The Perks of Taking a Romantic Vacation

A couple of weeks ago I went to a press event for sex hotels. Specifically, I went to learn about Mr. and Mrs. Smith, a London-based boutique hotel collective which specializes in intimate and romantic get-aways.

As I sat in a screening room at the Shangri-La Hotel in Toronto, double-fisting free drinks and watching a slide show of ivory tubs and sumptuous four-poster beds in dramatically beautiful locations—English countrysides, South Pacific Islands, Italian mountain caves—pass before my eyes, I couldn’t help but feels though I had made all the wrong decisions in my life. Why didn’t I study something useful in school, so I could be making money by now? Why didn’t I marry that one rich guy, whose hand sort of grazed my cleavage that one time? Was it  too late to become a jet-setting, high-class prostitute?  When I was planning out my life and decided to “follow my dreams” and “be a writer” like an idiot, why hadn’t I consider the more important things in life—like sex in Italian mountain-caves?

So, besides a champaign buzz and an existential crisis, this is what I took home from the sex hotel seminar. If it’s in anyway possible for you to take your girlfriend away on a romantic weekend, please do it.  I’ve spoken to a number of level-headed, romance-averse, and cheese intolerant women of all ages since that event, and when I asked them if they would like to go to a charming country estate to pick strawberries with their significant other, wearing crisp white linen and ribbons in their hair they all said the same thing: squee.

The thing about trips away is that not only does it allow you a couple to spend quality time together, it allows them to spend time away from the things that distract you in your relationship—your job, your home, the fact that you need to clean your own sheets. Also, it forces you to get away from other people, the sort of people who would laugh at you for feeding your boyfriend strawberries in a meadow of wildflowers or who would point out that paying $250 for a room so you can have sex in Egyptian cotton doesn’t make a lot of sense. These people are wrong. Paying for sex beds is awesome, and so, in general, are weekends away.

Because I know that some DailyXY readers are responsible people with real jobs, I got some advice about weekends away from the married couple who started the hotel collective, Tamara Heber-Percy and her husband, James Lohan. Lohan and Herber-Percy are the sort of charming, stylish couple that all people aspire to be  until they discover pajamas and Netflicks. Lohan gives good handshakes and always has something educated to say about food, and Herber Percy wore a beige onesie that looked so good on her, I actually forgot that she was an adult in a onesie. The two met 16 years ago at a club in Ibiza (of course) and have been basically going to one lavish hotel room after another until ever since. This is their advice:

  • When you’re picking a hotel room, it’s all about the bed.  Find something with four posters and looks like it’s made of cushions and only cushions.  Call the hotel and ask about thread count. Herber Percy insists a good thread count just makes a trip.
  • Because the bed will eventually get boring, make sure they have a great washroom, with an impressive shower and a bath for two.
  • If you’re driving somewhere, do the drive in a fun car, preferably something where the top comes down. Bring great music and plan stops on the way.
  • Men need to plan more romantic trips.  Women are the most likely to be the planners of any trip, so it’s time for men to “step up to the hockey . . . or whatever”, according to Lohan (who is British, but trying very hard to use Canadian sports analogies for my sake.)
  • Take advantage of everything the hotel offers. If you’re into wine, ask if the sommelier can take you on a tour of the cellar. If you’re in a place with impressive gardens, ask if you can bring your drinks out there for a walk. Be assertive about what you want. Chances are, the hotel has had to deal with bigger requests than yours.
  • Plan ahead. Lohan says he plans his trip up to 9 months ahead, so he’s not limited in any of his choices.  Also, if you’re on a budget, it’s a good way to take advantage of deals.

Mika Rekai is a Toronto-based writer, humourist, and self-designated sex guru. She does not feel the need to justify that last part to you. She asks that you just be cool and go with it.

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