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Putting On The Ritz

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First, define getaway. Get away from what? Work? Winter? Your husband and child? Oops. That's where I made my mistake. I took them with me, a move clearly antithetical to the idea of a getaway. And I had to take the new kid, still in utero, as well. If I could have left the thing here in New York at a utero hotel, like you leave a dog, I would have.

Second, why Florida? Well, if you are almost eight months pregnant, you don't want to be airlifted from Turks and Caicos when you go into premature labor. Our plan was to give our 3-year-old son one last hurrah before he has to share us with the aforementioned sibling-to-be. So really it was his getaway. But no Disney World or Epcot. If I go to my grave without having been to either, I will consider myself a success as a mother.

Since we planned the vacation about ten minutes before we took it, we relied on the recommendation of my friend Amanda, who likes a nice vacation. "The Ritz. Great for kids. You'll love it." Okey dokey.

The Ritz-Carlton in Key Biscayne is a pretty fancy place. (I guess the word Ritz should have been a giveaway.) When we arrived, a little after eight, our first thought was to get our son a quick dinner. We vetoed the fancy dining room and ate instead in the fancy Lobby Lounge, overlooking Versailles-like fountains. The hotel actually has a children's menu, but the children's hot dog, the size of a bratwurst, could choke a horse.

Our second thought was to prevent our son from peeing on the very, very nice furniture. Or on the rug. Or on the marble floor. We were exactly mid-toilet-training, and this concern was to consume my husband for most of the weekend. So much for his getaway.

There is a wonderful spa at the hotel, but we never set foot in it (I offered my son a eucalyptus facial, but he decided he'd rather chase seagulls). If you do want to partake of the spa, or do anything adultlike, there is a camp for children 5 and over. There was one girl in the camp while we were there. She was a very tall 3-year-old whose parents told her to say she was 5. Wiseasses.

So why in God's name should you and yours go to the Ritz-Carlton? I'll tell you. The family pool rocks. It is the shape of three interlocking circles (my husband, Mr. M.B.A., annoyingly described it as a Venn diagram), and the water, bath-warm, starts at zero-depth and gradually gets deeper, like a beach without the jellyfish. Your kids can sit, walk, or do whatever without your schlepping them all over the deep end. And waiters come around with fruit shish kabobs every half-hour or so. Heaven. In the pool I met two women on a girls' weekend (no husbands, no kids) and spent a portion of each day floating around as if I were with them. That was heaven, too.

Cynthia Kaplan is the author of a book of essays, Why I’m Like This: True Stories.


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