My parents were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary in August, 1992. My Dad, who was retired, was just finishing a stint as a FEMA employee in Southern Florida helping hurricane victims and setting up the Miami command center at Miami Airport.
My family and I decided that we'd send them on a great adventure, one which they could never have afforded to the Marriott in Ponte Vedra, Florida Sawgrass Golf Resort.
Using personal persuasion and a few calls to the hotel we were able to ensure that Mom and Dad got the royal treatment. The manager, a man whom I did not know, was kind enough to take their visit as a personal task, making sure they got the best of everything. A large suite, a bottle of champagne (and they rarely drank), a fantastic dinner. We paid the bill, which was very reasonable, so they could have a great time since we could not be there at that time. It was a good, no a great anniversary for them.
A year later, after Hurricane Andrew ravaged Florida, Dad was still with FEMA, working 12 hour days seven days a week, when he discovered that he had cancer, He was dead two years later, and Mom bravely carried on, as she still does, with great dignity at age 90. Her memory is being eroded by dementia, but when I talk with her the Sawgrass trip is among the first things that she mentions.
So, among the clatter and noise about hotels, loyalty programs, the hunt for status and benefits, there's ground truth: at times a stay is more than a few nights in a hotel, it's a special memory that lasts.
What a great story and a great thing of you to have done
I agree, hotels are often more than just a place to stay. Ironically, my fiancee and I have Marriott intertwined with our relationship. We got engaged at a Marriott and will be getting married at a Marriott!
While I can't afford to send my parents off, last year I was able to give them a room at Disney's Aulani in Ko Olina, and they had a blast! It was so much fun to see them acting like kids again, riding the slides all day long, and what not. And now they're waiting to go back again this year. I'm hoping I can do this every year for them!
How appropriate and touching!
I am not sure this could be done again in today's World.
Let me also share with you one similar tale with my late Father. He was a very good golfer (I was terrible), and for a Birthday present one year, I drove him to Ponte Verde, so I could treat him to a round of golf at Sawgrass. I am not sure of exactly what year it was, but it was about the same time your folks were there. We stayed at The Marriott, I think it was a time share, because it was like a townhouse, but very nice!
The green fees where a lot then, I think about $125 PP, but did we have a great time! He shot well, and pared the famous par three hole, you see on TV, surrounded by water.
My Dad always kept his scorecards, and kept this one up on his wall in his home office.
Congratulations on your "Great deed", and thanks for listening to my memorable one as well!
anadyr -- What a nice recollection to share! So true about "a special memory that lasts." It was wonderful you could do this for your parents; one never knows when their time is up on this earth. Thanks for letting us get to know you and your family a little more. -Sledchick
I had not seen your post until today. It truly touched my heart. I don't know about how your parents grew up, but mine did during the Depression. The times I was able to get them in a hotel they were in AWE. So appreciative of the small luxuries that can easily become commonplace and overlooked when you spend a lot of time in a nice hotel. The memories of that give me great pleasure. Now I am able to do a similar thing with my pre-teen nephews and nieces. My husband & I take them to unexpected destinations, away from electronic games & all those other distractions, to just enjoy family, landmarks, views and nice dining (where they are expected & now eager to know their server's name). Priceless.
Thanks sharing & I hope your Mom always has her happy memories.
Thank you 77paris. My parents did indeed grow up during the Depression, but my Dad's Irish/German parents were hit especially hard, and his college dreams faded with the crash in 1929. My Mom's more wealthy English/French parents were able to withstand the winds of economic turbulence, and maintained a good lifestyle during the thirties.
Nonetheless, the era in which my mom and dad grew up forever stamped them with a feeling of hard works paying off, of saving, and of course having core values that they passed to me.
I salute them this day and all days. I speak with my Mom, my trusted adviser then and now, and see the dementia as a small part of her greatness, one that I can break through.