While my husband and I were planning a vacation years ago, we decided to build a “bucket list” of places we’ve always wanted to visit. The list started as a very rough list in my phone, and has grown to a live document organized by region of the world. Back then when Bora Bora was mentioned, we decided that it was such an incredible and extravagant destination that it had to be either our honeymoon, or a major anniversary celebration. Fast forward a few more years, and there we were planning the honeymoon of a lifetime!
This trip was a huge step for me in learning to manage my celiac disease. Prior to our honeymoon I’d been to fifteen foreign countries, but my last trip had been only months before the celiac diagnosis. As I learned to live with the limitations and adjustments, I had completely stopped traveling! I set out trying to figure out how to tackle our trip, and what I need to take care of before we left. We were planning to stay at the Hilton Bora Bora, and from what I could tell on their website, the restaurants on the property would be first class.
When it came time to pack up our suitcases, I decided to bring with me enough LÄRABARS to have one per day. I’m not sure how everyone else does when they get hungry, but if I can’t eat as soon as hunger hits, we’re all in trouble!! I tend to get very nauseous, a little cranky, and very quickly lose my appetite to the point that I really can’t eat. I’ve always blamed my reaction to hunger on the fact that I no longer have a gallbladder, but let’s be honest, I’m no doctor and I don’t know the true reasoning behind it. The LÄRABARS gave us the confidence to know that wherever we were, I had something I could eat immediately if need be!
Please let me stress before you read this next part, Bora Bora was an absolutely incredible trip, and I truly had the time of my life! Once we arrived, we quickly learned what appears to be many restaurants on the hotel’s website is in reality only two. One very expensive restaurant, and a more “reasonably” priced grill style restaurant. Here’s a basic synopsis of how each of our meals turned out:
Breakfast: The Hilton truly had a five star experience for breakfast. There was an entire room filled with fresh fruits, in addition to an omelet station (I ignored everything else). Because none of the ingredients in the omelet station had gluten in them, I was able to have one every morning without thinking about cross-contamination in the pans. Of course I always started the day with a nice variety of tropical fruits as well 🙂 Once the hotel found out I could not have gluten, they went out of their way to track down gluten free breads in town, which were promptly brought to our table each morning!
Lunch/Dinner: These meals were more of a challenge for me. The menu for the grill restaurant had the following sections: starters/salads, sandwiches, bruschetta, pizza, pasta, burgers, fish, meat, and dessert. You can see where I started to have a problem. The bruschetta, pizza and pastas were out, leaving me with salads (without the croutons), burgers (without the bun), fish or meat. On top of that, they only had three fish options, fish of the day in vanilla sauce, fish’n’chips (yikes!), or a fish plate to share which had both tempura and soy sauce in the description!! Needless to say I was getting an overload of protein, with too much vanilla sauce and very little variety.
Overall it was an incredible experience! Here were my major takeaways from the trip…I had to start somewhere right?
Lesson #1: People in the tourism industry are usually very eager to please their guests, let them know ahead of your trip that you require special dietary needs so they have plenty of time to research and prepare!
Lesson #2: Resort is not a synonym for “easy access to anything you need,” if it took you 10+ hours to fly there, chances are it takes just as long, if not longer, to get typical deliveries of goods there as well. This especially is important to remember when telling the resort about food allergies (back to lesson #1, I should have warned them ahead of time).
Lesson #3: When you pack gluten free snacks in your bag, don’t forget to transfer them into whatever you’re carrying for the day! They won’t do you any good back in your room 😦