Mama Deb (mamadeb) wrote,
Mama Deb

Pesach Villas

I stopped into a kosher pizza place for a bite to eat before Pa-kua yesterday. While I was there, I picked up a flyer for Pesach Villas in Orlando.

A bit of an explanation for them as needs it: cleaning and cooking for Passover is a huge endeavor, sometimes more than can be done. One way to avoid it is to sell your house (it's a real sale and transfer of ownership, but it reverts back to you after the holiday)and go away to a Pesach hotel, which will also provide the seders and all meals. These are often in resorts or resort locations, and are, in effect, the vacation for the year. At least one, which takes place in the former Lunacon hotel (known familiarly as the Escher Hilton), is advertised as close enough to NYC that people can go to work, taking with them the box lunches provided by the hotel. The resort types will also provide lunches for those who go off premises (as well as three meals a day, snacks and 24 hour tea-rooms). They also provide entertainment, religious classes and age-appropriate programming for the kids.

None of these come cheap, btw. They're all in 4 figures to *start*, and may not include travel expenses. However, some people need this and many enjoy it, and there are some for whom this is how you spend Pesach.

Normally, of course, it's a hotel thing. You get however many rooms you need to cram with your family, you eat in the dining room or tea-room, there are set hours (usually seperate for men and women) for the swimming pool, and even if you have private sederim (a room set aside for just your family so that there isn't the cacaphony of conflicting customs or because you think it's nicer), all other meals are communal.

The villas, which is written in laughable English, is something else. You get a little *house* all your own, with a garage, possibly a screened-in private pool (so you make your own hours and modesty is preserved), three-five bedrooms and a fully stocked kitchen. And you get all your meals *anyway*, and someone to serve them. Pay extra, and you get maid service. Pay even more extra, and you get a private "butler" to serve your food. Pay more, and you get kids programming. The coolest bit is that you get to keep all the utensils and small appliances they provide (in fact, I assume it's more like "PLEASE TAKE THEM!", since they can't be sure how careful you'll be with milk and meat - the food provided will all be pesadich.)

And they talk about how lovely it would be to be when "your house is your FORT". You get to use all your own minhagim, and your own timing, and your own dress code. When a kid gets tired, you can put him to bed in his own room, not on chairs. And it's completely private except for the person serving your food. You know. Just as if you were at home...

And I understand why people want to go away. These villas, for example, are in Orlando, so there's Disney World right there. Or it's the best way to be with the whole family, or there are problems about either having seder guests or being them. And, you know. For a mother, especially one who has a large family or who works outside the home, or both, sitting back and letting someone else do the cooking and serving would be a true vacation, unlike, say, the summers in the bungalow colonies.

Me, I love making the s'dorim, and I have regular guests to mine. And this year, since I now have cleaning help, getting the apartment ready will be relatively easy. And I realized something. I could hire a crew to clean my house and prepare my kitchen for Passover for less that 1/10 the price of a Pesach hotel, and I could even get the seders catered if I wanted to - places in Flatbush certainly offer that service.

It would not be a vacation. It would not be a chance to travel to someplace exotic or fun. Nor would there be the family around me, except the ones who come to my seders. I'd still have to cook all the other meals. And I wouldn't be coming back with a trunkful of utensils and small appliances.

But it would be cheaper. No, I'm not doing it, but it's there for future reference.

And we'd be our own Bal-a-boss, as the flyer said.
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