Having a blended family can be very exciting, but also exhausting. We are two adults, three children and a dog. Now, perhaps the easiest part of this experience is taking care of the dog, because he is always with us. He is the one member of the household that never leaves to visit the other parent.
Our children are very close in age: my girls are 14 and 11 and my husband´s son is 12. The girls visit their dad every other weekend, and the boy spends every other entire week with us. His mom lives in the same city as we do; that´s a cinch. But the girls’ father lives 225 miles away. So when we meet halfway, it´s still over a 3-hour drive for each of us, plus the time we spend catching up on kid news.
Sometimes, when it coincides that the three children will be with their other parent, my husband and I become Seekenders and plan a weekend getaway for ourselves. We either go all the way to Miami to visit my in-laws, or we stop at Sanibel or Naples, Florida, where I used to live.
We´re both writers and are also business partners, so while other couples might take a break from work during such getaways, we turn them into our unique way of catching up and enjoying each other. Without having to cook, take care of the house or shuttle the kids to school or the skatepark, we can write to our heart’s content. But we also have business meetings, and we always manage to fit in fun date nights. It really is a special time, and come Sunday night, we´re refreshed and ready to enjoy the madness of our blended family life.
Our last Seekender adventure took us to Hampton by Hilton in downtown Naples, Florida. The location is perfect. It’s just a couple of miles away from chic dining and shopping on 5th avenue, the beach, discount stores and the mall. When we arrived I caught my breath on the clean and fresh Hampton bed®. I only wish I had that same service at home! Clean duvet covers and sheets, and comfy pillows that helped me melt the stress away.
The next morning I was pleasantly surprised by the wholesome breakfast buffet. My husband is usually the first of the two to wake up at home. But on this weekend I enjoyed my breakfast downstairs while I caught up on social media (taking advantage of the free wi-fi in the guestrooms and lobby). Then I took a Hampton´s On the Run™ breakfast bag to my hubby. It was great to have my second coffee with him in the room overlooking the pool.
Since it turned out to be a rainy Saturday, I did a brief workout in the exercise room. Sports is a huge part of my life, even when I´m traveling.
That evening we managed to catch the sunset on Naples beach, by the Pier. That is a very special beach to me. It’s the very first I went to when I moved from Spain eleven years ago. That’s where my youngest daughter first dipped her toes in the ocean when she was 4 months old. I´ve lost count of how many sunsets I´ve watched there, how many strolls and runs I’ve had along the shore. How many weekends and evenings making sandcastles with my girls. And this time I was returning with the love of my life. The man who stole my heart after I thought it had perhaps been broken one time too many.
Date night at Naples Dock was exactly what we needed. Beer, fish and chips and the gulf breeze, only a few miles from our Hampton by Hilton location on US. 41.
One of the things I most enjoy during my time away from home as a Seekender is taking a bath without worrying about the kids knocking on the door. So that´s how I spent Sunday morning before we picked up my girls to turn back and come home. In the meantime, my husband graded student papers from the college where he teaches writing and also did a little work on his next novel.
Don´t tell my daughters, but we were able to make a quick run to Miromar Outlet Mall that is just a 20-minute drive, and my husband, who dislikes shopping, updated his wardrobe, to my relief.
My sister in law was thrilled that we stayed at her favorite hotel, Hampton by Hilton. On our way back home we chatted with her on the phone – she´d seen our pictures on social media. As a Hilton HHonors member (she´s a frequent traveler) her favorite feature is the digital check-in room selection tool. With it she logs into her account before her trip and chooses the exact room she wants. She can also customize her amenity requests. And when she arrives at the hotel, she is ready to relax after a long day of work.
All I can say is we thoroughly enjoyed the friendly service that made our stay in Naples, Florida, even more special.
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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Hampton by Hilton. The opinions and text are all mine.