It’s no secret that we have a soft spot for kids. Stroll into the Spice Trail any day during the height of the east coast season, and you’ll find yourself amidst a pack of wild little humans let loose by their parents. You’ll see them running through our long stretch of garden, stuffing their faces with treats from our kids’ menu, having the time of their lives in the pool… Basically, making the kind of mayhem that puts a smile on any face.
Every season, we meet a few kids who make the Spice Trail their home for a few weeks and fit right in with the ease of an east coast holiday schedule. Little René—who came to stay at the Spice Trail with his parents one season—is one of these pro holidayers who had a great time with us. He put all our kid-related resources to such good use, that he got us patting ourselves on the back for all the time, thought, and effort that we put into making the Spice Trail one of the most child-friendly places in the bay.
Little René mastered the trick that helped him speak to everyone working at the Spice Trail. He learnt that all he had to do to strike up a new conversation was to call any of the men ‘uncle’, and the ladies ‘aunty’. Soon, he was making after-breakfast appointments with the bartender to sweep the bar, the Bites crew to take muffins out of the oven, and our sous chef, who really needed René’s supervision to chop up those veggies right. But, what René really got into was helping the pool-uncle pick out leaves from the water using that impressively long net—someone’s gotta do it, right?
From the very beginning, we recruited our team favouring people who enjoy the company of kids, had a good grip of their parental instincts and on-point peripheral vision to keep track of those wandering little feet, so that holidaying parents could take a load off and chill. This has gone a long way in terms of getting kids to feel comfortable enough to pursue their curiosities at the Spice Trail, and actually grow from this experience of being away from home.
An unexpected kid favourite that we discovered through René is how the gardens at the Spice Trail lend to the imagination of many children, and help them bring stories to life. We often see our diners, visitors to the bar, guests, and even staff watch in amusement as kids play invented games like trading collected garden flowers and daring one another to run through the ‘witch’s forest’ (as in, the tree-shaded pathway between our villas) alone at dusk.
Talking to René about his favourite things when living at the Spice Trail, hanging out in our kiddie pool with his watermelon floating tube came pretty high up in the list. He even met a little girl whose watermelon swimsuit perfectly matched his floating tube, and together, they made it their day’s mission to chase crows away from the garden with water guns—afternoon remembered only too well by our service staff who, for once, didn’t have to keep an eye on those pesky crows who hang around waiting for unattended plates.
For many parents at the Spice Trail, the pool becomes a serious relief as a fun, interactive place to have their kids entertained while they relax, or join in to play. Seeing how often children meet new friends and begin to interact with people from different cultures around the world through water play, we think the Spice Trail pool is one of the best places in the bay for kids to socialise and engage.
Of course, no amount of pool fun compares to the OG of all water related fun— the ocean. Being just a walk away from Arugam Bay’s main point, our young guests get to spend a lot of time exploring the beach, swimming and digging sand to their hearts’ content. For parents, we think it’s priceless to be within a space that is so expansive that kids can’t possibly make a mess, even if they tried; sand, water, pee, poop, rolling, running, screaming, throwing, whatever… bring it all on—no problem.
Another big favourite for René, and many other kids here, are the Spice Trail’s resident canines— Sata-Panaha and Mini. Sata-Panaha, meaning fifty-cent (more of a reference to her level of usefulness rather than any secret links to gangster rap) and Mini (short for Minion) often become best buds with kids and are probably the most photographed members of the Spice Trail crew. You see them following around the little ones they befriend, playing and sometimes even sharing a quiet moment together under a big, shady tree.
Saving the sweetest for last, René tells us that the thing he actually really loved about staying here, is waking up to find himself sharing a room with his parents. We’ve talked about how our villas were designed with the idea of a private little nest in mind; and we see how for a child, this space interprets as a place of safety, and most importantly, of a greater closeness to family. Now, isn’t that the best thing to feel when you’re a little thing in a big world?
So, yes; little ones are the ultimate VVIPs at the Spice Trail, because after all, happy kids means happy parents. Besides, children still believe this world is a unanimously beautiful place; so, why not give them more reason to keep that idea alive? Hopefully one day, they’ll be the ones to make that dream real.
So, bring your little mayhem makers here. The Spice Trail is just the place to match their curiosity, energy and madness while you look on from your blissfully sane pool chair, wishing you never had to leave. It’s all here waiting for you. See you soon!