I’m conflicted about this place. On the one hand, they have stunning landscaping, modern but handsome buildings, and good food and drink located on some absolutely fantastic beaches. On the other, you could buy yourself better food and booze cheaper at fine restaurants near great hotels all over the world. I know. I’ve been to them, and some of them are cheaper.
So, why go to Breathless? After all, this isn’t a 5 star experience. There are too many problems at the front desk during check in, and they’re pretty severely understaffed when full. The pools close at 7 (no kidding!), and they run out of some necessities, like the right kind of (expensive) liquor at precisely the wrong moment, which is when I am present. The entertainment is run of the mill. As long as everything goes smoothly, it’s a great place to stay, but minor problems need two or more front office contacts to fix. They DO “get-r-done” but the burden’s kind of on the customer, especially when the staff doesn’t always habla Ingles so well.
Yet this place is among the newest and best resorts that the world has to offer, and plenty of folks seem to be OK with the high prices. Who am I to say different?
I don’t, really. If all you want from a vacation is to relax and administer yourself some Life Demerol, or maybe spice up your relationship, this place is the cat’s meow. Maybe get sunburned or overwork your liver. Flirt with anonymous but alluring women wearing basically only three triangles of cloth that, combined, couldn’t provide enough material for a dinner napkin. Flirt with your wife, for that matter. Eat out every night at different cafés but never stray from the All-Inclusive reservation. Reconnect with buddies you’ve known since high school, or with your family. Go for it!
I’m in the habit of comparing these places to cruising, and with good reason. They both give you room, board, and entertainment at one fixed price. They both have casinos, multiple restaurant venues, and Third-World staffers who speak some kind of unrecognizable gibberish but that doesn’t matter because all they really need to know is what is meant by “Glenlivet served neat”, but even that task is routinely botched up.
What you don’t know when you leave these places, though, is anything about the country or its people. You have experienced none of their culture. You’ve learned nothing more than how many angels can dance in the head of your beer.
Is that a bad thing? Hey, we’re talking Dominican Republic here, but even so, in a way it is. Even they have a history worth noticing.
On the other hand, I celebrated anniversaries myself once. I got married more than once. I can see these couples here are happy as they can be. I think I’m looking at this the wrong way. These places aren’t travel destinations, they’re unwind destinations. Places where you can recharge your battery or your sex life. Where you go just to be away from the kids or the job. Or get married, or celebrate a life event. It isn’t about learning or exploring. It’s about fun and living.
I like to travel partly to learn something new. But maybe really all the facts I’ve learned about the places I’ve visited aren’t as important as the relationships others build and maintain as a result of coming to these resorts. When my trip is over, I can brag about it and kick ass at Trivial Pursuit. They can go home with stronger relationships and fond memories. Now who’s stupid, Jonathan?
Maybe I am, but not so fast. Can’t I do both? Maybe there’s a balance to be struck. Everything in moderation, as Aristotle once noted, but moderation stays home to begin with. Nope, I’ll come back to one of these All-Inclusives…with a woman, and after doing a lot more exploring (including exploring for a woman). Then we’ll travel and learn together. I’d say rather “Everything in balance”, Mr Aristotle. Symmetry in all things is beautiful.