I have a confession to make. On my solo journey to Mexico coming up at the end of May, I’ve been invited to stay at a luxury, all-inclusive hotel on the Riviera Maya.
And I’m looking forward to it.
Now, if you regularly read this blog you will know that I. Love. Boutique. Hotels.
Hell, I run a company dedicated to helping boutique hotels all over the world thrive. I don’t need to defend my love of all things boutique.
But in speaking with some other industry folks as I plan this journey, I’ve sensed a demeaning attitude towards my decision stay at, experience and write about big all-inclusive resorts.
And I’ve become a bit defensive.
Now, I can’t really blame these naysayers. I have to admit I’ve been guilty of the exact same thing. Sure, I’ve said a number of times, “I would NEVER go on a cruise, yuck.” And for a long time, if I didn’t have to pack my passport the trip simply wasn’t worth leaving the house.
But these days I’m much more open minded about exploring places we can reach in our trusty Honda Pilot.
As I’ve started getting a bit defensive about my selection of hotels for my May trip, I’ve tought about and learned a few things.
Don’t define yourself by your hotel selection. Define your experience by your hotel selection.
Selecting the right property can make or break a trip. And the right selection isn’t always boutique.
Ask yourself, what are you looking to get out of the trip?
For example, when it came to planning the first of my annual girlfriend getaways a few years ago, I was in the clear minority (ah-hem… the only one out of our group of 13!) when it came to hotel selection. I wanted to rent a private villa, enjoy our own beach, private pool and a chef to come in and prepare a few meals.
However, the rest of the gals (all working mothers I should add) were all about an adult-only all-inclusive. They didn’t want to have to think about anything at all. And fair enough. For a few short days at the beach, they didn’t want to give even a second’s thought to what to make for dinner, paying for drinks or coordinating a taxi to go somewhere.
And I get it.
And in May, as I’m traveling along the Riviera Maya and documenting my experiences here on this travel blog, I too am looking forward to a few days of simply relaxing and enjoying. Luxury at my beck and call? For this busy working mom, for a few short nights, yes please.
YOU are the maker of your own experiences, independent of where you rest your head.
Travel is about exploration, discovery, expanding our knowledge and our minds. But I can hear you thinking “well you’re NOT going to be able to do that at an all- inclusive in Mexico.” I know. I used to think that as well. But that’s just not true.
So what if the yoga isn’t good at the all-inclusive? Hop in a cab and head to the popular and well-respected place in town.
Interested in some local food? Skip the beachside chips and guacamole and wander into town for some street tacos.
It’s simple. The choice is yours as to how you experience and explore.
All stakeholders in the tourism ecosystem are capable of good things.
Small = good and big = bad. Well, it’s not always that black and white.
Tourism is a major contributor to global GDP. And the numbers cited here are likely quite low, because I believe that the total value of the Long Tail of travel (which I define here) has not been fully documented or calculated to date.
But of course big tourism can also be very, very bad for destinations. It’s complicated. And this is a topic I’d like to see debated and talked about at our industry’s conferences all over the world.
Bottom line, please, don’t be a hotel snob. Make informed and educated travel decisions. Blogs like this are a great place to begin with your research, as they are not scrubbed, clean, press releases but accurate and real time first hand information.
Are you a hotel snob? Or perhaps a recovering hotel snob like me? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
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