James Burns

James Burns

There’s No Such Thing as a Five Star Person

It was starting to go to my head.

We decided to live the honeymoon dream. Five star this, exclusive that – you name it, we signed up for it in the spirit of giving ourselves a once-in-a-lifetime holiday that would (hopefully) ensure we have something to talk about for the rest of our married lives.

And, surprise surprise, people working in five star hotels are extremely nice to their guests. Everywhere I looked there were people queuing up to carry my bags, bring me ice cold water, and to compliment my excellent selection of chips with both ketchup AND mayonnaise from the tapas menu. I was Mrs Big Time, Lady Muck and Her Royal A-hoo-hoo-hoo-ness all rolled into one.

And after a week or so, thanks to self-awareness (which, alongside diamonds and Cadbury's, really is a girl's best friend) I realised that I was in serious danger of becoming a total a**hole because I was starting to forget that it wasn't real.

When you're treated like a genius just for ordering the mango and passionfruit sorbet for your dessert, it's easy to start believing that it's true (although it really was one of the greatest decisions I have ever made). And when you can't even get up to leave the dinner table to visit the ladies without somebody running over to pull your chair out for you, you could start thinking that it says something about your status in society; that of course you wouldn't move your own chair, not you, Oh Chosen One.

But – and I'm sorry to burst your champagne bubble – it isn't true. You are, instead, just some lucky mug who happened to have enough Indonesian Rupiah to cover the bill. And as soon as you run out of cash, so too will the good people of Five-Star-Ville run out of interest in whether you are or are not enjoying your meal. It's all just a game, and if you ain't paying, you ain't playing.

Now, this is not to undermine the integrity of the places we stayed. I am sure that the staff really is incredibly friendly and each member prides themselves on giving guests a holiday so enjoyable that they could just start weeping into their rained-on copy of the Metro every time they think about it – all I’m saying is that one mustn’t let it go to one’s head.

And so now we’re back to normal. If I want to get into bed, I have to turn down the sheets myself, there is nobody there to applaud my choice of fridge snacks each morning, and changing the toilet roll is, once again, my responsibility. The only fragment of the luxury lifestyle I have left is a soap I nicked from our last hotel.  But don’t worry, I won’t let it change me.

Charlotte Buxton is a freelance writer living in London. She runs a lifestyle blog Nothing Good Rhymes With Charlotte where she publishes a weekly column about relationships, growing up, things that get on her nerves, and anything else that might get a laugh.

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