Despite everything, 2021 was a surprisingly successful year. Our choice of international destinations may have been severely restricted, but thanks to the introduction of effective vaccines, we were at least able to travel freely within the United States. And we even managed to find our way back to Mexico, Costa Rica, Italy, France, Portugal and East Africa.
Over the course of 12 months, we stayed in 87 hotels and resorts and dined at 69 restaurants, in addition to those at the properties we reviewed. Most importantly, a majority of the hotels that we visited seemed relatively close to normal. Some prices may have been preposterous, but at least restaurants and spas had reopened, and there were fewer of the chronic staffing shortages that had been such a depressing and consistent feature of our travels in 2020. When reaching a judgment, we made some allowances for the extraordinary nature of the times. But, in general, we insisted on the highest standards and felt comfortable that our assessments would prove fair and reliable.
Alas, it is impossible to know precisely what 2022 will bring. Will the world open up again? Or will opportunities for travel still be confined? There seem to be grounds for qualified optimism. Certainly, the owners and employees of hotels and restaurants around the globe would be thrilled to see the return of the American traveler, to say nothing of the wildlife rangers and environmentalists for whom the tourist dollar is often their most important source of income. So let us hope, for all of our sakes, that experiences in far-flung lands will once again become a regular and agreeable feature of life in the year that lies ahead. Bon voyage!