If you’re following me on Facebook, you may have seen that this past weekend, The Engineer and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary at the Empire Hotel in Jerudong (a.k.a. the flashest hotel in Brunei). We have stayed in a few hotels before, even some kinda fancy ones, but this was still a big step away from our usual holiday. This was the sort of place where you relax by the pool, charge all sorts of extras to your room, have high tea in the lobby, and don’t leave the hotel for the entire holiday. We are more used to getting out and about, exploring, and doing all sorts of activities (we have been known to bring our mountain bikes and tramping clothes to fancy hotels and have certainly had our fair share of strange looks in the lobby as a result).
But this weekend we embraced the resort and the fanciness (except for a brief break when we couldn’t bear the idea of paying $15 for Nasi Lemak at lunch time and snuck out to get it for $3). We relaxed by the pools, reading, swimming, and getting really sunburned (in the shade of an umbrella no less). We made the most of the breakfast buffet. We tried two of the seven or so restaurants. We had mocktails at the swim-up bar. We sipped tea blended with gold leaf and enjoyed delicious nibbles at high tea. We dressed up and sipped lemon juice with our fancy dinner.
Most importantly we had a fantastic time. We relaxed. Probably more than we’ve ever relaxed before. And, other than some not-so-great food, and the aforementioned sunburn, I wouldn’t change a thing.
During the weekend, we actually discussed this several times. “Are we going to become resort and cruise people now that we can afford it?”, “Is this going to be our typical family holiday when we have kids?” (there were a lot of kids around), “Did we only do adventurous holidays because we couldn’t afford anything else?”.
Our conclusion was that, no, this was not a turning point.
It was a lovely break, and we couldn’t have asked for a better celebration of our anniversary. But two days was enough. I loved reading by the pool, but I couldn’t do it forever. We were getting ready to explore; ready to see what was around, and what we could do. We couldn’t be bothered making use of the Cinema or Bowling Alley there (because aren’t those things more fun with friends anyway?), although we certainly appreciated that they were there.
And, at the end of the day, if you’re paying that much, you really should be spending all your time at the hotel. And we couldn’t even do two full days. Of course, that might all be different if we had been in the Emperor Suite (private pool and cinema? What?), which is one of those “if you have to ask, you can’t afford it” kind of places.