Most of us try to travel cheaply and save money where we can. Traveling can get costly all on its own, without much effort. After all, the more we can save, the longer we can travel and the further our hard-earned dollars can take us. And, while we know that travel is worth the money, we’re hesitant to splurge.
That logic is sound. Plus, recent research by Dr. Thomas Gilovich published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology finally proved that experiences like traveling really are worth the money, because they provide longer lasting and more meaningful happiness than other goods.
But, does Dr. Gilovich’s study mean that we should penny-pinch in order to have the most experiences possible? To travel longer and further away?
Not quite. When it comes to experiences, the old adage of quality over quantity often applies. Though it may be counter-intuitive, sometimes blowing your whole budget on the best day of your life can be better than a month-long trip.
And that’s exactly what Travel+Leisure’s Olivia Fleming found out when she and her boyfriend spent a month’s rent on one day at one of the world’s most luxurious spa hotels: The Nam Hai.
Here is her story:
When traveling around the U.S., my boyfriend and I are accustomed to camping and economical Airbnbs—neither of us had ever stayed at a five-star hotel before, nor had we ever experienced a real spa.
At the train station in Ho Chi Minh I typed The Nam Hai, where rooms range from $700 to $3,000 per night and spa “rituals” cost, on average, $400, into Google “just to look.” We started scrolling through The Nam Hai’s perfectly-lit and expertly styled gallery images.
Located on the pristine Ha My beach on Vietnam’s central coast and set in 87 acres of expansive, sculpted grounds, The Nam Hai is considered one of the world’s leading small hotels. There are 60 self-contained small villas, all featuring a raised four-poster bed facing the South China Sea, as well as 40 larger villas with up to five bedrooms, a private pool, and quarters for a butler.
Built according to a precise formula for zen, the spa features eight private relaxation bungalows that float serenely amongst lotus flowers on a koi fish-filled lagoon. Here, you are led through large French doors to an open air relaxation deck that juts out onto the lagoon, where a deep bathtub faces a cushioned daybed for two, and a vast selection of relaxing “rituals” and wellness “ceremonies” are offered.
When my boyfriend and I look back at our three-year-long relationship, where beautiful things have been bought for our first apartment together and budget-friendly road trips have been taken, our stay at The Nam Hai unanimously remains the highlight. I asked him to recall the 24 hours we spent there, which, when we checked out, totaled an entire month’s rent. His face lights up. “That was probably, no joke, the best day of my life.”
Isn’t that awesome? So maybe it’s time to reconsider that week-long tropical vacation and spend the money on something crazy. Rent a Lamborghini and cruise around downtown for a day, or take a loved one to some hyper-expensive restaurant. It’ll cost you, sure, but you’ll remember that day for the rest of your life!
You can read the full story of Olivia’s one-day-extravagance at Travel+Leisure, here.
Feature image courtesy of Roderick Eime via Flickr.
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