As anyone who recently unfollowed me on Instagram due to incessant holiday smuggery will attest, I spent a hefty chunk of August on holiday. In fact, I was on holiday for a whopping TWO WEEKS.
Who goes on two week holidays nowadays? They’re an indulgence usually only reserved for honeymooners, seven year olds (or do holidays just seem to go on forever when you’re that age?) and city traders who are forced to take such lengthy holidays simply to prove they’re not fiddling the markets.
I couldn’t believe it when I set my out of office on August 13th to say I wasn’t returning til September. It was one of the greatest feelings there has ever been.
But the best part? It was a points holiday.
A POINTS HOLIDAY.
I like collecting points. It doesn’t matter if it’s at Starbucks, Superdrug or Sainsburys, I will gather up any points you’ll throw at me and lovingly coo over them.
But cashing in points? It’s like the impossible dream.
Okay it’s easy enough to do at Boots or whatever, but free flights and hotel rooms always seem massively out of reach.
I travel fairly regularly and I do all my spending on BA and Virgin Atlantic credit cards, but my husband travels a lot. Between us we’d amassed what I assumed was a decent stash of points so back in May we decided to ruddy well blow them. BLOW THEM ALL.
But it wasn’t easy.
ST had thousands and thousands of Starwood points, but we struggled to find a really nice hotel we could go to for more than say, two nights. I was actually stunned by how many points we’d need for some of their hotels. I mean sure, a free night anywhere is amazing, but I didn’t want to travel to some random city for a two week holiday JUST because one night would be free – I’d rather just go somewhere I actually wanted to go.
But then I found the Sheraton Salobre – a Starwood hotel where we could get *ten* nights free with our points. A hotel with seven pools, two golf courses, a spa, picture perfect views and unanimously positive reviews on TripAdvisor. Ten nights. For free. IN AUGUST.
The catch? It was in Gran Canaria. A place which for no good reason at all I’d always assumed was a hell-hole of cement, Carlsberg and peeling sunburn.
We booked it anyway, because all the pictures on the hotel website looked too nice not to. After all, it was a five star hotel, it was free (!), there’d be guaranteed sunshine and we could laugh about it if it all went horribly wrong.
Well nothing went wrong. It was perfect.
I don’t know where my definitely offensive stereotype of Gran Canaria had come from, but having now been I am happy to say I am ashamed at myself for being so judgemental. Gran Canaria is a stunningly beautiful island. I know I’m not alone in this misconception though, I had lots of comments on Twitter and Instagram from people who were ‘surprised’ by how nice it looked, including from people who had actually been….