Up to this point I haven’t much of anything about the hotel where we were staying. Punta Mita sits at the tip of a peninsula north of Puerto Vallarta in Nayarit.  This stretch of land is pretty isolated. The advantages are that the guests can avoid the tequila-addled tourists found in the larger cities and enjoy some peace and quiet. The disadvantage is that they are virtually trapped in resort-land, a fairy tale place where they’re surrounded by servants who secretly charge them up the wazoo for everything.  There really isn’t much more to say about the Four Seasons. They all have the same layout: marble floors, spacious lobbies, grand vistas, granite countertops, and elegant bars. They also offer a lot of useless services: Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, yachts, tennis courts, fitness center and boutiques. The prices of shampoo, razor blades and candy bars are so high that you’d assume they were joking. They’re not: a Diet Coke in the lobby will run you about eight bucks. My only revenge was grazing viciously on the free hor d’oeuvres in the lobby from 3:00 to 9:00 pm.

snooker 091Places like the Four Seasons have always been too rich for my blood. If I had my choice, we’d be staying at a cheaper place. The shear luxury of the place makes me feel creepy: chocolate on my pillow, monogramed bathrobe, disposable slippers and turndown service make me feel as if I were in a mental ward. The only thing that is missing is the Medication Valse playing in the background and Nurse Rached at the Front Desk. I guess that it is the elaborate performance that unsettles me. The staff bends over backwards to create a fantasy that my stay doesn’t have anything to do with the bill. The people who run cheap hotels never try to hide the fact that money is involved. They understand that their guests are there because the hotel is cheap; they know that the free waffles, pancakes, bacon and sausage are horrible, but they are free. If quality were more important, you’d eat out.

So, despite the enticement to frolic in a life of luxury, I always obsess about price. I am not talking about what we are charged, but rather what we should be paying. At breakfast, I started running the numbers. The buffet ran $45 dollars. My wife could see that I was about to ruin her morning by telling her what the mark up was. “A dozen of eggs sets you back $2.50, a loaf of bread comes in around $4.00, and butter and jelly are minor costs. So, for a breakfast that should cost around $5.00, they walk off with 40 bucks. Then, they nail you for tax and tip.”

To be continued…

Cross-posted at My Ongoing Struggle With Misanthropy: http://jimmygabacho.com/?p=1058

Gabacho– according to the Dictionary of the Spanish Royal Academy– is derived from an old Provençal word “gavach,” meaning a person from the foothills of the Pyrenees who spoke incorrectly. These days, it means “outsider,” somebody who just doesn’t fit in.

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