A Girlfriends Getaway: Self-Care for Moms
By Kara Bachman
While as a parenting magazine we can’t ever support unhealthy behaviors that set poor examples for kids and might lead to destructive addictions — such as gambling or heavy alcohol use — we also understand that parents at times enjoy activities that are strictly “adult.” For many, this may include a getaway to a casino or other resort primarily focused on the over-21 crowd.
As the gaming capital of the southern U.S., the Biloxi-Gulfport area is home to a number of casino resorts; they can serve a social and recreational role in the lives of responsible adults. The casinos often draw nationally-touring performers, offer dining, have excellent pools and spas, and let’s be honest…they give parents an occasional sense of escape.
While most see a visit to coast casinos as a summer activity, it’s clear some of the best deals for a “moms getaway” or couple’s weekend actually happen during the off-season. It’s during the colder months that a one- or two-night getaway can feel like a real escape. Hanging out on the beach isn’t an option until late spring, but the casino hotels are often very still and relaxing during the slower times.
As an example, I stayed recently at Harrah’s Casino, in Biloxi. Please note I am not making a recommendation of this casino over any other. They all offer different charms, and I must admit, Harrah’s isn’t necessarily my favorite. I also enjoy staying at and seeing shows at Hard Rock Casino, and the buffet at Beau Rivage is unparalleled. Each property offers something different. So, just to be clear…the following is not so much an endorsement as it is a description of how nice it can be to plan an off-season getaway at ANY casino resort.
My recent getaway happened with a female friend. The entire time, however, I kept noting how nice it would be for a couple. In this case, we chose Harrah’s because it offered an astonishingly low late January rate of under $50 a night for a well-appointed and clean room with a view of the Mississippi sound. In the colder winter months, it doesn’t eat into the pocketbook any more than would a night at a Motel 6!
Our two-day trip consisted of low-key “hanging out.” We slept late; since the hotel wasn’t even close to full, it was VERY quiet. I don’t gamble, but my friend spent a little time at the machines. This was actually a very small part of our “moms getaway” weekend. The property has a hot tub and a heated pool, so even during winter and spring, it’s possible to enjoy those amenities.
Both nights, we ate an affordably-priced buffet. Most coast casino properties offer similar buffets. We liked it well enough to do it twice. However, for a romantic couple’s trip, a visit to one of the more upscale restaurants would be a nice option.
On our second day, we booked massages at the in-house spa. The rates were a little pricier than your average massage, but the facility was not “average.” It was almost Zen-like. Booking of any spa services granted admission to the spa’s gender-segregated wet areas, featuring indoor tubs of different temperatures, steam room, and staff who brought snacks, water, eucalyptus-scented towels, and an especially nice treat during winter: warm herbal teas. I spent much of an afternoon
in the wet area and reading a book and drinking tea in the women’s lounge space. Moms, it feels SO GOOD to take a break from “regular life” and treat yourself to an afternoon of tranquility!
These things aren’t necessarily specific to Harrah’s — many casinos offer excellent rates during the off-season, particularly on weekdays, which is when we booked our stay. Many have spas of the caliber of the Harrah’s spa. Most casino websites will give full details on amenities, so you can compare.
Whether you’re planning a couple’s getaway or a “moms” retreat where between two or four ladies can share room costs, it’s a low-key and affordable way to get away from the demands of parenting for a little while. After all, self-care is just as important as caring for others.
We might be at the tail end of the season offering the cheapest room rates, but really, until school lets out, there will still be many deals to be had. Make sure to find a babysitter, or ask your partner to pick up the slack in childcare while you refresh and recharge. Go ahead, drive on down to the coast — there’s nothing wrong with spending a day or two focusing only on YOU.
Kara Bachman is an author, editor, and mom of two teenage kids who loves getting away from it all.