Dear Resort Vacations, we need to talk. I’ve loved you since my first stay in Bali in 1989. Mr Frugalfirstclass and I have had many wonderful experiences with you – including our wedding in Mauritius. I even took MissG on her first mother-daughter trip on a resort vacation. And we loved it. But you are making me feel uneasy. Don’t worry, it’s not you who’s changed, it’s me. Resort vacations just aren’t me anymore. A resort vacation makes me someone I’m not comfortable being…….
Reasons why resort vacations are the best type of holiday
I’m the first to admit, you do have many redeeming features.
You make me feel just so relaxed. In your airconditioned comfort, and huge king size bed, I always sleep like a baby. I often take a little Nanna nap in the afternoon. I love lolling around by your pool (or pools), where a cocktail or a snack is just a simple request away.
No matter where I am you always have such a beautiful outlook or vista for me to admire. You seem specifically designed to ensure that everything around me is just so pretty, so manicured, so perfect. From picture perfect sunrises, to dramatic colourful sunsets.
You are so clean and hygienic. Every day we return to our room and it is like brand new. The only smells are of the frangipani in the garden and the gardenia scent of the shower gel and body lotion in our show home fresh bathroom. And speaking of your bathroom, why do now spoil us with outdoor showers and plunge baths? Once upon a time you didn’t have them, and now we can’t even contemplate a resort stay without one……..
Then there’s your food. Ah, yes, your food. You know what I’m talking about, so don’t be coy about it. The breakfast buffet, where everything from an omelette to a croissant to a rice congee is within easy reach. The fact that you let us keep going back for plate after plate after plate……. You make MissG a hot chocolate, so perfectly decorated it puts even a trendy hipster Sydney barista to shame. Then there’s the lunch, the pool snacks and the dinner buffet. Dessert after dessert after dessert – you wicked, wicked thing, you!!
Your staff are always so perfect. We love them. They spoil MissG something terrible. No matter where we are, you always seem to be in a location where children are made to feel like princes and princesses. So polite, so quiet, so attentive and respectful. They always get to know us so well, that by the time we leave, we don’t need to ask for our favourite table. They know our coffee order at breakfast. We feel spoilt, with every smile, and every “you’re welcome, Madame”.
But there are things you do that drive me crazy………
You appear so perfect, you lull me into a false sense of security. Like a suave, smooth talking boyfriend you think you can get away with anything. But your “perfection” doesn’t fool me…….oh, no, I’m onto you!
That buffet. The devil incarnate. It always makes me feel guilty for eating so much. It’s always so crowded. People behave so rudely – pushing in, overfilling their plates, stuffing their faces, and worst of all – stealing food to eat later! How does this happen? Instead of our breakfast being a relaxing, enjoyable start to our day, we spend the time whinging and whining about our fellow vacationers. Such a negative vibe….. At dinner, we sit trying to politely ignore the horrid table manners of other peoples’ children. We delicately sidestep the carnage on the floor around their tables – sometimes I think there’s more food on the floor than in the mouths……
You make it so easy for us to stay within you. The arguments we have with MissG to drag her away from the pool for a morning or an afternoon, let alone a whole day. When we do go out, it’s hot. Our hermetically sealed, air conditioned bubble is smashed. We get hot, we get sweaty, and we feel less relaxed……
Outside also smells. But not of frangipani and gardenia. It smells of strong local cigarettes, 2 stroke fumes from all the motorcycles. But worst of all it smells of rubbish. And sometimes sewerage. Sometimes it smells of delicious local street food, but somehow that’s not enough. It’s the rubbish and sewerage smells that seem to linger in our memories and nostrils. The really sad part is that outside smells “right”. It smells local, and real and authentic. You don’t – your smell is designed to seduce tourists, and while it’s delicious I hate you for it.
When there are groups of you, you often seem to bring out the worst in local people. You turn them into grasping, opportunistic caricatures of local people. No, I don’t want a massage. No, I don’t want my hair plaited (and no, neither does MissG). And no, I definitely don’t want a taxi…… I want to walk around your market. I want to wander your beach without being accosted. You make me so confused, that I don’t know what’s real. I get cynical. Are the staff in the resort so lovely because they fear losing their jobs if they aren’t? Is it all an elaborate charade to extract more money out of us for greedy corporate owners? Am I being rude to locals on the street just trying to make a buck, because I assume they are all out to rip me off?
I end up feeling I don’t understand your people. I leave your country and don’t have a real sense of place. This doesn’t happen when I travel, as opposed to staying put inside you. Yes, I love you. I love how Mr Frugalfirstclass, MissG and I have time to relax together as a family. I love how we don’t have to make a lot of decisions. I love how we have no “to do” list of sites and activities to see and do. I love how we have no deadlines. But you have to know, you will never be my true love. You have a place in my life, and always will, but touring and travelling is always where my heart belongs, and it always be my one true love.