When Josh Shear and his wife, Karen, decided to have a baby, they wanted to make the conception part of the process special. So the Valparaiso, Ind., couple planned a vacation.
"We wanted to get away anyway so we decided to plan our start around vacation," says Shear. "We wanted to ... go somewhere and enjoy ourselves."
Although they didn’t know it at the time, the Shears were participating in a growing trend called procreation vacations. The term was popularized by Starwood Hotels and Resorts, which launched procreation vacation packages at its resorts on Grand Bahama Island, St. John and Puerto Rico last year. Although it took about six months for the packages to really gain momentum, Bill Thompson, the brand director of sales and marketing in the Caribbean for Starwood, says they have "really taken off."
"It kind of originated out of a dinner I had almost two years ago. We were sitting at dinner talking about kids, and we got on the subject of just how hard it is for dual-working families to have kids and the limited relaxing time you have," he says. "We thought, why don’t we have a getaway vacation."
The Starwood packages feature a couple’s massage, a romantic dinner for two at a resort restaurant and all the pumpkin soup and seaweed elixir the couple can stomach—according to Caribbean folklore, they help increase fertility.
Although no major Chicago hotels currently offer procreation vacation packages, many offer packages just for couples. The Fairmont Chicago, for example, offers an "Escape to Romance" package starting at $169 per night that includes a complimentary breakfast-in-bed for two and a Kama Sutra Weekender Kit.
According to Dr. Edmond Confino, reproductive endocrinology at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, "There is no scientific evidence to recommend a vacation" when trying to conceive, but that isn’t stopping the Shears from planning another procreation vacation. They had such success with their first vacation (they went to Florida last May and were pregnant by June with their son, Matthew) that they’re going away again for kid number two.
"We’re doing it again in May in Vegas. It’s already planned," says Shear.
For more information about Starwood’s packages, visit www.starwoodhotels.com and to book a stay at the Fairmont, go to www.fairmont.com/chicago or call (800) 257-7544.