Travel is about experiencing a place so completely different than your world. Whether that means the alleys of India, or the posh streets of Dubai, immersing yourself in the world of the “other” makes life more meaningful.
At least this is what I am telling myself as I research Fodor’s LA 2015. For this guidebook update, I have been spending hours in luxury properties in Beverly Hills where some selling points of hotels are the backdoor entrances for people who have recently had “work” done and come to the hotel to “relax”.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining. Nor being spoiled. Not in the slightest.
I like to be pampered just like the next gal.
It’s fun to receive chocolate and champagne in my room that is decked out in furniture that likely costs more than my college degree.
I can’t get enough of the thirteen thousand thread count sheets.
It’s amazing to get massaged, or have a facial, or soak in the mineral pools.
It’s decadent to eat on a poolside rooftop restaurant with celebrities, movers and shakers with a green juice in one hand and a latte in the other.
I can’t get enough of kids’ clubs offering to entertain my kids so my husband and I can “pack up our suitcases” (wink wink).
But I am starting to worry, just a little, about the effects of all this fancy-ness on my kids, my husband and myself.
Will my sweet boys grow up to only want to stay at Montage Beverly Hills (an amazing property well worth the gazillion dollars it costs to sleep in their ridiculously comfy beds)?
Or will they never want to travel?
Will they expect hoteliers to wow them with amenities? Or will nothing be worth the hassle of checking in and out of a property–an experience my boys have accompanied me on no less than 12 times since the end of November?
Right now, they love hotels. As I do. They love the kind staff; the sweet treats; exploring the endless hallways and pools and restaurants. But how long before they will not be able to travel the way we can afford to travel because they are used to luxury?
My husband on the other hand is made for luxury. He takes three showers a day under the rain showers and lathers himself in the soaps and lotions left for our use. When asked about which newspaper he wants in the morning, his stock answer is yes, all of them, please. And he deserves to stay at fancy properties. He works hard and has to put up with me making him change hotels every night.
But frankly, all this luxury occasionally makes my skin crawl. $18000 suites with private butlers were not created for me. Give me a hammock, a beach, some warm sun, and a simple room, and I am happy.
However, that is not the world I am currently immersed in.
And while I do this, I get to have fun watching g-string clad girls walk through parking lots on their way to the pool in hopes to be noticed by some mover or shaker; and watching the staff get gaga over some movie star who seems to just want a place to hide from everyone else.
That’s when I realize that having all the money in the world to spend at a fancy hotel isn’t the goal, at least for me. A bed is a bed. A roof–as long as it doesn’t leak–is a roof. And though a hotel in Beverly Hills is not the same as a hotel in Des Moines, a hotel in Beverly Hills is a mere gateway into another world, one that the 99% might never see, but should. Because a night in what some consider heaven has the power to remind us all that it’s better to strive for contentedness than reaching for the unattainable.
So I return to my twenty dollar glass of wine, take out my computer, and try to figure out how to make sense of all the excessiveness for my readers. Not the worst job in the world.