Being a solo traveller at heart, family tourism is not exactly the Travel Connoisseur’s milieu. In fact, it’s an area he avoids as best he can. He has never understood parents who carry their jet-lag devastated babies halfway around the world to places best known as honeymoon destinations, and then throw all sense of adult propriety out the window.
Screaming children and spoiled teenagers are enough to ruin TTC’s wonderful world of elegant travel, but he finds it’s often their loving parents who are the real problem. On a recent flight from San Francisco to Dubai, one lady decided to turn a First Class suite into a baby changing room. In order not to disturb her dear sleeping husband, her choice fell on the suite located right across the aisle from TTC. It happened once. It happened twice.
Prefers calm solitude to multigenerational group chaos
On the third occasion during the 16-hour flight, as the volume of the tot’s protests began to overtake Anna Netrebko performing “O Mio Babbino Caro” in his headphones, and the distinctive odour of the procedure became stronger than TTC’s vintage Eau Noire, the poor sleepless traveller roared from the darkness of his own enclosed suite, “Enough!” Seconds later, two flight attendants hurried over to usher mommy and offspring into a lavatory to complete the ritual. Their paterfamilias, meanwhile, continued to sleep peacefully as TTC was promptly presented with another bubbly flute, beaded with condensation. Evidently, First Class cabins are too small to be shared with travelling families. Needless to say, on the ground TTC steers away from family resorts.
He also has the school break schedule of major travelling nations memorised by heart. When, despite careful planning, he still happens to check in to a hotel during those adolescent-friendly times, his pre-arrival requests become focused solely on acquiring the quietest room possible – one which does not interconnect to create any larger suites. Evidently TTC is not the only one who prefers calm solitude to multigenerational group chaos, with several hotels around the world appreciating the need for a dedicated space for mature clientele.
At a Muscat resort on his last trip, TTC was pleased to discover a quiet, adults-only seafront swimming pool, which proved to be an oasis favoured not only by him but also by a pair of Italian celebrity fashion designers. In this sanctuary, they enjoyed nothing but the perfect sound of the crashing waves, all day long. It was on a visit to Cuba a couple of years ago that TTC went even further, booking himself in for a week at an entirely adults-only resort in Varadero. The absence of mobile phone connectivity and barely any Wi-Fi meant that he could enjoy the ringing silence from the moment he arrived.
The first three days seemed as blissful as can be as TTC spent up to 16 hours sleeping off the jet lag, either in his room or by the sea. Eventually, though, he began to wonder about the absence of any other guests anywhere around the resort during the day. Most seemed to emerge at sunset, the time when the jet-lagged TTC was walking back to his bungalow. On the fourth night, having adjusted to the Caribbean time zone, he decided to stay awake to discover what Varadero nights were like.
Days of sleeping by the sea and nights of fuzzy parties were fun
By midnight it became amply clear why he was the only person on the beach during the day. By sundown, the resort turned into one large nightclub, with sultry Cuban dancers, flashing lights and loud music. The wild tropical party went on until sunrise – explaining also the mystery of the slightly odd, nightclub-friendly menu selection he’d noticed at breakfast. In most guests’ cases, this was the last meal of the day rather than the first one.
Days of sleeping by the sea and nights of fuzzy parties were fun, but it was about the least relaxing vacation he had ever taken. Plus, he found that the frivolousness of the over-18 clientele at the resort was not to his taste, either. When the week was out, TTC packed up and made his way to a more traditional grand hotel in Trinidad de Cuba. To his surprise, he felt right at home once again, surrounded by mommies, daddies and their ruddy-faced kids.Well-behaved ones, of course.