I mentioned this offhandedly the other day, and it’s something I have to remind myself of whenever I’m tempted by a resort type holiday. Let me explain. It all started in 2011, aka that time we stayed in a resort down the road from Split, in Croatia…
It had been a busy time (I think; I honestly can’t remember) and we thought we’d give a beach holiday a try, having been city break people up until that point. I found a hotel deal, off we went, and then we realised there was an actual real life living breathing Roman palace 40 minutes walk away.
And then we spent our 5 day holiday walking to and from one of the most amazing piece of living history I’ve ever seen. So why didn’t we just stick to our perfectly nice hotel by the beach?
[Here’s the hotel pool, so you can see how nice it is. It was so nice! But we never sat by it.]
I get bored
My favourite travel activities involve the following:
- Beautiful historical buildings, preferably with interesting stories attached to them that I can learn about
- Natural beauty
- Low-key local eateries
Now name me one resort that contains any of those.
[Split is definitely a whole host of beautiful historic buildings, with more interesting stories to it than I can ever hope to learn]
Maybe I’ll reach a point in life where all I want to do is catch up on my reading by a pool with a cocktail in hand, although at this point I’m mostly teetotal and I can catch up on my reading on my balcony any weekend I like. I just don’t have the pool part fixed up just yet.
That’s not to bash anyone who does enjoy a resort holiday – we’re all different, and that’s ok. I think my issue is paying all that money to go somewhere, and then not seeing any of the things that I personally enjoy.
I hate buffets
This probably makes me a snob but my idea of a bad time is a busy buffet. Not only do people turn into actual zoo animals when faced with that much free food, but there’s never anything that’s gluten free (or hasn’t been cross contaminated by aforementioned animals who don’t know how to use buffet utensils properly). But not all resorts have buffets, I hear you cry! You’re just looking in the wrong places. Ok, well in my experience the alternative to a buffet is usually an overpriced on-site restaurant whose menu staunchly refuses to reflect anything resembling the local cuisine.
[Me about to enjoy some local cuisine]
I’m sure there are exceptions. Probably those giant mega-resorts where there are 17 on-site restaurants to choose from – ehh maybe that would work. But honestly I’d always rather try the local cuisine, wherever possible.
I want to understand
That sounds a bit obtuse but the following sentence doesn’t make a very snappy header: When I travel somewhere, I love trying to experience what life is like as a local. I realise I’ll never actually be a true New Yorker, or a Parisian. But maybe this is the crux of why I moved abroad; to try my hand at being a Sydneysider and living like a local.
[Oh, y’know, just doing my weekly shop in the shade of some almost 2,000 year old walls]
Anyway, that was a bit of a tangent. Basically, if you stay at a resort you may as well be anywhere. I’ll admit this isn’t always the case; I think people in an overwater bungalow in Bora Bora probably appreciate their unique surroundings just fine. But the resorts I’ve stayed in have been very stylish however not reflective of local culture at all.
They are remote
This is probably the main selling point for some people. For me, it’s quite the opposite. I’ve found that resorts tend to be far away from centres of habitation, for cost and space reasons. Again, not always. Those bungalows in Bora Bora are right where you want to be. And most resorts are designed for people who like to stay put and enjoy the pool + cocktails. But if you’re like me and you want to go and see stuff, you’ll end up always having to take an expensive taxi or an annoying bus to get to where the sights are, and it’s a layer of hassle and cost that I just can’t be doing with.
[Just one more of Split. Because it’s so pretty]
So are you a resort person? What am I missing here?