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Holiday accommodations decoder

Little-known fact: Most holiday accommodations have an actual value of $50 per night, which is not a bad price for what is, after all, just a bed for the night. So what drives up the price from $50 to $200+? Well, it comes down to semantics, it’s all about the prettily-worded descriptions. 
Without the descriptives, you get the naked-food-end-of-fork truth:
“Room with bed. Includes toilet (works if you wiggle handle). Scenic: tree nearby, dead. Soaring pigeons. Bed bugs friendly but mostly not housebroken. Bedding: 30-count polyester, with thin spots, some stains. Colour TV, doesn’t work. Building is not nestled.”
That is your $50 room.
Yet injected with proper descriptive words, you get something like this:
“Idyllic paradise nestled among old-growth trees with eagles soaring all over the place. Bed has 5000-count 100% cotton sheets lovingly hand-woven by reasonably happy Egyptian women. Tastefully appointed with fancy little bottles of stuff, and far too many throw pillows.”
That room just soared, like the eagles, to something in the neighbourhood of $300.
But how to decode such descriptives? Don’t despair, I’m here to help, with a holiday accommodations decoder. 
All accommodations, from remote wilderness lodges to city hotels, are now required to be ‘nestled’. They are no longer located, they’re nestled. They’re nestled amid trees or nestled in a city neighbourhood or nestled by a lake or nestled by the sea. In the event of, say, an earthquake, they might be broken to bits and hanging halfway into a sinkhole, but they’ll still be nestled. The word ‘nestled’ means: you are going to pay more. Even a cheap accommodation is instantly more valuable when nestled, ie “Welcome to Motel 6, conveniently nestled in the back-forty of the Walmart parking lot.” Note: If you happen to find an un-nestled accommodation, grab it. You’ve found something rare, something almost exotic in its lack of nestledness.
If a room is ‘tastefully appointed’, add $50. 

Means 'overpriced rooms with lake views'.

Means 'crappy rooms on parking lot side, for the cheapskates'.

If the accommodation is ‘elegant’ or ‘exclusive’ add $200+. Prepare to be snubbed by staff who know full well that you’re a fake. They know that under your recently-acquired Ralph Lauren outfit that you bought to fool them, you’re wearing skivvies from Walmart.
If you see the term ‘thread-count’, add between $100 and $300. 
If the words ‘Tofino’ or ‘storm watching’ is even hinted at, add $500.
If the accommodation is ‘rustic’, forget the thread-count, you’re looking at polyester sheets and a sofa that hasn’t been cleaned in a very long time. A very very very long time. Your rustic accommodation, which will be too cold or too hot no matter what you do, will cost less than $100, as long as you don’t see the words ‘wilderness retreat’.
RUSTIC followed by the words WILDERNESS RETREAT
If the ‘rustic’ place is located in the ‘wilderness’ and the word ‘retreat’ is in the mix, add $300 minimum. 
If an accommodation says that it ‘includes flush toilet’, you’re looking at $75, tops. However ~
Add $250.
If a property is in the ‘wilderness’, it’s going to cost. If it’s a ‘wilderness retreat’, it’s really going to cost. If it is a wilderness retreat that cannot be accessed by road, talk to your bank about a loan, you’re going to need it. And if you do book, pass yourself off as a lawyer or doctor or judge because those will be your fellow peeps at the site. And don’t give yourself away by crying like a baby when you get the bill. Be cool. Speaking of cool:
If swimming in ‘cool crystal-clear water’ is offered, it means you will freeze to death within five minutes of entering the water. 
If it says the water is ‘the warmest water in Canada’ pay attention to the qualifying part of that statement (hint: the word ‘Canada’). ‘Warm’ water in Canada simply means that it will take 10 minutes to freeze to death instead of five. Exception: If there are groups of small children splashing around nearby, the water very likely IS warm. And I think you know why, too.
If you can ‘watch wildlife from your window’, add at least $100. Be aware, as you fork out the money, that rats qualify as wildlife, as do pigeons and mosquitoes.
If there are ‘soaring eagles’ add at least another $140.
If the furnishings are referred to as ‘decor’, add $50. If there’s an accent over the word, ie ‘décor’ add $100.
If there’s an accent over the word ‘décor’ and the word ‘designer’ is in front of it, add $150+.
Comparisons to paradise don’t rack up the cost by very much, maybe an additional $10, because 99% of holiday accommodations are, apparently, located in paradise. “Welcome to Ray’s Rustic Roomz, a piece of paradise nestled yonder behind the dipsy-dumpster.”
If you’re not sure about an accommodation, simply check the online ‘reviews’, carefully written by ‘Bob H’, ‘Sue R’, ‘Karin G’ and ‘Mike T’, who are the owners and their friends. The bad reviews are written by ‘Sam B’, ‘Mary O’, ‘Joe L’ and ‘Matilda H’, they are the competition across the street. 
Positive reviews will contain the words ‘view’ ‘romance’ ‘private’ ‘honeymoon’ ‘best ever’ ‘paradise’ ‘beyond our expectations’ and, of course, ‘eagles soaring’:
“We just loved the view and romance. It is a piece of paradise, beyond our expectations. We were practically tripping over the soaring eagles. It is the best place we have ever stayed in our entire lives, and we have stayed in over 4000 countries and 10,0000 accommodations, and nothing even comes close to this place.” 
Negative reviews will contain the words ‘filthy’ ‘rude’ ‘couldn’t sleep’ and ‘horrible service’:
“The place was so filthy, I thought I would die, and probably still will from who knows what diseases I picked up while there. Truly horrible service, the incredibly rude owner nastily laughed at me when I politely asked for access to drinking water that didn’t look and smell like septic water. Couldn’t sleep for the chewing noise as the bed bugs dined on us. We will never go there again, and am only glad that we discovered the amazing soaring-eagles place nestled right across the street. Sure wish we had found it first.”
Happy summer holidays, people. Stay safe. Stay nestled. Soar with the eagles. Or bedbugs, whatever.

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About the Author

This bio was written by Jo Slade. As you can see she has written about herself in the third person. What normal person would do that? They just wouldn't. Who knows how many other persons might be involved in this thing, a second person? Another third? I worry about it. I - she - we - can't even keep it straight, this paragraph is a damn mess, there are persons all over the place. Round 'em up and shoot 'em. That's what I'd do, and by golly I think that's what Jo Slade would do as well.

Biographic nutshell: Jo has been messing around with words for a long time. Sometimes she'll just say words instead of writing them, it saves on paper.

The columns that appear here are of a highly serious and scholarly nature, therefore it is advised that you keep a dictionary and ponderous thoughts nearby.

If, after reading so many thought-provoking words, you find yourself tossing and turning at night, burning with the need to email me, just do it. I answer to [email protected]

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet presents its columns "as is" and does not warrant the contents.

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