When Chloe came into our lives, our friends and family thought that would be the end to our avid travelling. Naturally, it wasn’t. Any daughter of ours would have our shared wanderlust in her blood. Chloe sat in her first business class seat at just a few months old. Start them young, we say.
For the first couple of years, our adventures with Chloe had always been within the United States – for practicality reasons more than anything – and on the whole our journeys have been pretty uneventful. When people realised that we were a family of three girls, most embraced us and others figured it was really none of their business anyway. But as Chloe got older, we wanted to start exploring further afield and expose her to new experiences. Then, we started to realise that we needed to be less spontaneous about the way we choose to travel and plan everything a little more.
We had heard a number of stories where international travel was challenging for gay families, throwing up things that heterosexual parents don’t need to think about. From carrying the full file of birth certificates, adoption papers, second-parent or any other custodial documentation for questioning immigration officials, to having to get a notorized ‘permission to travel’ letter done for each an every destination. And there are issues before you even leave America. The U.S. Department of State’s passport application for minors require the same, hefty proof of custodial requirements. While we fully understand the reasons why these protective measures are in place, it’s quite demeaning to travel as if you’re guilty until proven innocent.
Then of course there’s the destination and choice of hotel itself. Some places are just a no-go. You’d be surprised how many we had to take off our bucket list. A lot of it came down to ‘gay-intuition’ to determine how well we thought our family would be welcomed – not just in the destination, but by the hotel and its staff; and then by other travellers and families staying at the hotel. We were hardly a discrete couple in the days of travel before Chloe (we fondly call that time B.C.), but now we are always fully on display to everyone, all the time. Chloe knows that having two Moms is somewhat unique, but not a big deal – but heaven forbid that anyone would tell her otherwise.
We decided to try somewhere not too far from home, a beach holiday on the Riviera Maya, Mexico. Being big fans of Belmond, we had travelled to the Belmond Maroma Resort and Spa and loved our time there. It was casual, intimate, family-friendly and you could either escape from it all or be the life and soul of the party if you wanted. Having had experienced this lovely getaway resort for ourselves, our ‘gay intuition’ told us that we’d be ok here.
But just in case, we called ahead to book a room for “two Moms and a child” and braced for an answer. There was no awkward pause, the reservations agent openly referred to us as partners the whole time, even going as far to say at the end of the call that we had made a great choice and we were going to enjoy our time there as a family.
And she was absolutely right. Belmond Maroma Resort & Spa exceeded our expectations for our first trip abroad together. The setting is sublime before you even start, but what really made it special was how the staff went out of their way to pander to Chloe and her two mothers. Throughout our stay, the team couldn’t do more to help us have a great time – from Tia, who made us delicious quesadillas each morning, offering mini, extra-cheesy portions for Chloe; to Freddie at the bar that is his namesake, who entertained her the whole time, while pouring us endless glasses of delicious Mexican wine with frozen watermelon.
Not for one second did anyone even come close to question our legitimacy as a family unit. In fact, the team at the Belmond Maroma actually felt like one big, happy family itself and coming here felt very much like ‘coming home’. Plus Chloe made a new friend, another young lady from Brazil who was holidaying with her fabulous, straight parents who we ended up spending a lot of time with. We’ve kept in touch with them since, Chloe and Isabelle have regular Facetime conversations and they’re already planning their next Belmond holiday together!
by Lindsay and Martine Bridgewater
Photo credit: Frankie Photography
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