How much does a “White Lotus” holiday really cost?
If you are one of the people who contribute to HBO record audience looking at The White Lotus, you may be attracted for a number of reasons. Maybe you’re a big stan of Aubrey Plaza and love the way she delivers dark humor after falling for her in Parks and recreation. Maybe you just like to stay up to date with the hottest TV shows. Or maybe while binge-watching season two, you found yourself daydreaming about what it would be like to travel to Sicily and experience a white lotus-lifestyle.
For a black comedy that satirizes rights, privileges and, of course, wealth, The White Lotus gives viewers a glimpse into a jet-setter’s vaycay. Once upon a time, we dreamed of traveling to Italy The Lizzie McGuire movie, but now that we’ve matured, we imagine ourselves roaming Europe as adults. Luckily for you, online finance and investment coach Haley Kowalewski of Femme Financial Coaching has explained how much a White Lotus vacation will cost you. Spoiler alert: you’ll either need a massive bank loan, a sugar daddy, or be reborn in a trust fund if this show is your vacation goals.
Hawaii is an inner journey, so the first season shouldn’t be too overwhelming…right?
Welcome to Hawaii, specifically to Four Seasons Resort Maui at the Wailea Estate. The hotel has 15 acres of space, 383 rooms, coastal views, 2,000 original Hawaiian-influenced artworks, and more. Haley used the character of Tanya, played by Jennifer Coolidge, as her prime example to gauge the cost of a White Lotus stay at the Four Seasons Resort Maui.
Tanya stayed in the fictional resort’s “Hibiscus Suite,” which Haley says is the Club Ocean-Front Prime One-Bedroom Suite. According to them website, staying in this room in May would cost around $9,600 per night without tax. Interested in six nights? With taxes included, you’ll likely rack up $67,000 for the stay alone.
How about if you’re a couple looking to stay in a presidential suite, like Alexandria Daddario’s character Rachel and her husband Shane do on their honeymoon? You were looking for at least $29,000 per night or more than $204,000 for a complete stay with taxes included.
You can’t just stay in the room, amazing as the accommodation is, so when you’re inevitably hungry, you stop at one of the on-site restaurants. Haley pointed out that an average entree costs around $56, and if you pair a glass of wine with your meal, the average cost would be around $20.
Particularly hungry the next morning? If you’re interested in a buffet breakfast, you’ll pay around $52. You’re probably going to want cocktails by the pool or maybe you’ve got room for lunch, so add up all those meals and drinks together, and Haley gives her a conservative estimate that you’d have about $2,000 per person for a six-night stay.
However, no vacation is complete without activities! One of the most visually iconic moments of The White Lotus the first season should be Jennifer Coolidge’s Tanya renting a private boat for a few hours. Haley estimates it would cost around $2,800. Add other activities like a massage, which would cost you on average between $225 and $300, and you live well.
Her totals for Tanya’s vacation are as follows:
Suite – $67,000
Food and drink – $2,000
Massage x1 – $300
Boat – $2,800
Flight (estimate) – $4,000
Miscellaneous expenses – $800
But I can’t wait to fly to Italy. How much would a Sicilian White Lotus holiday cost me?
The Mediterranean is easily one of the most idyllic international travel destinations, so naturally The White Lotus had to take season two to Sicily, Italy. This season was filmed in Taormina, Sicily, in San Domenico Palace Hotel. Another Four Seasons property, this hotel offers panoramic views of the Ionian Sea, historic architecture from a 14th-century convent, beautiful gardens to explore, and, of course, upscale dining options.
Harper and Ethan are staying in the Junior Suite with Plunge Pool in season two, according to Haley. This room would probably cost around $3,404 a night, but if you want breakfast included, you’re looking at $3,756 a night. Haley noted that Tanya and Greg likely would have stayed in the Royal Suite, but that selection is so exclusive that pricing isn’t available on the website. That said, the most expensive room with visible prices is the Princess Cecilia Suite (about $6,309 a night), so Haley estimated the Royal Suite would likely fetch between $9,000 and $10,000 a night.
Next, consider food and meals. Most of the meal shots were filmed in the hotel’s main dining room, which in the case of the San Domenico Palace, is a Michelin-starred fine-dining restaurant called Principe Cerami. The main meat course costs around US$56, but if you were to indulge in their tasting menu, meal prices would range between US$125 and US$261.
You’re on vacation in Italy – you’re bound to sip an Aperol Spritz, a Negroni, a flute of Prosecco or a glass of Pinot Grigio, right? There’s a lot of booze going on in season two, and while the average cost of a cocktail at San Domenico Palace will run you close to US$24, you might want to calm down.
Well, Tanya hasn’t gone for a massage this season, but Haley pointed out that the rates at this hotel range from around US$130 to US$261. No vacation in Italy could be complete without a Vespa rental, which costs an average of $43, and Haley also noted that additional wine-tasting excursions would range from $163 to $272 per person.
His totals for Ethan and Harper’s vacation are as follows:
Suite – $24,000
Food and drink – $3,000
Excursions – $500
Flight (estimate) – $4,000
Miscellaneous expenses – $1,500
What should I do if I have the travel bug now, but don’t have that kind of budget?
If you’re planning a honeymoon, $33,000 is pretty hard to be cool with the expenses when you’re already shelling out a lot of money for the wedding itself. If you’re traveling for fun, a birthday, or even a family vacation in this increasingly bloated economy, $33,000 is still probably unreasonable for most of us.
Let’s compare them white lotus-holidays to another common holiday destination, however, because even less luxurious vacations come at a steep price in the end. Bloggers Ken and Em from mouse pirate shared that their Disney World vacation for a family of four (themselves, a child 10+, and a child 3-9) cost them $6,320 in 2023. For them, that included the flights, transport to and from the parks, five nights in a theme hotel, five days of park access, all meals and miscellaneous expenses.
That said, Ken and Em did offer a few other options for a family looking for nicer accommodations, better theme park options, and finer food choices, among other additions. For a family of four, they estimated the trip would cost $9,958. Add a family member and that goes up to $11,378. Subtract one family member and that totals $8,298.
Whether you want to travel to Disney World, Hawaii, or Sicily, there are plenty of ways to enjoy a beautiful and memorable trip without breaking the bank.
Let’s say you’re heading to Europe (and you’re not travel alone), afterwards backpack would be your most economical option. While there’s no average cost for a backpacking trip, consider that hostels can range anywhere from $20 to $100 a night. Hostels have their drawbacks, as you are likely sharing spaces with many foreigners, but you may also meet other world travelers. If you’re traveling somewhere entirely new and planning to visit the site to get the most out of your vacation, I bet you won’t be spending much time at your place of accommodation anyway.
However, hostels are definitely not your most comfortable option, but there are plenty of budget hotel options that can range from $100 to $300 a night. Alternatively, you can stay in a Airbnb which offers you a fully furnished rental property. It may feel a little more like home and give you the option of cooking some of your own meals like breakfast or lunch to save costs!
You’ll always want to take advantage of the delicious local offerings, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll drop big stacks at a Michelin-starred property. Local restaurant food in Europe ranges from US$9 to US$22, and street food ranges from US$5.50 to US$8. Splurge responsibly on a cocktail, an aperitif or a bit of vino!
The final expense to consider would be attractions. Suppose you travel to the Mediterranean and that, in addition to taking a look at Sicily to experience these white lotus Vaycay Dreams you also take a train to the Vatican or to Barcelona, Spain. On average, entry to the Vatican Museum would cost less than $20 and entry to Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia would be around $22.50.
Traveling can either surprise you and be reasonably affordable, or you can bite off a little more than you can chew and land yourself in debt. The most important thing to know is that any trip can be really special, no matter what level of accommodation you are in. Some of the most memorable and certainly most scenic travel experiences have happened while I was on a trip that included hostel stays! Go out and explore this beautiful world, no matter if your budget is conservative or if you end up rich like Cameron Sullivan.
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