's Golden Mile is a whitewashed Andalusian-style village that provides stylish respite from the otherwise noisy Costa del Sol.
It's well worth getting excited about for the newly opened Six Sense Spa where you can be pampered in the cool, oak-floored treatment rooms or outdoor calming, canopied cabanas. Then go and wolf down tapas with a twist from the two Michelin-stared chef Dani García.
Family fun in the New Forest
Best for: A babymoon with the kids
Tucked away in the New Forest, so you really feel you're getting away from it all, the Lime Wood is a stylish hotel that hits the right note for first-time mums-to-be and families wanting together-time before a new baby arrives.
The baby-on-board spa offerings are outstanding, including a pregnancy massage, rose facial or nourishing body treatment. You can also take a relaxing yoga class surrounded by herbs on the pretty roof garden. Eat in the restaurant overseen by superchef Angela Hartnett, then bed down in the eaves of the main house with views of the grounds and forest – sleep-inducing king-sized beds and fluffy robes are in all rooms.