Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Sandals: Chintzy Indiscretion Included

Lately I've been shopping around online for a snazzy little honeymoon package, (sorry ladies, this renaissance man is spoken for.) The process, like almost everything remotely associated with wedding planning, has been treacherous, exasperating and corrupt. Recently though, I found myself briefly intrigued. While browsing the typical, cruise-on-land offerings of Sandal's resorts, I discovered a link to their Personal Butler Suites at the Royal Jamaican Plantation. With the click of a button I could upgrade to these regal digs and have private transportation arranged, priority dinner reservations handled and exotic drinks ceaselessly delivered to me on the beach. Delightful. According to Sandal's website, the butlers are "trained in accordance to the exacting standards by the Guild of Professional Butlers (they’re the ones who provide butlers to nobility and celebrities)" 

That's great because I wouldn't want just any old, run-of-the-mill Mr. Belvedere fetching my rum and golf-carting me around. For an extra thousand clams, I want to be handed a daiquiri the same exact way Kanye and Prince William are handed goddamn daiquiris

But as I read on, I became concerned. The butler will also be unpacking my suitcase. He will be folding, pressing and hanging up my clothes. I've never even done any of those things on vacation, or at home. Each day he'll clean and shine my shoes and will draw my baths while sprinkling rose petals in the water. It didn't actually say he would be sleeping in between me and my new wife, but I think that's implied. 

I continued scrolling though endless image galleries and drop down menus of exorbitant amenities, anxiously pondering whether or not it was even okay to desire the lavish services of a devoted personal servant on an impoverished island, when I stumbled upon this photo:

Here we see Benson standing waist-deep in a lagoon, just outside the entrance to this adorable couple's lush swim-up suite, topping off some bubbly. He's wearing his perfectly-tailored tuxedo of course, lace-up shoes and white serving gloves in 3 feet of chlorinated water; and the newlyweds couldn't be happier about it. 

I have a conch full of questions. Is this kind of service actually in demand? Would it be any less luxurious if he were to kneel down beside the edge and pass the drinks on the floating tray to the couple for them to enjoy at their leisure? Will he walk back through the honeymoon suite sopping wet and ridiculous, or does he simply swim away into the winding maze of pools using his bar tray as a kickboard? Are these two lovebirds really on their fifth bottle of wine?  And finally, is it peculiar that though this whole scene strikes me as marginally racist, I can't articulate exactly why? 

Despite all of that, if we end up not investing in the Sandals experience, it won't be because of their faintly offensive, exploitative themes or any of the shoe shinin', underwear foldin', tub warmin' houseboys. Our decision to pass will have much more to do with the Jock Jam pool DJ's, conga lines and glorified food courts. That actually reminds me, I should probably go and pull up some of those Poconos bookmarks and crunch some numbers. I remember seeing a pretty solid deal on a Paintball & Paddle Boat romance package. 


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