Alone in a Fancy Hotel Bathroom

Alone in a Fancy Hotel Bathroom


Parents’ solo-vacation fantasies, hopefully realized in 2021.

By Jessica Grose

When I’m having trouble falling asleep, I think about a paddle boat ride I took in 2010. My husband and I were on our honeymoon, staying at a hotel in Portugal that was right on the bay. I have a visceral memory of raising my face to the sun, lazily paddling around while the sea breeze gently flowed around me. I recall that moment when I’m tossing and turning in these pandemic times; I felt so relaxed and free then … because I didn’t have kids.

I had this reverie in mind (and also this viral tweet about the desire to open a bed-and-breakfast for burned-out women with an unprintable yet irresistible name) when I asked readers for their fantasy child-free solo trips. These are the kinds of vacations you would take if money and child care were no object, and the coronavirus miraculously disappeared tomorrow.

Here’s a sampling of the most hilarious and relatable responses. I hope that you all get to do these things in 2021, or at least find some time for yourself, even if it’s hiding in your bathroom.

The All-Inclusive Experience

“My fantasy solo vacation would be at an all-inclusive resort in Cancun, Mexico. I would revel in not having to cook, clean, do laundry or pay for anything on the spot. I would take naps on the beach beds while listening to the ocean and let my mind empty. I would have a frozen drink at a swim-up bar, that intoxicating sensory overload of the water, sun and diluted sugary frozen cocktail. I would read whole pages of books without interruption. I would be away long enough to miss my kids, which I am guessing would be about two full weeks.” — Valerie Sprout, Shawnee, Kan.

Please Just Leave Me Alone in This Bathroom

“I will travel across an ocean for a good bath soak. Specifically, I would go back to the Dunstane Houses in Edinburgh, Scotland, and soak in one of their gorgeous, metallic claw-foot tubs in the bay window of a hotel suite overlooking the city. The bubbly bath soak would last for an entire morning while I sip an espresso and munch on treats from their curated mini bar, all while reading. Then I would spend the day taking in the gorgeous architecture of Edinburgh and wandering in and out of the city’s best bookstores and museums, and of course grab high tea. I would then cap the day off with a room service dinner and another leisurely bath soak.” — Zahra Nawaz Curtin, Manhattan, N.Y.

I Want to Do All the Things

“I would travel to a perfect combination of a place to visit and learn new things (like museums/ruins or just lovely towns to walk and explore), and a retreat spa where I could enjoy hot tubs and cold immersion pools, practice yoga and also drink a nice cup of coffee whilst catching up on the 2,347 books I desperately want to read! Athens in Greece, Nusa Dua in Bali, Oaxaca in Mexico … I am flexible with location!” — Mariana Delgado, Cambridge, England.

“I’d go to Europe and hit every art museum possible. Here’s the fantasy part: I’d stand in front of the pieces I found intriguing for as long as I wanted, without having to rush on to the next thing because I was ‘taking too long’ or because ‘this is SO boring.’ I would revel in just standing still and looking. For hours and hours.” — Krista Harmon, Portland, Ore.

Accessible Dreams

“I would go to Barnes & Noble. Sitting in one of the Barnes & Noble chairs with a coffee from Starbucks and getting some me-and-books time was something I would promise myself to mark milestones: landing that very first gig, wrapping up an important project, seeking comfort from the low of missing loved ones back home and so on. My Barnes & Noble therapy worked each time, and I can see no other way to commemorate an event such as the end of a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic than by transporting myself to my once favorite comfort place.” — Shruta Satam, Sydney, Australia.

“My fantasy solo vacation is actually a week alone in my house without my kids and husband. I can eat when I want to, go to sleep as early as I want to and eat bagels with cream cheese for dinner. Alone. In silence.” — Jessica Hajee, Nairobi, Kenya

“Is it terrible if my fantasy is just ‘anywhere my kids aren’t’?” — Sarah Maniscalco, Brampton, Ontario

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