Tag Archives: novotel twin waters

Alli discovers the true meaning of “family-friendly fun”

25 Mar

Grand Mercure Twin Waters on the lagoon

A few weeks ago, Genine challenged me to take three glorious days off – no email, no phone calls, no work. Sounds simple, but as a “poor me” workaholic from way back, I find it super difficult to switch off.I needed a mini break. I needed time with my beautiful son and husband.

I needed time to play and laugh and giggle and breathe.We needed to get away to somewhere without a lap top and work files! So, we headed to one of our favourite places in the world, the Sunshine Coast, thanks to the generosity of the  4.5 star Grand Mercure Apartments Twin Waters.

Now, I’m going to be frank. We hadn’t really considered staying at Twin Waters. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a fabulous resort, but that’s the problem. It’s a resort. And we’re more of an apartment / holiday house family. Typically, resort-type rooms don’t really suit a young family who likes to spread out.

Since having our son, we hadn’t considered a Twin Waters holiday. That was my problem – I was thinking only of the Novotel Twin Waters, the Grand Mercure’s neighbour. I wasn’t aware that right next door was heaven for families.


Here’s the deal. The Novotel is all about family fun. Activities-a-go-go. There’s the lake and its many water faring activities – kayaking, sailing, trampolining (although it was closed for maintenance on our visit). There’s sandcastle building for the little ones. There are bikes to hire and several pools to swim in. There’s a kids’ club. There are organised activities each and every day to suit children of all ages. And there are three restaurants and a bar.Honestly, it’s the perfect place to take an almost-three-year-old for a mini break. But, as I discovered, you don’t have to stay at the Novotel to access these activities.

Staying at the Grand Mercure comes with complete access to the resort, so you can choose to stay in a self-contained apartment or beach house and still make the most of the activities at the resort, as we did on our stay.

The bedrooms are spacious, with an ensuite off the master (with the most fabulous bath tub!). Our room had a beautiful balcony that overlooked the resort’s lagoon, complete with barbeque – perfect for a young family with a toddler who his the sack at 7:30pm, as we could throw a few steaks on the barbeque, open a bottle of wine and enjoy the serenity. Which is exactly what we did.

View from our room

But the best bit for me, a try-hard cook, was the kitchen. Sure, it was super big with all the shiny equipment you’d expect from a quality apartment. But the devil is in the detail. You name it; it was hidden away in a drawer or cupboard. Platters galore (hate it when you have to use a dinner plate as a cheese platter!), every utensil known to man, and about a million different kinds of glasses. Heaven. However, the real heaven for me was the time-off with my boys.

We sailed.


We played in the sand.

Sand play!

We kayaked. We swam in the pool (the Grand Mercure boasts three swimming pools as well as bicycle and walking tracks that wind around the central lagoon).


We did craft (how I hate craft, I did it all the same). We built cubby houses.We played. We laughed. We bonded. We celebrated being a family. I would urge families everywhere to consider the Grand Mercure Twin Waters Apartments. You can choose to lie low in your beautiful apartment or engage in the family-friendly fun at the resort. Do as little or as much as you like, but do it together. As a family.

We will definitely take our little boy back to the Grand Mercure Twin Waters, and next time we will stay longer and might even head to the beach, which incidentally, is right across the street. And there will definitely be a next time.


Grand Mercure Apartments Twin Waters still has availability for the Easter break and is offering fantastic rates starting from just $220 per night in a two bedroom apartment for a minimum 5 night stay. Call  5450 6129 or visit www.grandmercureapartments.com.au.



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Alli returns to the land of the living from the world of work detox …

28 Feb

Alli's adorable boys ...

Last week, Genine challenged me to go 72 hours without working. Yep, I’m a work-a-holic, and while I have played the ‘poor me’ martyr card for a while now, I realised recently that it’s not the least bit impressive nor cool to work so much, especially when it’s to the detriment of your family. Working has become an addiction, so it was time to go cold turkey. Someone get my thermals, please!

Challenge accepted. But could I switch off my brain as well as my electronic devices? Hmm …

Day one (Friday): Clock off at 5pm. The laptop was closed and I immediately felt a little isolated. Didn’t help that my husband worked until 10pm as I tend to put in a few hours of writing (on the couch, with a wine, in front of bad reality TV) when he’s working late. I certainly thought about ‘just checking in’ a couple of times but instead busied myself with packing for our weekend escape to the Grand Mercure Apartments Twin Waters on the Sunshine Coast (the perfect family break for us – review to come).

View from our room

Day two (Saturday): Early start, as usual, and like a homing pigeon I woke and immediately walked to my laptop to fire it up for the day. Pause. Oh, that’s right; I’m on a work detox. So I threw my laptop in the pantry. Yep, the pantry. Out of sight, out of mind. 

Car loaded, off to Queensland’s stunning Sunshine Coast, via the kennel. So, my husband was inside with the dog, the boy was watching a DVD in the backseat and I was alone. Naturally, I did what I always do when I have a few minutes spare; I picked up my phone and touched the message function. Oh no! I immediately remembered and quickly threw my phone in my bag. Close call. Phew!

After a short detour to the movies to check out Alvin and the Chipmunks, it was time to check-in to the Grand Mercure which was just what the detox doctor ordered; a dose of four and a half star self-contained apartments with a serving of family-friendly resort on the side (at the Novotel Twin Waters). What a discovery this place was!

For the next 48 hours we relaxed. We hung out and did family things. We kayaked, we sailed, we built sand castles, we swam in not one but two pools, we crafted (yes people, I crafted – a lot!), we constructed things out of play-doh, we built a cubby house, we hid in the enormous built-in wardrobes and giggled, we walked around the lake checking out the lizards and turkeys … we did normal family things. And it was bliss!

Evidence of sailing

Admittedly, I did have a moment on Saturday afternoon when I thought, ‘Hey, I’m doing really well at this no technology / no work thing – maybe I should jump on Facebook and tell my friends’. I shit you not, for a fleeting moment I was contemplating using technology to tell you all how well I was doing not using technology. Doh!

And contrary to Genine’s allegations, I didn’t falter. Okay, just once, and not on Saturday as accused, but on Monday morning. It was a call I simply had to return as it was to do with our soon-to-be-released book, but I promise I clocked back off immediately …

All-in-all, I did pretty well, although I often thought of work and what I might be missing. On the positive, I talked to my husband – lots! We ate bad but delicious food (how I have missed you White Castello cheese) and drank too much grog (incidentally have you discovered the Skinnygirl range of cocktails? Delicious and low cal!). We reconnected as a couple and as a little family. Watching my husband and son play without the distraction of my laptop or phone was really special, and something I plan on doing a heck of a lot more of. They’re just too cute!

Evidence of sand fun

Despite the weather trying to literally put a dampener on our family escape, we had a ball and discovered our soon-to-be-regular holiday destination in the Grand Mercure Twin Waters Apartments. It’s ideal for a family who likes to spread out in a self-contained apartment, but boy, did we underestimate the fun to be had at the neighbouring Novotel Twin Waters – just across the lake. I’ll be sure to post a review soon as we just adore this place.

Evidence of craft! Yes I crafted ...

I won’t lie. I had a few feelings of fear and of isolation. I worried about what I was missing. And I felt a little overwhelmed at the thought of being ‘behind’ in my work. But I got there – perhaps I just need a little more practice? I did find it hard to switch the old brain off … next challenge is to learn meditation!

So, I’m back. At 5:00pm last night I clocked back on to the world of iPhones and emails and laptops and Facebook. A world of chatting, replying, sending, blogging, posting, poking, tweeting and liking.

Evidence of pool play

I know now I can do it. And it’s all up to me. I have to set boundaries and stick to them. I have to make time just for my family – and to be absolutely present when with them. I have to take a cup of cement, hard the you-know-what up, and accept that the world won’t stop if I stop working. 



PS – Seriously, if you’re looking for a family-friendly holiday, head to www.grandmercureapartments.com.au or phone 5450 6129. The rates are excellent, and while you’ll be staying in a flash self-contained apartment, you can access ALL the fun of the Novotel Twin Waters Resort. Will share a review soon …

Grand Mercure Twin Waters

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