sex and the city, summer, holiday, vacation, villa holiday, beach

The politics of villa holidays

  1. “We like to keep things really chilled,” says your hostess. You will spend the first afternoon of your stay driving a hire car round a massive industrial estate in 39-degree heat looking for a supermarket because even though they got here three days earlier she hasn’t bought ANY FOOD except goats’ milk yoghurt.
  2. “We’re bringing our nanny.” Who will look like Bella Hadid. Who will appear in a playsuit for dinner. Who will frolic enchantingly in the pool with your children while you sweatily stack the dishwasher.
  3. “It’s Ibiza – we just go with the flow.” With no reservation, you’ll still be looking for a table at 12.30am.
  4. Your friend will bring her three toddlers. She will insist that no one can go to the beach or the market until they have finished their naps. The children will get sunburn, mosquito bites and step on live cigarette butts on the beach. They will whinge exhaustedly all week. You hate your friend. Later, you will hear her crying quietly in the bathroom and feel bad, because her husband clearly hates her too.
  5. Someone will insist on clubbing. Apparently nothing gets going till 2am. And then you will get up at 8am with a gang of minions having a party in your head because you haven’t been able to sleep past 7.30 since 2005.
  6. “We’re definitely leaving for the chateau/cathedral/ruins at 10am!” someone announces firmly at dinner. At 10am you are ready, guidebook in hand. No-one else stirs until 12.45.
  7. Your hosts are much richer than you, so in order not to seem like a ligger you find yourself offering to pay for lunch. Everyone drinks. And they order the fish. Lunch costs more than your mortgage payment.
  8. Slow dancing by the pool will inevitably occur. And possibly naked swimming. This will be hard to come to terms with when you get home.
  9. Why am I the one washing three hundred wine glasses and emptying the ashtrays when everyone else is STILL ASLEEP?
  10. If you are single, you will get the windowless bedroom over the air-conditioning vent, “Because it’s just you, isn’t it?’

And then, on the last evening, you will find yourself at a bougainvilla-shaded table, with a glass of rosé in your hand and a really excellent kaftan slipping off your bronzed shoulder, and you’ll look around and know, with warm and floaty certainty, that these people are the ones who’ve been through it all with you, that these moments are really just so precious. Then someone will mention this fantastic farmhouse in Le Marche and you will hear your own voice enthusiastically agreeing that yes, won’t it be wonderful to do this all again next year…

By L.S. Hilton, author of Maestra and Domina / lisa-hilton.com/ls-hilton/

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