Choosing a Beach Resort

Since N. and I first met five years ago, it has been our dream to go to a beach resort in the Caribbean. He’s never been and I’ve traveled quite a few times, always hoping that one day I’d meet a man who’d be special enough for me to want to share my vacation with him. As soon as I met N., it became clear that he was plenty special. There was only one problem: he was in the US in a student visa and people with his passport (Russian) tend to have trouble coming back into the country. Obviously, we didn’t want to take the risk of having them denied the chance to return.

For five years, we’ve been telling each other stories of what a great time we would have on that Caribbean resort once we finally get there. And now that our papers have arrived, we can go. Of course, I want it to be the kind of a resort that will not disappoint hopes we’ve entertained for all these years.

Choosing a resort can be weary work. On the positive side, the reviews one finds are hugely entertaining. Here are some that I want to share with you (mind you, I didn’t change a single letter in them):

There is one thing that bugged me at the RST and it is the fact that most of the staff (there were some nice ones) look bored and just didn’t look like they cared. We don’t need much out of a resort and don’t ask for anything special but when we are spending good money for weekly winter vacation we at least want to see a couple of smiles… I tried everything: jokes, extra tips, extra extra extra thank you’s and smiles…nope…I got the bored face most of the time. ” – Well, have you considered that maybe you are a boring person, lady? Maybe your jokes are not funny (or incomprehensible to Spanish-speakers) and your attempts to buy smiles with tips are non-inspiring.

Let’s get one thing straight. No matter where you eat, it’s not like eating at Hy’s or Ruth’s Chris. But for the Dominican, food here was top rate.” People who travel to foreign countries in search of the same kind of boring food they can get at the neighboring chain steakhouse are a mystery to me. I remember reading a review where a tourist scoured the world in search of food that would equal in quality that which is served at the Outback Steakhouse. The world disappointed him, so he was happy to go back home to Buffalo.

Yeah you get a butler in your building. It’s not really a butler though, it’s more of a concierge. If you want to make a reservation you make it through this person. They’re not going to fold your underwear so lower your expectations.” Some people have watched too much Wooster and Jeeves, it seems.

“For all those people that say the people here do not speak english,well i found that they tried there hardist and for most part understood what you were saying after all you are in a differant country I would like to give a little shout out to our butlers Andy and Mickey for being there when we needed them and Tomas the lobby guy they were great.” The saddest part is that many of the American tourists don;t speak their only language either.

Who knows what’s behind the walls of a building built in the DR.” I know! Bored Dominican butlers who don’t fold underwear are lurking there.

Having observed some of these chairs to remain empty for hours on end, it would be nice to see some policing of unused chairs so others can use them. ” I can imagine that brave Dominican who will dare to police the tourists. Yeah, right.

I laughed at the fact that I have a few pair of very nice shorts and could not wear them to most restaurants but saw many pairs of worn and torn jeans that were ok. I have been in many, much better restaurants in southern Florida that have no problem with patrons wearing shorts.” Then go back to Florida where you can expose people to the sight of your ugly hairy legs, knobby knees, and dirty feet with peeling heels while they are eating! It is extremely aggravating to me hear people bitch about the horrible inconvenience of dressing in normal clothes every once in a while. People over the age of 18 who wear shorts in any context other than the beach are incomprehensible to me. One of the things that attracted me to the resort I’m considering is that every a la carte restaurant there insists on formal attire. For the lovers of eating in their beach towels and swimsuits, there is always the buffet. I want to dress nicely for dinner and see well-dressed people around me.

And if you are wondering why I say that reading these reviews can be tiresome, see the following: “The grounds of this resort are well kept the grouds crew are always working hard to keep it beautiful.The srevice at this place was good.It seemed everyone went out of there way to help you with your needs.One day were walking back from lunch and Tomas was going buy on a golf cart and stopped to see if we needed a ride.” Almost all of them are written this way. I get a headache after spending 15 minutes deciphering them.

27 thoughts on “Choosing a Beach Resort

  1. Formal attire for dinner? You will have to carry a lot of luggage if you pack a different evening gown for each day’s dinner. No doubt, N. can wear the same tuxedo every evening, though.

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  2. I’m from Florida and believe me the spectacle of fat, white, hairy male tourists wearing not enough clothing (because it’s not like Florida’s a real place where people live, it’s just a vacation resort!) was a daily hazard.

    How to spot a native Floridian: if white, they’ll have no tan because we’re not stupid enough to go out in the sun, and they’ll be fully dressed and carrying a sweater because the interiors of almost all buildings are air-conditioned to a temperature just above freezing.

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    1. I was horrified in Florida when a woman walked into a restaurant in a G-string swim suit. She kept digging her G-string out of her butt crack. With her fingers! Right there, at the restaurant! Where people were planning to eat!

      She was very upset when the waiters told her she had to get dressed to be in the restaurant.

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      1. Oh god yes. The acceptance of butt-thread bathing suits being another harbinger of the coming end of civilization. In any case, most restaurants have a “you need to where a shirt and shoes for service” sign, but they are holdovers from the days when people wouldn’t dare leave the hotel without their buttocks being fully covered.

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  3. I personally love dressing formally for dinner (and many other occasions) and never miss a chance to do so when I am either hosting people here in Victoria who want to go out to eat, or in Vancouver or Hawaii with relatives. The last time I was back home visiting my mother, we went out to eat at one of our favourite formal places, and I was annoyed to see somebody about my age wearing dirty, torn jeans, an ugly, filthy black t-shirt, and a baseball cap at one of the tables. I think it’s extremely disrespectful to the waitstaff and the patrons to not make an effort to look clean and nice when you’re dining out; when you’re eating out at a place with white linen napkins, at least shower and put on a shirt with a collar!

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  4. Have you seen the reviews on trip advisor about famous monuments, like the Eiffel tower or the pyramids or the Louvre? Some people rate them as ‘poor’. Absolutely hilarious.

    I am really not sure if those reviews are doing any good for the happiness of mankind.
    It really ruins my mood to start my holiday planning by going through endless series of pictures of leaky pipes, dirt on sheets and cracks in the ceilings, and reading people complain about virtually anything that one might possibly complain about. This makes me want to stay at home. I should probably just stop reading them.

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  5. I think TripAdvisor is really useful. But I agree. You read some insane things on there. And many times the complaints (like no chain restaurants!; no casinos!) reveal something positive. I’m so jealous you are going to the Carribean. I have been once and thought it was amazing. The only downside were the tourists. I actually saw someone SNAP at one of the staff at the resort. And it was a white man snapping at a black man and it was so awful and embarassing. It’s strange because I have visited different parts of the world and nowhere have I seen more disrespectful toursits than I did in the Carribean. But, that being said, it’s still amazing there. And I can’t wait to return one day. Are you going to the Domincan Republic?

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    1. I use TripAdvisor a lot but basically ignore any complaint that doesn’t appear at least three or four times. If one person complains about street noise, maybe s/he is oversensitive. If four people complain about it, then maybe windows/walls are of subpar quality.

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  6. I dislike places that have a dressing code beyond what is dictated by basic hygiene and basic rules of decorum. Particularly so in a place where the natural choice of clothing is some form of short pants such as shorts, bermudas, capri pants, etc.

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    1. «Rules of decorum» aren´t universal and «natural choice» culturally bound. In much of Lat Am / Caribbean, short pants are rude and an affront. If you are a civilized person, you will be respectful of your hosts when you are abroad.

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      1. «Rules of decorum» aren´t universal and «natural choice» culturally bound. In much of Lat Am / Caribbean, short pants are rude and an affront. If you are a civilized person, you will be respectful of your hosts when you are abroad.”

        – Exactly.

        Also, a good rule to go by is “Is this really a body part people need to see while they are eating?”

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      2. short pants are rude and an affront.

        You are overstating it. Short pants are considered inappropriate and impolite in certain settings in Latin America, but they are not “an affront”. As well touristic destinations are generally far more accommodating of unconventional attire.

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        1. I think that before putting on shorts people should look at their legs and ask themselves, “Really?”

          I also want to mention that even the most amazing bodies are turned into disproportionate ugly things by shorts. Why would anybody make themselves so ugly of their own free will? And actually pay money to do that?

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  7. Quite frankly, I find your lament self-regarding. If you and your N want to go iritatating. Do not bull-shit others about the externalities. You know that you are going to a third world country in order to enjoy first-world living at third world costs. That is all all that is involved. Either you have a conscience about this or you do not.

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    1. I don’t understand a word of this comment. What does it mean to ” have a conscience about this”? What is it doing in this context?

      Did the comment mistakenly appear in a wrong place?

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  8. Consider renting a house. Always a unique experience. I have given up on resorts since the first vacation house I rented. Extra cost is easily offset by eating few meals at home. I love pretending I’m a native, even if it’s just for a week.

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    1. The main attraction of the beach resort is that I don;t have to cook and N. doesn’t have to clean and do the dishes. I cook a restaurant-type menu from scratch every single day, so I really need a holiday from cooking. 🙂

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  9. Seriously though – can someone who likes all inclusive explain why? I think I would get claustrophobic. I´m all for not cooking but do not understand the attraction of the all inclusive concept.

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    1. This is my favorite kind of vacation. I don’t have to do anything, except lie on the beach drooling. It’s total relaxation because everything is resolved amd done for you.

      There is nothing like this in the US, unfortunately. Every vacation involves either renting a car or staying in a city which is not at all relaxing. I find that only complete inactivity really helps me rest.

      Last summer we had a great vacation in Florida, but:

      1. There were only 2 restaurants with eatable food at a walking distance. A resort has 10.

      2. There were cars streaming behind our backs as we sat on the beach.

      These are grave defects.

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  10. It is sort of interesting to think about, though – I have never paid a great deal of attention to the DR as a place to go but there is this – http://www.coralsolresort.com/ – with spectacular nature to visit, and there are nice guesthouses in lots of places including the by me dreaded Punta Cana. I´ve also find a hotel I like in Sto. Domingo – Casa Naemie – http://www.casanaemie.com/index-esp.html … right by the fortaleza.

    Does the D.R. have public beaches or have they all been occupied by resorts? Where do the locals go?

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  11. “I also want to mention that even the most amazing bodies are turned into disproportionate ugly things by shorts. Why would anybody make themselves so ugly of their own free will? And actually pay money to do that?”

    Agree with not wearing shorts to a restaurant. And, as a proud owner of a great set of legs from years of tennis and other sports, I have to respectfully disagree with what you wrote above. Like with any other clothing you wear, if you’re not aware of your own proportions you’ll look terrible no matter how awesome your body is. For instance if you’re short don’t wear knee-length shorts — they make you look stubby. And so on.

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