Trying to book a holiday for a family, especially with young kids can be hard work. Trying to find the perfect location and with plenty of entertainment for the kids to stop them from becoming bored, I thought would have been near impossible! That is, until we heard about a fantastic family orientated resort in Surfers Paradise, just one block away from the beach, called Paradise Resort. The resort’s website showed lots of fun activities for the kids – including a water park pool and spa area, ice skating rink, playground, kid’s club, games room, along with a restaurant on site that caters for families and more! It looked perfect, so we excitedly booked a night away for our family of four.
The day finally came for us to head down. The drive there was a little tedious and confusing with all the roadworks and street closures occurring in the streets of Surfers Paradise for the Rail Project. However, all that was forgotten when we arrived at Paradise Resort and walked into the vibrantly decorated lobby and were warmly welcomed by a lovely reception staff member. The lobby featured plenty of colourful pictures of the Paradise Resort characters, Captain, Cleo, Astro and Dusty, with whom my son immediately became familiar with. My son loved playing ‘spot the characters’ around the resort. We were provided with a newsletter with a detailed schedule of all the activities, a map of the premises, our room keys and exclusive Paradise Resort wristbands to enable us to use the facilities. The receptionist also fully explained the car parking arrangements, our room location and gave us a brief outline of the activities available and how to access them.
The resort rooms have been recently renovated and were very stylish, comfortable and spacious. The Superior Resort Room that we had booked provided plenty of room for the four of us, including lots of room for the portacot, the pram and all our luggage. When holidaying with kids, you know that it is impossible to pack lightly, so we especially appreciated all the extra space! Our room offered fantastic views of the pool area and the reverse cycle air conditioner was a great attribute to warm the room up on a chilly winter’s afternoon. The best feature about the room though, is that it is very kid friendly. Our youngest is only 11 months old and gets into everything, so it was reassuring knowing that there weren’t any breakables within reach or any obstacles (such as glass coffee tables or sharp corners) that could potentially cause her harm. The drains in the shower and bathroom are designed so there are no holes for kids to get their fingers stuck in and there are no drawers (only shelves) for little ones to jam their fingers in. It’s these seemingly small safety considerations that are greatly appreciated by parents, so that we don’t spend the whole holiday worrying about what mischief the kids can get into!
There were so many activities for kids, that it was hard to decide what to try first! But our son made that decision easy and was adamant that we had to try out the pool and water park area first. The spa and pool are heated, which made for a lovely winter’s afternoon swim for us in the nice warm water. The water park areas are not heated, but that did not seem to bother all the kids, young and old, who were keen to get amongst the action of the giant buckets tipping water, the various hoses and jets, and all the slides. There are two water park play areas; one section for the toddlers/young kids up to 5 years old, and a bigger play area for kids aged 5 years and up. This ensures the younger kids have a safe haven to play without the bigger kids impeding on it. With party music playing throughout the day and also various stage shows and activities within the area, the pools area had such a fun atmosphere, which all the kids and adults really enjoyed. Surrounding the pool area, there are plenty of deck chairs and sun lounges for those who wish to laze by the pool or simply sit and watch the kids swim. There are no lifeguards on duty, so all kids must be supervised by their parents within the pools.
After a lovely afternoon dip in the pool and spa, we went out exploring. The map provided at check in came in very handy and there was plenty of signage around the resort to help us find our way around. With so much to see and do, we wanted to make sure that we didn’t miss out on anything! Over the other side of the water play area we found an adventure playground. There were slides and climbing ropes, seesaws and activity boards all within a giant sand pit. The adventure playground was a fantastic area for the kids to run around and burn off energy without the risks of slipping over in the water park and best of all, the playground is covered with shade sails to help protect the kids from those nasty UV rays!
The next stop was the games room, which was home to a great selection of coin operated pinball machines, arcade games and skill tester machines. This area was more suited to the bigger kids, and we found my husband entertaining himself with a classic game of Street Fighter, whilst my son was begging us for coins to use the chocolate bar skill tester machine. The games room is located within the building for Zone 4 Kids. Unfortunately with just the one night’s stay, we did not have enough time to book our kids in for a Zone 4 Kids session, but it would be an amazing opportunity for parents to have their children supervised and entertained while parents enjoy some time to themselves. This would present the perfect opportunity for parents to relax by the pool in the Poolside Cafe and Bar and have a quiet drink or you could even book in for a night time session and enjoy a kid-free dinner! The Zone 4 Kids area also hosts open free-play sessions at various times throughout the day so that parents can take the kids in for a play on the equipment, which is what we did with our two kids. The older kid’s area has an amazing glow in the dark playground, a pedal car track, a basketball ring and an arts and crafts section, just to name a few of awesome kids club features. After seeing how much fun our son was having in the free-play session, we would certainly have no hesitations about booking him in for a session during our next stay.
The pool areas shut at 9pm at night, so once that deadline came, the resort was quiet, and with the block out curtains in the room, we enjoyed a good night’s sleep, ready for our adventures the next morning.
Our accommodation package included a full buffet continental breakfast within the Bistro Zagame’s Restaurant, so we started our morning with the all you can eat cereals, toast, yoghurt, fruit and pastries. An a la carte menu for hot breakfast is also an option to add on to your buffet continental breakfast, so we also tried out the big breakfast and pancakes. The food was absolutely delicious and the a la carte meals were a very generous size; we definitely felt that we received great value for money with our meals! We loved the fact that Bistro Zagame’s offered such a relaxing dining experience. Most parents will agree that trying to eat in a restaurant with kids can be very stressful, but with the majority of the other diners being families staying within the resorts, no one bats an eyelid if there is a kid banging cutlery on the table or babies throwing their food on the floor. The restaurant staff are also very patient and understanding and it was wonderful to see them interacting with the kids too. We rolled out of the restaurant feeling very full and fuelled up for our morning adventures. Paradise Resort also offers a Poolside Bar Service for drinks and meals, and also has Splashes Mini-Mart with a huge selection of munchies and snacks, as well as a selection of grocery items for any essentials that may have been missed when packing.
For our morning activity, we decided to test out Planet Chill, which is the indoor ice skating rink, located just above the lobby within Paradise Resort. The two female staff members were most helpful in getting our skates and helping our son out on to the ice. Planet Chill even caters for the little skaters, with beginner’s skates that have two blades and strap on to your child’s closed shoes, and also the penguin skating aides which the littlies can hold on to for balance. These were absolutely brilliant for our almost 3 year old son, to help him get used to the ice as it was his first attempt at ice skating. The staff were even most helpful with hubby who had never been ice skating before and encouraged him to get out on the ice and have a go. He refused the penguin skating aides, so one of the staff members took some time to personally teach him the basics of ice skating.
For the rest of the morning, the kids were kept entertained with the various activities run by Paradise Resort around the pool and cafe area. The organised activities provided by the Resort Entertainment Crew includes activities such as fun games and challenges, arts and crafts, stage shows, movies and even a jelly eating competition is featured. The Paradise Resort characters – Captain, Cleo, Astro and Dusty also make appearances and are more than happy to pose for photos with the kids. The enthusiasm displayed by the staff was awesome, as they encouraged the kids to participate and made the kids feel special and involved within the activities.
Sadly, check out time seemed to come around way too fast. We were all having so much fun that we didn’t want to leave. At this point we were really wishing we had booked in for a second night to take full advantage of all the activities and facilities that Paradise Resort has to offer. With so much on offer within Paradise Resort itself, we did not even get a chance to venture outside the resort to see the rest of Surfers Paradise or even get down to the beach nearby.
Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Paradise Resort and highly recommend it for families! It certainly lives up to its reputation of being a fantastic family orientated resort, and we loved the fact that kids can be kids. The location is perfect and the resort has so much to offer in the way of entertainment and activities for the kids to keep them busy. Every single one of the staff members who we spoke to were so friendly and helpful, which just made our stay even more enjoyable and they all went out of their way to ensure we had a fabulous time. Our son is already asking when we can go back, so there is no doubt we will be returning for another stay in the near future! Next time we will be sure to stay at least two nights.
Teena Kanafani is a Gold Coast mum who loves to explore and write about the family friendly Gold Coast.