For many families a weekend away can be easily planned. They are usually fun experiences creating happy memories with one another. For families that have children with disabilities this can be very different. As many of my readers will know I am mum to a 5 year old boy whom has a diagnosis of Autism. There are so many factors that need to be taken into consideration when planning a weekend away. Is the hotel \ location Autism friendly? Will they be understanding of my child’s needs? Are just some of the worries that you will automatically think of. As each child with Autism has different needs to be met and different triggers, it is important to do what suits your family. For me these are a few important factors that are important to us.
Ground floor rooms
To be able to prepare Dylan’s meals / or have the flexibility to have the hotel restaurant accommodating in preparing his food.
Fast wifi ( Dylan uses his ipad as a comfort to relax having access to watch his movies on netflix or youtube keeps him calm. Also a lot of children with ASD use their ipads to communicate their wants and needs, so wifi is necessary to a lot of families.
Dylan is at high flight risk so for peace of mind been able to lock the door from the inside is a must.
Due to sensory issues an area in a quiet part of the hotel is needed.
Mini fridge to keep his juice, milk and yoghurts fresh. I explained on my snapchat, most Autism parents need to be prepared and bring the juice or yoghurts their child will only consume.
- Family Friendly grounds, whether that be a swimming pool, play ground or even a nice quiet garden to walk amongst in the evenings.
We arrived at Fota Island Resort, Cobh, Friday evening. As we drove up the grand corkscrew entrance I knew this weekend was going to be spectacular. As I walked through the exquisite gardens, stunning flowers and bushes which lined every walkway of the hotel. I made my way into reception to checked in, where I was met with the warmest of welcome from the gent who looked after me. I instantly could feel a sense of pride he processed working for one of the most spectacular hotels in Ireland. The exceptional high standards hits you instantly. The spotless marble floors, the smell of fresh paint, to the immaculate decor nor a floral arrangement out of place. I had immediately fallen in love with Fota Island resort.
Our lodge was situated on the course side making this area extremely tranquil and non belligerent. Our lodge was a 4 bedroom, two en suites, an upstairs bathroom and downstairs toilet. It had it’s own office area, a very comfortable lounge area, a kitchen including all necessities and it also had its very own laundry room. (Which is always ideally when travelling with young kids.) The lounge opened up to an outside dining area overlooking the golf course, with plenty of room to play and run about.
This lodge is great for family holidays – if you are looking for a summer escape or if you are planning a Christmas away with the family, this really could be the perfect option.
The moment we arrived Dylan felt at ease. We spent hours just lounging and drinking hot cups of coffee under the sun. In the evenings we watched the sun slowly dip behind the rolling hills. It was extremely calming and I made sure to savour every moment.
Each bedroom was cozy, comfortable yet had a glamourous feel. Thick cream carpet covered the entire upstairs while each bedroom was decorated nearly identical. Each room was fitted with a flat screen tv. Three rooms were double and one twin room. The views from each bedroom were immensely beautiful. A spacious stretch of rolling fields and tall trees was the view for miles. Waking up to the sounds of birds sings and watching the rabbits running past the lodge in the evening set the tone to this relaxing environment. It sounds like something out of a novel but it does exist ,and nowhere epitomises is more the Fota Island Resort Cobh.
The Laundry Room
Having our own laundry room was extremely helpful as it would be to any family traveling with children. It was complete satisfaction knowing if there was any accidents with clothes needing to be washed and dried I was in complete control of it. I hate returning from a break away with a suitcase full of washing. The laundry room featured a washing machine, dryer and ironing equipment.
Kitchen \ Lounge
This kitchen was perfect for us. It was extremely spacious and bright. It was equipped with everything one may need. It had its own, oven\ grill, stove, toaster, kettle, microwave, fridge/freezer, wine cooler and coffee maker. It also provided, all pots and cutlery etc. As Dylan is a picky eater, this gave me the luxury to be able to prepare each of his meals throughout the day. Also having the fridge meant I could keep his food fresh throughout our stay.
The Living room was fitted with two sofas and a flat screen tv. We enjoyed the spacious area stretching out on the sofas in the evenings.The lounge opened up to an outdoor dining area where we enjoyed our morning coffee surrounded by the view of the peaceful golf course.
Personally the grounds of Fota Island Resort is what drew me in. Surrounded by rolling fields, animals and flower gardens it was picturesque to say at least. You felt alone but not in the lonely sense of the word. Secluded from the stress of the outside world on your own little private island. As Dylan sufferers with sensory issues, loud noises and crowds can trigger a meltdown, so this location was perfect for us in every way. In the evenings we enjoyed simply walking around the grounds amongst the nature. There is a kids play area on the grounds also. Dylan loved the tranquility of the area whilst enjoying the playground.
We had an extremely comfortable stay at Fota Island Resort \ Lodge. Traveling with a child with Autism can be difficult, but the Fota island team went above and beyond to make us feel welcome. The lodge manger called to us on arrival to answer any questions we may have had about the lodge or the grounds. He told us what times he was working and even gave us his card to contact him if we needed anything. The lodge has it own wifi which my son was delighted with.This allowed him to bring his comforts from home with us. The lodge\ area felt exceptionally safe. I was able to put my mind at ease, as all the doors automatically locked and needed the card key to open. Also all the windows in the lodge were child proof. Being able to prepare all of Dylan’s meals the way he likes it was a massive help to us. I was able to go off our own time schedule rather than worrying about resturants times etc. The peace and quiet of Fota island resort gave Dylan the sensory break he desires. For these reasons I would give Fota Island Resort the stamp Autism Friendly – and would highly recommend it to any families looking to escape for a well deserved break.
We had such a beautiful weekend exploring Cobh. We ate ice creams, visited the titanic museum, went on safari through Fota wild park and strolled the harbour in the evenings. Cobh has so much to offer. Looking back over these images make me realise what a truly special destination that we are lucky enough to experience and enjoy in Ireland. I am already itching to return to the peace and quiet of Fota island Cobh.
If you experience one place this year, make it Fota Island Resort, Cobh.
Visit Fota Island Resort