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PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 2:51 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2010 3:29 pm
Posts: 6
Last month, we returned from a very relaxing family vacation at the Bahia Principe in Ocho Rios, Jamaica with our four year old peanut allergic son. I know many of you are hesitant about traveling to an all inclusive resort in the Caribbean but let me share our practically worry free experience with you.

Earlier this year, we were invited to attend a family wedding in November. I knew there was a 99.9% chance that we would not be able to go because as we all know, the chefs and cooks at these resorts that feed hundreds of people a day cannot possibly accommodate one or two persons with severe food allergies.

I decided to contact the resort’s executive chef before confirming with the bride and groom that we were not attending their wedding. I explained to him that my son has a peanut/tree nut allergy and that I had concerns regarding food safety practices. To my surprise, he told me that:
• They rarely have any peanuts/tree nuts in the kitchen and don’t use them when cooking or preparing meals.
• They prepare and cook everything in the kitchen including sauces and dressings.
• They use olive and soy oil only.
• He, and his sous chefs, were aware of food allergies and possible reactions.
• He would personally cook meals for my son or assign a sous chef to cook for him in a separate part of the kitchen using separate utensils as long as I gave him enough preparation time.

The things we had to be very cautions of were:
• The peanut butter at the breakfast buffet. We knew it was there and took extra precautions to avoid it. Our son didn’t mind eating pancakes or French toast with fresh fruit every morning.
• The desserts since they were not baked at the resort. We took our own baked chocolate chip cheesecake and kept it in the mini fridge in our room.
• Hot dogs and sausages since they were brought in.

We did our homework with the airline, resort and local medical facilities. There are risks associated with everything we do and we decided that this was a vacation we felt relatively comfortable taking.

We fed our son what we considered to be safe foods all prepared at the resort: pizza, cheese, plain pasta or rice, grilled fish or chicken, vegetables, cucumbers, fresh fruit. While our son didn’t enjoy the variety of food that he normally does at home, he certainly didn’t complain or miss out.

I also packed snacks like granola bars, raisons, crackers, applesauce, etc., for mid morning and afternoon munching. He enjoyed these with fresh fruit as well.

We flew on Sunwing Airlines. They did not serve peanuts. However they told us that they were going to serve an inflight meal and couldn’t guarantee that it was ‘safe.’ I was already aware of this, as we’ve flown with our son many times, and took food for him to enjoy on board. To my surprise, they served a peanut free snack that we declined.

This may not be an experience that many/most of you would consider ‘safe enough.’ For us, it was nice to finally spend a week relaxing on the beach without having to shop, cook and clean up. It was also a good learning experience for our son as he had to be super cautious at the airport, on an airplane, bus and at a resort. He was also exposed to the resort's buffet restaurant every day so he had to learn how to select 'safe' foods for himself (this is not a practice we continue at home).

We all had a great time and our son, along with his three year old sister had a memorable experience. If you’re interested in traveling to this wonderful destination, feel free to contact the executive chef, Carlos Perez Braida at executivecheffbpjam@bahia-principe.com. He was fantastic.


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PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2011 9:55 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2011 2:20 pm
Posts: 150
Location: Barrie Ontario Canada
I know this was posted months ago but I am in the middle of considering an all inclusive resort trip with a bunch of friends. I am trying to contact the resorts to see if they are willing to accommodate my allergy. Reading your post makes me think this might actually be possible. I just need to plan ahead and be careful. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful experience!

_________________
Sarah
Outgrew: Wheat, corn, egg, chicken, to name a few
Sensitive to Milk/Dairy products
Allergic to: Tree nuts, percocet, toradol, environmental allergies and chemical allergies
Migraines caused by scented products, barometric pressure


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PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2011 9:59 pm 
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Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2008 11:00 am
Posts: 1119
Glad this was bumped as I missed it the first time.

That is great to read of the fantastic experience at the resort. We would love to do an all-inclusive one year...

_________________
me: allergic to crustaceans plus environmental
teenager: allergic to hazelnuts, some other foods and environmental


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PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 11:25 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 02, 2010 11:52 pm
Posts: 58
Location: Alberta
We have done 3 all-inclusives with our peanut allergic (anaphylactic) son. One was a repeat since I felt safe there and that was the Gran Bahia Principe in the Mayan Riviera. The one piece of advice I have (besides the usual food precautions) is to make sure you know your proximity and plan to a hospital with an emergency dept. These resorts tend to say they have medical staff on site but sometimes the doctors have to be called in from neighbouring towns.

I always travel with tons of snacks and assume airline food is not for us so we pack lunches. Also consider you may not be able to find safe food in the airport as well...our international airport has a section past security where the only food kiosk is a Tim Hortons which is on our not safe list.

It can be done but takes a lot of planning.

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DS 1: anaphylactic to peanuts, allergic to fish
DS 2: asthma


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PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2011 7:12 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6465
Location: Ottawa
There are some great articles on the website about travelling.
Click on the Magazine tab at the top of this page and you'll open another page. On that page, click on the travel tab for a list of sections.
Here's one article to geet you started.
http://allergicliving.com/index.php/201 ... od/?page=1

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Moderator
Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2011 9:39 am 
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Joined: Wed Sep 28, 2011 11:00 am
Posts: 2
Sarah388 wrote:
I know this was posted months ago but I am in the middle of considering an all inclusive resort trip with a bunch of friends. I am trying to contact the resorts to see if they are willing to accommodate my allergy. Reading your post makes me think this might actually be possible. I just need to plan ahead and be careful. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful experience!


Yes, some resorts or hotels are very responsive and others are not. For me it's been hit and miss. I have found some websites that list hotels that have an allergy accommodation program (Hotel Palm Springs Las Vegas Hotels for Kids) which is useful if you are visiting those cities. Overall, I've come to the conclusion that it is totally dependent upon staffing and customer service. At the more expensive resorts, I've been successful in confirming in advance but mid-priced, as I said above, has been hit and miss. There have been occasions where I never head back at all.

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"Don't find fault, find a remedy"


Last edited by SJerimiah on Thu Oct 20, 2011 8:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2011 12:18 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2007 2:45 pm
Posts: 802
Location: Vancouver, BC
I think I must have missed this thread the first time around, but I would like to say thank you for sharing your experience. Like you said, there are calculated risks that we need to take every day.

I haven't taken my kids outside of North America yet, but do have a trip to Australia booked! Their allergies are quite a big list, so we try not to rely on restaurants, and only stay in accommodations that have a kitchen.

_________________
DD 2004 Allergy to peanuts, egg, sesame, and new: lentils and chick peas
DS 2006 Allergy to peanuts, tree nuts, milk, egg, kiwi fruit, eczema


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