Don’t animate me, please!

We are back from a two week vacation to the Dominican Republic. Petra had selected a nice hotel, the Grand Palladium Bavaro Resort & Spa in Punta Cana – a beautiful place situated directly on a long, lovely beach, with a lot of incredibly friendly people. Yep, the perfect place to be. That was my first thought.

And then came the salesmen and the entertainers! The salesmen -with the blessing of the hotel’s management- try to sell you everything under the sun, but they all seem to focus on horse trips at the beach (I’m too heavy – the poor horses!), trips with a banana boat, or silly-looking hair-dos, Rasta style. And all these guys seem to be reset every morning, forgetting that we are not interested in their offers at all. And so they (try to) show you their colorful brochure every morning again. Groundhog Day par excellence!

It only gets worse once you actually leave the hotel ground. The other day we walked along the beautiful (private) beach and suddenly entered public space. Complete strangers approached us, yelling “hola, my friend! Come inside, looky looky cooky cooky”, while feaverishly trying to shake our hands. As one instinctively knows that it will be even harder to get rid of them once in a conversation or (heaven help!) inside their shop, the annoying feeling of annoyance quickly settled and hardly went away. Needless to say, their shops are empty most of the time. (Tip for desparate shop owners: why not stop the futile efforts and put up a sign saying, for example, “we promise to NOT approach you prior to or during your visit to our shop. If you need assistance, please just approach us, and ask.” – Your sales might actually skyrocket.)

So, back in the safe harbour of the hotel, you should be able to enjoy the peaceful tranquility. Err, not so!

Once the salesmen are gone, there is the “animation program”, conveniently performed in four languages: Spanish, English, French and German, or some weird mixture of all. Unfortunately, they know just Spanish quite well, which I do not understand at all. And so their efforts to communicate in a meaningful manner are stopped cold. Yes, they want to “animate” me, and the fellow guests. Water Polo? “Geddup, move! You need it!” (I do.) Domino Diving? “C’mon, we need more people!” (Who cares?)

If there is one thing that is more irritating than a rash at the lip, or the latest Rosamunde Pilcher TV-movie, it’s this pressure to get entertained at a 5 star resort. No, I do not want to be asked every ten minutes whether I want to participate in some silly game. I just don’t want to, and the reasons are none of your business anyway. But if you really need to know – I hate spam. I am annoyed by advertising for products or services I don’t need, and yes, I am old enough to decide on my own on what I want and what not. So I feel that I do not need a crappy entertainer to be able to enjoy my rare time of freedom.

So, here is my advice for hotel owners: create a dedicated spam-free area without salesmen or entertainers. It’s quite likely that this will be the most sought-after place in your hotel!

Oh, and while we’re at it – IF you REALLY want to entertain me, give me a free WiFi connection. Then I can watch videos, visit interesting sites, read news, send and receive emails. And enjoy my time at the beach!

See our photo gallery of the Grand Palladium Bavaro Resort & Spa

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