Once the pandora’s box is opened, the couple move on to the Gritti Palace hotel in Venice, and then- just to calm the aeroplane naysayers- a staycation at The Berkeley.
“So lucky” Hayley captions the photo of her reclining at the back of a polished wood, vintage speedboat down the Grand Canal. “What a lucky boy,” Max writes on his stories, next to a photo of his girlfriend in her fluffy hotel robe clutching champagne.
Max and Hayley have never been grounded for so long. Not since that time Hayley thought she had Lyme disease and they cancelled their trip to Hydra. Typically they summer in Cap Ferrat, or visit friends in Tuscany. Winters are spent in Max’s grandfather’s chalet in Meribel. 2020 has been spent locked in their three bed townhouse in Holland Park. “We’re just so unlucky,” Hayley wailed into her Hermes handbag.
But then, the air-bridges emerged and Max and Hayley were saved. Off they flew to 5 star luxury on Lake Como, capturing every artisanal fruit plate and jet-stream bubble bath on the gram. The rose petals scattered on the bed, the “can’t believe this is my morning view” videos of the sun-drenched lake from their suite’s balcony.
Their followers start to believe they are not lucky at all, they are just rich.
The Bodrum Babes
Adjoa, Charlotte and Yemi have been quarantining in their flat in Manchester for so long that they are harbouring homicidal tendencies towards one another (though they would never admit this as they have been #rideordie since freshers week five years ago). Yemi suggests they book the first flight Easyjet offers and the girls all settle for Bodrum.
After passing their tests and requirements and enduring three plus hours of masked-up-flight sweat, they arrive at their beachside all-inclusive resort and spend the first hour instagramming their infinity pool and arguing over the fact they all uploaded the same video to Sunset Lover.
They get tipsy on mojitos and eat sushi by the beach, they stage photo shoots in high-rise neon bikinis from Missguided and waste half a day TikToking on the beach to the annoyance of a middle-aged couple who chastise them for not socially distancing and for playing their music too loud. The AC breaks in their shared hotel room, and Adjoa and Yemi fall out with Charlotte for being so messy that Adjoa trips over her faux Louis Vuitton Archlight trainers and hits her head on the coffee table. They all agree they can’t wait to get back to Manchester. At least they have separate bedrooms there.
Jem and Barbara wouldn’t dream of going abroad for their holidays. How insensitive at a time of national crisis.
“It’s almost vulgar,” Barbara says to her colleagues at her environmental start-up (over zoom of course). Instead, the couple intend to follow Boris’s advice, and holiday at home. They get a vintage beach hut in Camber sands. They eat local fish and chips, breaded scampi and old school sticks of rock. They freeze in the cold sea, warm up cans of soup on a hotplate that hasn’t been used since 1973. They wear Birkenstocks and carry their beach towels around in Daunt books canvas totes. They read Sally Rooney.
“Aren’t we doing our bit to help?” grins Jem into his steaming cup of Heinz tomato soup as his nose drips into it, scrolling through his feed and seeing their pals Hayley and Max in Venice.
“It’s adorable,” lies Barbara, checking her temperature in case the post English Channel dip chills are Covid, and wondering exactly how much a night at The Berkeley really is.
The Provence Posers
Nirpal and Marguax have driven down to Provence with the kids this year.
“Best to keep things simple,” Nirpal informs his boss at his hedge fund, who thinks Nirpal is a real trooper for forgoing his trip to Rio.
They load up the land rover and the twins, and take the tunnel (“so authentic”) sailing through vineyards till they reach Margaux’s pal Coco’s family place in Saint Remy de Provence (“so quaint, only five bedrooms!”)
The children play in sun-drenched courtyards, decked out in Petit Bateau’s finest, whilst the adults drown themselves in rose and lounge around for hours eating cheese and fig salads on tables designed by Coco’s new tablescaping brand (“you just need 15 metres of blue velvet ribbon, hand painted plates from Jaipur and a two week calligraphy course, it’s sooo easy!”) One day, Coco and Margaux drive to a nearby lavender field for a Jacquemus moment and the joint families go wild swimming in a nearby lake, before heading out to a Michelin starred restaurant in Nice.
“It’s good to get back to basics every now and then,” says Margaux, sipping her fifth glass of Mirabeau, and everyone nods as Nirpal gets a breaking news alert about French quarantine…
The Stuck in Spainers
Lynsey and Demola really didn’t sign up the whole, work-from-home, home-school, 24/7 parenting thing. In fact, they used to like their three kids. They’re almost certain they did… In a bid to remember why they procreated in the first place, they take the first cheap flight out to a family resort in Malaga…and land to the news that quarantine has just been enforced on Spain.
“What does this mean?” wails Lynsey, as the twins cry and their eldest throws his ipad at the receptionist, who is eyeing the crowd of yelling, panicked British tourists in fear.
They spend two days by the pool, with Damola desperately trying to get through to Ryanair customer service in between refreshing the home page of the gov.uk website. Lynsey sits there slowly drinking her fifteenth margarita as her youngest daughter tugs and tugs at her swimsuit, her eldest canon-balls into the pool, knocking a woman off her lilo and the other twin sings Baby Shark on repeat. She wonders what fourteen days of this at home will be like.
“Can I have another pitcher please?” she asks the waitress.
Lisa and her girlfriend Tami can’t afford to go away this year, seeing as Tami has been furloughed since March and Lisa was just made redundant. Instead, they play tropical music and sweat out the heatwave in their studio flat in Peckham, drinking Pina Colada tinnies whilst Lisa updates her CV and Tami blows up their inflatable flamingo from their girls trip to Ibiza in 2017.
“We should keep it up all year,” Tami suggests, whilst Lisa grumbles miserably “Only ironically.”
Tami tries to keep up Lisa’s spirits by wearing a bikini and sticking a Caribbean beach screensaver on their TV when she’s not encouraging them to watch Selling Sunset (“so awful, so fun!”) when all Lisa wants to do is stay in her pjs and watch I May Destroy You (“more relatable.”)
Tami sits in her bikini on their inflatable flamingo and wonders what happened to her ex Coco, scrolling idly to her insta profile and seeing her enjoying a “rustic paradise” in Provence with her husband. She throws her phone across the room and hears a sad whiny from the flamingo as it begins to deflate.