We’re introducing a new product this week, The Pampered Traveler: How to Take Luxurious Trips and Turn Them into Paychecks, so I asked a few of your fellow readers who have landed really great travel perks – like free spa treatments, room and board at expensive luxury hotels and free meals – to tell us about their experiences.

Today you’ll hear from a guy who doesn’t actually partake in the spa treatments himself.  He lets his wife do it and then he collects the paycheck. 

Find out more below…

MISTAKEN IDENTITY IN A LUXURY SPA
By Tim Cotroneo in Minneapolis, Minnesota

During a one-week vacation in Cancun, Sally Shaw fell in love with a local architect.

Soon after, the couple took up residence on a barely inhabited coconut plantation, where Sally’s soon-to-be husband explained that her new home was situated on a beach that was “as beautiful as she’d ever see.”

Over the next two decades, Sally and Jose Luis Moreno’s initial one-room abode evolved into a 38-room hotel with two restaurants and a 7,000-square-foot Mayan Spa.

In 2009, my wife and I eagerly planned a warm weather escape from our frigid Minnesota winter. And as I researched potential vacation destinations, I stumbled on Sally’s story.

As a fledgling writer, I couldn’t resist contacting the Maroma Resort in the hopes of interviewing Sally and seeing this mystical property with my own eyes.

Sally and Jose Luis graciously agreed to meet with me. In the e-mails leading up to my visit, one of the hotel representatives inquired if I was interested in a massage at their Kinan Spa. I asked if my wife could receive the treatment while I interviewed Sally, and they agreed.

Prior to my interview, I was able to walk the beach and view Maroma’s stunning exterior surroundings. I discovered that this hotel’s guest list has included British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Robert Redford, and Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas.  

Before meeting Sally and Jose Luis, my wife, Judy, was led off to the Kinan Spa by a petite masseuse. Apparently, the massage was reserved in my name because I heard the masseuse refer to Judy as “Tim.” In Spanish the drawn-out version of my name sounded more like “Team.” I learned later that “Team” would be my wife’s name throughout the “best massage ever.”

The interview was one I’ll never forget. Sally and I talked on her veranda facing the sapphire blue sea. Opera music played from somewhere overhead as I listened to her recollection of life on Maroma. Two hours flew by as Sally shared how she hosted guests from around the world who were looking to experience Maroma’s awesome views and special energy.

As we walked away from the Maroma grounds, my wife was still giddy from her spa treatment. She gushed, “The masseuse kept asking me, ‘Does this feel good, Team?'” From this point forward, if I’m offered any travel perks, my wife will gladly take one for the “Team.”

To get those extra travel perks, like my wife’s massage, I rely on a question I learned from my AWAI Travel training. I introduce myself as a travel writer and politely ask, “Do you offer special rates for press?”

This can apply to hotel rooms, excursions, restaurants or spa treatments.

[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.]

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