Lanzarote: Prisoner in a 5-star resort

[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;”] I [/dropcap] have huge moral qualms about patronizing the sprawling luxury resorts that elbow each other for space along the coasts of sunny oceanside countries.

Ben, however, does not.

And since partnership is about compromise, and since he puts in grueling hours and deserves to relax someplace outside of a gray German winter, I came to find myself in just such an establishment last weekend.

A 5-star view on Lanzarote

A 5-star view on Lanzarote


Far be it from me to forget how he ruefully watched our puddle jumper take off, two passengers short, after my yack-fest with the Panamanian taxi driver distracted me into a forgotten passport in the back seat.

…Or how I dragged him into a war-zone-turned-art-district, assuring him that it was perfectly safe except for a couple of streets (I literally had my nose in a guidebook when he pointed out the street sign above us marking the intersection of both streets).

…Plus how he patiently toted our gear along the Na Pali trail because I decided I really wanted to camp out (which didn’t end up happening, but that’s a story for another time).

Don’t get me wrong: I have nothing against luxury. I just prefer a smaller scale, usually with proprietors on site who are proud to showcase the unique offerings of their location. (Read the “On a sober note…” box in my post about Italy’s best vacation destination to learn why this is such an important choice.)

It’s just that sometimes my quest for “unique” and “authentic” unwittingly culminates in mosquito-infested huts in a Mexican village accessible only by canoe or burro.

Which is why every now and then Ben pulls out his trump card and opts for something more relaxing. The man has earned his share of poolside drinks, mosquito-free rooms, and faucets spouting potable water.

1/2-star view in Panama City's "hip" Casco Viejo, circa 2009

1/2-star view in Panama City’s “hip” Casco Viejo, circa 2009

Down, but not out

Back to the matter at hand. I might have been down (in an anesthetized bubble devoid of cultural interest), but I certainly wasn’t out. After all, we were in Lanzarote, arguably one of the most photo-worthy places in Europe, with a unique volcanic landscape virtually untouched by vegetation: the rock formations seemingly unaffected by gravity; the volcanic mountain cones that rise abruptly from planes shifting continuously with the patterns of passing clouds; outcroppings of bleach-white buildings clustered together in solidarity. There would be plenty of exploring to do outside of the hotel.

But then fate (or my weary subconscious) intervened. I committed the travel blogger cardinal sin of forgetting both camera and camcorder at home.

Yes, it really did happen.

Luckily, I’m a glass-half-full kind of girl, and every challenge has a workaround.

Almost every challenge has a workaround:

  • I could always fall back on my camera phone. (Except that, ewww, did I really go and leave my phone back at the hotel?)
  • I could test my descriptive talents, instead. (When we arrived at the turnoff for our planned scenic route, it was closed for a bike race.)
  • There is always plenty of computer work to be done. (On my desk back home, right next to my fully-charged cameras, sat my laptop charger. Limited remaining charge = currently writing this with the hotel pen and stationery.)
  • There’s always material for an article floating around somewhere. Like just where did the hotel acquire the hundreds of tons of hardwood that line the corridors? (The only person who gives interviews, the marketing director, was currently on vacation.)

I’m afraid the best I can do is offer up this link of quality images of Lanzarote from Wikipedia humorously sent by my Twitter buddy @careerfromhome. And show you this one token image from my phone:

Touristy but cute: Marina Rubicon, Lanzarote

Touristy but cute: Marina Rubicon, Lanzarote

In the face of such setbacks, what’s a girl to do?

Well, it goes something like this: a large champagne brunch followed by a stretch on our terrace’s lawn chair, idly flipping through a fashion magazine until it’s time for a 90-minute Thai massage (all the benefits of yoga with none of the exertion!) / frothy fruit drinks by the hotel’s saltwater pool, overlooking the rippling Atlantic / a romantic beach stroll, hand-in-hand / a quick workout to create an appetite for a feast of sunset tapas, fine wine and paella (only tourists eat paella for dinner, so it feels especially indulgent).

Next step: repeat all this the next day. Except this time, throw out all ties to anything Spanish, and clap your hands in delight as the Chinese chef at the Japanese teppanyaki restaurant throws a shrimp over the flame and straight onto your plate. Then head to the jazz bar, where the local band will do everything in their power to pass for Americans (just repeat “Ooh, yeeeeah” before and after every song) while covering great jazz classics like “Moves Like Jagger” by Maroon 5.

The final wrap-up

So after a long weekend in adult paradise, now crammed back into the cheap Ryanair flight that made it all possible, what’s our final verdict? Ben feels great: relaxed, rejuvenated, and tan, without bites or the travelers’ disease brought on by street food I was sure would be just fine. And me? Pretty great, I must say. Every once in a while, travel isn’t about seeing anything new. It’s about removing yourself from the distractions of work and home in order to spend uninterrupted time with the people you cherish.

Sunset view from El Mirador in Marina Rubicon

Sunset view from El Mirador in Marina Rubicon



Learn more, from people who didn’t forget their camera

Related tweets

  • Heading to Lanzarote, one of the most stark and photographic landscapes in Europe, and forgot the camera…
  • Ben is taking a post-breakfast nap while I run around exploring. It’s highly typical behavior.
  • We came to Lanzarote following Ben’s ancestral heritage, and today learned the family wasn’t isolated emigrants…
  • In 1731 a group of islanders sailed to America and founded San Antonio, TX, where Ben’s family is from. Suddenly it all makes sense.

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  1. Very clever! In spite of forgetting your camera I felt like I was there at the 5-star relaxing, too. Here’s to a little(or, a lot) of pampering now and then.

  2. I’m with Ben. The more stars, the more I’m attracted to the experience. Bugs are only great i ff you are a frog!

  3. Ribbit 🙂

  4. I loved this article and totally sympathise! Well done for making the most of the all inclusive anyway. Thought your last couple of sentences summed it up perfectly 🙂

  5. Thanks, Helen! I know there are worse things to endure, but usually I stay away from these places so it really was comedic.

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