If you read my previous post Corsets and Horse Whips, you’ll know that I recently went on holiday. Alone. It was the first time I had done so, although I know quite a few people who enjoy a break for one, from time to time. I also know people who, upon the sight of their significant other sunning himself like a boil-in-the-bag frankfurter, simply wish that they holidayed alone.
Selecting a break for one is a thorny issue. In the city where I live, there are a few hotels where you are allowed to share a room between three, four, or even more people, for the same cost of the room as if two of you were staying. This is to enable revellers to maximise the time available to them to “get mortal” (or “drunk”, to you and I) and actually works out to be cheaper than getting taxis to far-flung towns and suburbs in a lot of cases. Or perhaps it’s just a deal struck with the hotels by the producers of The Jeremy Kyle Show, to ensure that their guests are trapped in close proximity prior to the show and are gagging for a fight by the time they make it to the studio? I guess we’ll never know.
However, the reverse of this bargainous accommodation is not possible. Most hotels seem to charge a single supplement. If you have never come across one of these, it is essentially an extortionate charge devised by hotels to punish single travellers. The supplements I saw were around £50 per night, in addition to the usual room price. I’m told that this is not, as it first appears, a tax on being unattached, but in fact to cover the “losses” endured by the hotel when it can only flog over-priced, under-cooked steak to one instead of two occupants. I would argue that a single traveller also COSTS the hotel less, as one traveller will only use half as many towels, cups, sachets of hot chocolate, complimentary biscuits, miniature shampoos, teeny-tiny soaps, fluffy robes and, depending on the particular travellers, perhaps only require half as many items of bedding and parking spaces. But it seems that where there’s a niche (by which I mean minority), there’s a profit. Anyway, after much internet searching and assertive telephone calling, I secured what I felt was a fair deal.
Once you have recovered from the shock of someone trying to charge you more for using less, there is a lot to be said for a holiday for one. I compiled a little list of benefits for you:
1. Nobody tells you you’ve packed too much, or that you can’t possibly wear that many pairs of shoes in three days.
2. You can use ALL the hangers in the wardrobe. For the excessive number of outfits you packed.
3. No-one tries to nick your chips or stick their spoon in your creme brulee (this is not a euphemism).
4. You can eat ALL the complementary biscuits and use ALL the miniature soaps.
5. You can spend as long as you like in the spa / bath / big comfy bed without ever hearing the words “hurry up, I want to go for a pint”.
6. You don’t have to pay to do things you really didn’t want to do, like football museums.
7. At no point does anyone say “You paid HOW MUCH for a face cream / spa treatment / cocktail?”
All of these things feel like a huge treat to someone who is used to travelling with someone else. I had been dreading my lone holiday a bit, but actually it’s very enjoyable to be beholden to nobody and nothing. It’s not often that we get to do things in our own way and our own time in our fast-paced lives and I also noticed that, presumably because I was unaccompanied, the hotel staff spoiled me a bit. I got a lovely upgrade, they told me what time the pool would be empty, they offered to light the fire for me. Nothing was too much trouble for them and it was a bit like staying with a maiden aunt.
I’d recommend a lone holiday, if you get the chance. Obviously, if you can’t escape the tax on being a lone traveller, you’ll need to prepare yourself for the challenge of trying to eat £50 worth of complimentary biscuits. And perhaps request not to be put in the room next-door to the guests for tomorrow’s Jeremy Kyle. But it’s a nice treat to yourself and I think I’ll do it again.
- Corsets and horse whips (theeternalpursuitofloveandlaughter.wordpress.com)
- Academic Arrangements Abroad Offers Cabins with No Single Supplement on New Cruise Exploring Portugal’s Vineyards (virtual-strategy.com)
- The price of being single | Money | The Guardian (theguardian.com)
- AmaWaterways catering more to the solo traveller on some departures next year (o.canada.com)
- Cunard’s Single Traveller Bonus (timespentatsea.blogspot.com)