Why are Pesach hotels so expensive?

Virtual Hotel Trudging in the snow, it’s time for many orthodox Jews to celebrate their alleged holiday of freedom by parting with about $4000 per family member for some fancy Pesach hotel.  (Do the math: including the flights, rental car, etc.) The experience is unlike anything Moses had in mind when he instructed the children of Israel to celebrate the holiday once they cross the Jordan River. I guess he was thinking that they’d simply remember the old days, tell some great stories, and share some BBQ with what seems to be a stale pita. Fast forward to 2011 and you have the Pesach hotel experience. The annual ba’al tashchis fest and 9-day long chillul hashem ordeal takes place at about a dozen of the fancier hotels in the country.

What makes it so expensive?!!!

You’d think it was the lavish outlay of food – the 24 hour a day tea room with unlimited pesadike-cake and grape juice by the pitcher.  Nope.

You’d think it was the kashering and inspecting of the kitchen by a team of watchdog mashgichim with microscopes.  Ha! You got to be kidding me.

The secret is revealed when you look at the guest speakers – and how many kids they have. Most of them are nobodies trailed by a brood of little nobodies who are looking for a free or cheap ride on what is an otherwise luxury-priced road to freedom. Your $3600/pp subsidizes their $0/pp (if they are a famous nobody) or their $1500/pp (if they are a nobody nobody). And you have to hear them spout out the same old crap that you can read in any Artscroll, and then hear their stories about how great their Rosh Yeshiva was.

Why can’t there be a reasonable Pesach alternative where normal Jews can enjoy a normal holiday, paying slightly more than normal prices to eat slightly less than enjoyable food. We’d be happy with it.

But noooOOOooo. We have to either pay out of our big noses (5 figures if you have kids), or slum it at home. Or worse, at a reluctant in-law who keeps a very different level of kashrus than you are really comfortable with.

Freedom, my ass. Pesach sucks when you are a grown up.

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/taotakashi/270197731/

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • http://www.kosherunicorn.com Yisroel H.

    Naked, unadulterated profiteering. After all, why is kosher food in general (in the US) so expensive? The price of kosher food, hotels, services, etc. FAR exceeds production costs, but when you have a captive market you can charge whatever you want.

    Yisroel http://www.kosherunicorn.com

  • thinking outloud

    fast forward to 2012? or is this an old posting

    • Telz Angel

      oops, it was something I wrote last year. I guess Heshy saved it for now :-) But hey, nothing really changed has it?

  • Lionof Zion

    Why do you say there is not great cost involved in flying Kosher for Pesach food all of the country-all over the world? It is not cheap to take over a kitchen in Arizona or La Jolla. The real root of the problem is the Churas that everyone is burdened with. If every house wife fulfied the actual obligations of cleaning out the cupboard and not overwhelmed by the outrageous stringencies they would have an enjoyable Pesach just as they do evvery other holiday. It is an unintended consequence that has come over from the Chasidic world. Those gus do things differently; sure they will not eat any vegetable they cannot peel and will not eat at a neighbor’s home. But they also shut down for two weeks before the holiday and the men are working alongside the wives for that entire two weeks. When Yom Tov finally arrives, the fathers take the 5 sons off to Shul for hours at a time while the oldest sister watches the four younger daughters and Mom gets a chance to rest. If you are going to be Chasidic, be Chasidic. but if you are not, don’t make yourself and everybody around you nuts by not eating Gebrokts, drinking Kosher for Passover Coke and avoiding store bought food. Clean your house the Sunday before Pesach as you would any other weekend and be normal.

  • Jon

    Yeah dude the guest speakers are not what’s driving up the cost. It’s simply expensive to begin with to run such an operation.

  • yeshiva dude

    OP,
    Find us a Pesach program without guest speakers, AND that is not expensive, and then get back to us.

    Lion,
    The amount of cooking alone, without all the insane chumras, is enough motivation to go to a hotel for Pesach. Additionally, it’s not just about getting away from all the hard work. For many people, this is the only time of year that they have time for a family getaway. That in tandem with the Yom Tov, what can be better?

  • Rebecca

    I’ll be in Acapulco at a private villa with five servants. Easy……

  • University of Wikipedia, PhD in Economics

    “We have to either pay out of our big noses (5 figures if you have kids), or slum it at home.”

    No one HAS TO do anything.

    Hotels are expensive because people are willing to pay for it.
    Related Economics 101 terms to wiki: Supply and Demand, Supply and Demand Curves, Economic Value, Subjective Theory of Value

    • Telz Angel

      I prefer to ignore facts and logic. Remember, I went to Yeshiva. Tell me what your Rebbe said while you were sleeping during his shiur, and that will carry much more weight than your reasonable comment.

    • Alter Cocker

      I don’t really think this represents the situation. Having majored in finance, I’m familiar with supply and demand. There is considerable competition in the hotel market, and prices are not high simply because people are willing to pay for it.

  • Sammy

    These Pesach hotels cater to the rich folks. I wouldn’t go as far to say that its a hillul hashem, but its definitely not a kiddush hashem. A lavish vacation is not consistent with Jewish values.

    • Telz Angel

      Sammy you are so right. Being lavish is anti-Jewish. As it says in the pasuk: (Luke 6:20-21) Then he looked up at his disciples and said: ‘Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.

      • rob

        G-d gives people different blessings to be enjoyed. Including disposable income for vacations over Pesach. Stop being jealous killjoys; do not covet.

  • Anonymous

    There is no place as comfortable to spend Pesach as at Home Sweet Home!

    • http://conservadox.tripod.com Woodrow/Conservadox

      As long as someone else is doing the cleaning! (Actually for me its not so hard since I’m single… I really have nothing to complain about!)

  • Geoff

    I used to go to the pesach resorts, but it really has increased in price. The cooking and cleaning is difficult, but you could buy all the prepared food you want and hire the best maids for a fraction of the cost.

  • anon

    Yeah I never got the whole scholar in residence thing. It’s like who wants speeches when their on vacation

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