With plans to create a new indoor ‘holiday experience’ in London next year, we ask: can a 4-hour break really compare to a week overseas?
From 2016, sun-starved Brits will be able to get dose of winter sun without even leaving the UK. That’s if plans for a new ‘indoor tropical paradise’, called Summerland, go ahead.
The concept is the brainchild of Glastonbury’s Shangri-La founder, Deborah Armstrong, who aims to bring a taste of summer to winter in the form of a 4-hour immersive show.
There’ll be a full-blown beach with hot tubs, a waterfall, and an animated skyline that switches from day to night. There’ll be a stage area for headline bands and special guests. And punters will be able to enjoy their ‘holiday in a day’ with their kids during the daytime, or after-dark when it’s strictly adults-only.
This all depends on Summerland’s creators raising something in the region of £700k to get the project off the ground. Investors have already come up with a total of £152,079 via the crowdfunding platform Seedrs, but the big question is: is it money well spent?
The eight-day rule – and the science behind it
According to a recent study on holiday habits conducted by the University of Tampere in Finland, the answer is no. At least not if you want to reap the benefits of a proper holiday, that is.
Talking about the research in The Wall Street Journal, psychologist Jessica de Bloom explained: ‘Eight days is the ideal to fully gain the benefits of a holiday.’ Crucially, that’s when happiness levels in the holidaymakers studied hit its peak.
A ‘getaway’ of 4 hours, then, is unlikely to hit the spot – you’d barely have switched off your phone, let alone found your happy place.
Leisure sickness might not be a myth
Then there’s ‘leisure sickness’ to factor in. Yes – it turns out falling ill with a cold as soon as you hit ‘save’ on your Out of Office is an actual thing. Or at least, it’s a theory that Ad Vingerhoets – the Dutch psychologist who coined the phrase – has looked into extensively.
His study found various theories as to why we always seem to get ill at the start of a holiday, the first being that a drop in the stress hormones adrenalin and cortisol – which help us get through a hard day in the office – leaves us wide open to infection.
The second is that we’re ill all along, and we just don’t realise until we actually stop and start to relax. Either way, it’d be a shame to spend all of your 4-hour holiday slathered in Vicks VapoRub rub rather than Hawaiian Tropic, right?
The journey, and – yes – even the pesky packing
Science aside, there are plenty more obvious reasons why we’re not sold on the 4-hour holiday idea. Yes, we moan about packing – but choosing a different pair of shoes for every night of your holiday is part of the fun, even if you don’t remove your flip-flops for the duration. Ditto packing swimwear for every eventuality (because banana boats and string bikinis just don’t mix).
And yes, the moment we step on that plane we just want to be on a sunlounger. But isn’t there something to be said for the journey? The ungodly alarm clock, the sleepy airport breakfast, and that moment when you first step off the plane and the warmth hits your face at the other end?
No – all things considered, we’re not budging. We’d never pass those up for a 4-hour holiday. Although we would be happy to scrap the coming-home bit…