I need your help!
Here’s the question: What do we think of the concept of five-star ultra-luxury hotels?
Thanks to the wonderful Valencia Ministry of Tourism, my friend Gary and I were treated to the opportunity of a lifetime: a tour of the highest-rated hotels in all of Benidorm, Spain!
And let me tell you: these are some SERIOUSLY amazing hotels.
I snapped the first three show photos here at gorgeous Asia Gardens five-star hotel and Thai spa. Led by an extraordinarily nice woman, Gary, Maria and I zig-zagged around the lush green gardens and bright blue infinity pools spilling downhill from the hotel’s mountain perch above the city.
“The concept of the hotel,” our guide told us, “is that it is a hotel in a garden– not a garden in a hotel.”
Gazing out at the Eden before us, we nodded and agreed it was a luscious concept. The white drapes on the outdoor patios fluttered in the breeze and the expanse of azure blue water stretched on and on, winding between the emerald green Asian plants. Far below, the high-rises of Benidorm’s many hotels appeared as pillars of ivory between the hills and the sea.
Inside the hotel itself, we gaped at the massive (Wi-fi equipped!) conference hall, the indoor pool and spa realm, and the homey luxury of the bedrooms.
“How much does this hotel room go for?” I asked, stroking the rich bedding beneath the high dark wood rafters.
“A thousand dollars a night,” replied our sweet guide with a smile.
Oh my. It was then that my mind started to race. Earlier that day, I had received an email from the wonderful youth center in Ghana at which I volunteered for three months this year. My friends there were writing to update me on their fund raising efforts to keep the youth center afloat, and I had pledged in my mind to donate when I got home to Boston.
So how can we organize in our minds the disconnect between a youth center in Ghana aching for just a little more money to keep breathing– and a gorgeous room in Spain that costs $1000 a NIGHT? It’s the way our world works, I know, yet it brings a twinge to the heart!
But I’m not finished… let’s keep walking.
The second unbelievable establishment we visited in Benidorm was the SHA Wellness Clinic. Its breathtaking rooftop terrace is pictured in the last two photos of this article.
As the purple storm clouds gathered over the mountains in the distance, we walked around the gauzy white curtains and cooed to see the crystal-clear infinity pool stretching right out to the edge of the five-story-high roof!
The SHA Clinic is serious business: delicious luxury paired with a vibrant focus on health. Not only is there a macrobiotic diet served at every meal, but there are specialist practitioners there offering everything from seaweed wraps to anti-cancer treatments.
When we asked our friend Meredith about her two-day stay there, she moaned, “Oh! Why can’t I live there forever?? I loved every second of it!”
The clinic is a gorgeous place, and it does very good work. It even won the Conde Nast spa award for 2010! I felt privileged to be able to tour it.
So let’s kick off the discussion. I truly loved seeing these hotels, and I believe they bring beauty, happiness, and relaxation to many people. They also seem to be run by nice, smart people who work hard and have kind hearts.
So should we just enjoy the glory of these places and put the examples of financial need that we’ve seen around the world out of our minds?
Or should we hope that somewhere in their business model, these wonderful five-star establishments have a philanthropic plan of action?
The author, Lillie Marshall, is a 6-foot-tall National Board Certified Teacher of English, fitness fan, and mother of two who has been a public school educator since 2003. She launched Around the World “L” Travel and Life Blog in 2009, and over 4.2 million readers have now visited this site. Lillie also runs TeachingTraveling.com and DrawingsOf.com. Subscribe to her monthly newsletter, and follow @WorldLillie on social media!