As a travel writer, I visit many hotels and spas where I feel like I am in a dream. “This is too good to be true!” I’m thinking as I get a tour around the hotel and my amazing room, which overlooks the Mediterranean in many cases. As I’m led through a spa, headed toward the treatment room for a 90-minute Signature Treatment, I have to pinch myself again.
Mind you, some of these places are quite expensive… out of my pocketbook league! Of course, I wouldn’t know this if I hadn’t looked at the prices online or in the spa menu because, well, I get them for free… and in many cases, I also get paid to be pampered.
It often feels too good to be true, but it’s not. This is something you could easily do with a little planning and forethought. And, in fact, it may include even more perks than you imagine. Here are just a few of the “duties” my job entails…
** Staying in luxury overnight accommodations
At many of the properties I visit — whether it’s a resort spa or a boutique hotel — the property managers want you, the travel writer, to experience both the spa and the hotel. It’s a nice plus for you, but also for them, because your write-up includes details about the entire property.
** Being a guest in a spa café or spa cuisine cooking class
Many luxury resort properties have spa cafés or cooking classes. Lake Austin Spa encourages its visitors to eat healthy cuisine at the Aster Café, and the Four Seasons Westlake offers cooking classes to resort guests. Both properties want guests to know about the on-site herb gardens used for cooking and incorporating into spa treatments.
** Relaxation and learning
Luxury hotels and spas invite visitors to rejuvenate in other ways besides massages and facials. Ojai Valley Inn offers lifestyle classes through its spa; I had even more fun in an aromatherapy class making my own blend of essential oils than in the 50-minute massage. Afterwards, I included this in my article: “Strolling down the path, I felt as though I were taking a walk in a meadow; the natural aromatherapy of flowers and herbs was blissful and there were lots of butterflies having their own fun in the abundance of wild flowers. Still in my robe and feeling quite comfortable, I couldn’t resist the hammocks with a lake view.”
And the perks go on and on…
Remember, luxury hotels are treating you to these lavish experiences so that they can get the word out to people who actually will pay — sometimes a lot of money — for the very same experiences. So of course you’ll need to follow up with an article or two. But that’s all part of the fun of being a travel writer. You get to re-live your experiences as you express them on the page.
[Editor’s Note: Learn more about opportunities to profit from your travels (and even from your own home) in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.]