The Hidden Danger of Staying at Nice Resorts

Aug 21, 2014

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I learn something new every time we travel, often times the hard way, but it is good to learn none the less.  On our most recent trip to two lovely resorts in Hawaii (more to come on that soon), I became astutely aware of a hidden danger to staying in full service resorts in amazing destinations.  I’m certain some of you will be able to relate to this danger.

The danger is that some, or all, of your party won’t want to leave the resort and do other things to get a true taste of your selected destination.  Some of these resorts that can be booked on points can be so easy and enjoyable that it might be tempting to spend your time on the property, but then miss out on great things to see and do in the city you are visiting.

resort pool

As an example, let’s say I was staying at the Courtyard Marriott Kauai for a few days.  That hotel has a pool, is on a beach, has a full service restaurant, but I bet isn’t a place where your family will want to stay camped out without leaving the property for days on end.  You will want to do as the hotel describes on their website and use their location “as a base camp for your island adventure.”

Now let’s pretend you were at a very full service resort in Kauai that has a lazy river, salt water lagoon, tons of pools, kid’s club, a spa, parrots, kid’s activities, lei making, multiple restaurants, evening entertainment, slides, cabanas, and more.  Would you want to use that (more expensive) property as a base camp for your island adventure, or would you be tempted to simply make the resort your island adventure?  I guess the next question is, if you are having fun with your family, is either a bad decision?

Island Hammock
This doesn’t look like such a bad option!

I’m a bit of a go, go, go-er on vacation, and while I love having a very comfortable base camp to enjoy during downtime and on certain days, the chance of me staying put for days on end at a resort are nil to none.  However, I have learned (or am learning) over time that my husband and I have different vacation styles and he is happy to simply enjoy the perks of using points to stay put at a posh resort.  Recently our travels have been a bit more adventurous or activity oriented including staying in a cabin in Alaska, seeing fireworks in DC, etc. so we were naturally on the go on our trips.

However, now that we were back at a great resort property in Hawaii over the last week, he wasn’t sure why we would leave to go check out another beach, or go drive and stand in line to try out a local restaurant.  But, but they have a beach right here.  They have good food right here.  They will even bring it to your room or umbrella by the pool – why would we get in the car and drive around on vacation? 

Why wait in line for food if they will bring it to your hammock?

Turns out, he is not the only one afflicted with don’t-leave-the-resort-a-tosis.  I met several other families that week having the same “problem”.  Some members of the family wanted to stay put and soak in the magic of the resort while others wanted to still explore the magical island.  Alternatively I met families who had collectively hoped to see and do more on the island, but found themselves drawn to the brilliance of total relaxation at the resort.

Explore or enjoy the resort?
Explore or enjoy the resort?

I think this problem, if it is a problem, has to be related to points in some way since points are what is enabling many of us to stay at places nicer than we imagined possible.  When at these extremely nice properties it does get harder to get out and explore than it might be at the totally adequate, but not over-the-top, Courtyard by Marriott type of property.

In addition to communication and planning with your family on the front end, perhaps the solution lies in splitting time on your vacation between a resort property and a more limited service property that just offers a “bed to lay your head”.  You then have your adventurous days and resort relaxation days clearly separated.  Of course, moving hotels with a young family has its own set of problems, so ultimately that won’t be the perfect solution either.

Has your family experienced this hidden danger of staying at a very nice resort?  I’d love to hear your stories and solutions!

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