Image: Jay Yeo
February 25 2012
Spending a holiday with six couples was a window on to just how endemic bottom hysteria has become among women. (I blame Pippa Middleton and her Ass Appreciation Society, with its thousands of fans on Facebook.)
We were all staying in a sublime tree-house resort in the jungle on the Yucatán Peninsula, in south-east Mexico – eco-living the way Robinson Crusoe would have done it, if armed with a black AmEx – and we live in bikinis and mosquito spray. So as certain as the sun rises in the east, the soft crashing of the waves at the end of the deck was regularly permeated by a cacophony of “Does my bum look big in this?”
I had read numerous times about the Amansala Bikini Bootcamp, in the bohemian-chic Mexican village of Tulum. It promises the perfect getaway for sporty Spa Junkies, like yours truly, who want to hoick their bottoms up by an inch and yet be just a 30-minute bike ride away from ancient Mayan ruins. Yoga and boot-camp-style fitness in stunning eco-friendly lodgings on the beach, and the chance to work up a sweat, get a tan and vastly increase your water-cooler/wise-crack repertoire with clever stats on Mayan culture, anyone?
Three words: this is perfect.
“Your pictures are not representative of the establishment.” Two well-to-do New Yorkers in their mid-30s, seemingly just arrived, are already checking out and demanding their money back.
Bizarrely, this normally bodes well for me, as I tend to follow the hard-core spa roads less travelled. But as I’m ushered into my cabana, I see immediately where their disdain lies. The rooms look nothing like they do on the website. To say mine is on the shabbier side of shabby chic would be a compliment; it’s simply tired – the walls and the floors a shoddy mix of paint jobs, the cheap red curtains stiff from the daily onslaught of sea salt through the windows. Some are stained almost black; have they ever been washed?
I turn a blind eye – I’m not here to ponce around the room, after all. I’m here to literally work my ass off, so what do I care. I will make the most of the stunning surroundings and soak up the sun. And the daily programme, which I glanced at in the kitchen as I arrived, is jam-packed with adipose-annihilating, butt-firming, sweat-inducing and fun cardio-based workouts – Sexy Strength, African Dancing, Tango, Beach Body Sculp – plus cycling excursions. But the large stains across the sheets are one eco-step too far. As I note their position, I wonder if they are indeed the clay mud stains from the wraps the receptionist suggested when I complained.
I’d told her that I honestly don’t care where they came from – I just want to sleep on clean white sheets. What’s even more upsetting is the sandpapering my legs are being given by the rough, old cotton. As I drift off uncomfortably, I wonder if this is the exfoliation part of the programme.
Three new words: it’s a dump.
Spa Junkie pays for all her own travel, treatments and accommodation.