News & Reviews News Dorsia’s worst travel moments of 2023

What’s the point of having the best moments without the worst?  In the great words of Satan from South Park: “Without evil there can be no good.  So it must be good to be evil sometimes”.  I know 90% of you are here hoping for a rant, so it’s best to give the people what they want.

Moskito Island

Moskito Island – a name that should’ve been a red flag from the start.  It’s like expecting a tranquil stay at a place called ‘Amityville Horror’ that advertises their USP as having no phone signal and home page proudly displays pictures of their award winning on-premise morgue.  Still, Moskito Island had all the qualities that could make a wonderful stay.  Except that it’s part of Virgin Limited, which should have been the giveaway.  With a small, private island consisting of only super luxurious, unique villas, it’s everything we and our clients love.  It’s incredibly private, and the accommodation is spectacular.  There’s also lemurs on the island, which has scientifically been proven to be the meaning of life.  Food, service, facilities, activities, and joy were all subsequently forgotten as useful elements of a luxury property.

Since our stay, it’s no longer called Moskito Island, and Virgin advertise only the Branson Estate, the villa we stayed in.  Maybe the other villa owners did not want to be stained with the brand.

Necker Island

Did I bring this one on myself?  I knew what I was getting myself in for, but I still wasn’t prepared for the outcome to exceed my negative preconceptions.

The island is staggeringly beautiful, but just like Moskito Island, I wondered if I’d accidentally signed up for an ‘endurance customer service’ reality show.  Remarkably, the service was much better here than Moskito, but that’s like comparing a turd to sewage.  The accommodation, which was always my primary concern, was actually ok.  It was desperately let down by food and unprofessional service that I’d expect to greet me at a burger van in a disused parking lot in Wigan.  The island and nature are so memorable, but that’s not what my lasting memory will be of Necker.  That’s the last time I stay in a Virgin Limited hotel.

Nannies in British Virgin Islands

After hiring a nanny at Moskito Island who was so useless, she could have been easily outperformed by a mannequin, we replaced her with someone else, who was slightly more useful.  But in the sense that she had actually seen an infant before, but they were limited to Pampers adverts.  She didn’t last long either.  All these childcare superstars hailed from Little Dix Bay.  So, imagine our delight when we went to the kids club to be greeted by the ghosts of our holiday past.  Glory be.

Super Bowl

This was on the best moments list, too.  But my team did lose, and I did have to comfort crying men, which goes against everything it means to be British, where we bottle it all up and reserve crying for the death of someone in the Royal Family or having an eye infection, but the latter is still frowned upon.  I also had to stay in a Marriott.

Hotel Il Pellicano

After staying at the wonderful Bulgari Rome, the follow-up was going to be a tough battle, but they made it even harder on themselves by deciding not to even show up for the fight.  It resembles so many Italian resorts that charge for history and character but delivers absolutely nothing of note to justify it.  Dull rooms, apathetic service – a total joy vacuum.

Anywhere without a kids club

I am never going anywhere without one.  It is now more important to me than location, accommodation and price.  A drain that costs over $20,000/n, where you have to feed on the sewage, but your kids are looked after 24/7?  Sign me up.

Flying – constant delays

As you may notice from the lack of flight reviews, I hate them.  I tend to curl up in a ball and wait for the sweet comfort of death.  I struggle to compute how people get joy from it.  I already hate it, but when they keep getting delayed or cancelled, my dislike escalates to a new level of loathing.  This year seems to have featured more than usual, so thank you to all my least favourite airliners, which is all of you.


When you spend nearly a third of the year away from home in luxury hotels (or a Virgin Limited hotel), it is somewhat inevitable you will stumble upon some turds in the grass.  Yet, seeing how much I travelled this year, this is a very modest list of issues.  Maybe there’s hope for me, yet that one day I will be a good person.

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Tom Cahalan

Written by Tom Cahalan on 29th Dec '23

Dorsia Travel’s co-founder Tom Cahalan’s take on travel is reliably candid. Here’s his take on what’s good, bad, and luxurious.

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