When the economy first hit the skids nearly two years ago, and gas prices skyrocketed, travel gurus made the phrase "staycation" part of our everyday lexicon. Now, it's become a local business.
Staycations, a new venture on S. Third Street, offers rented rooms with ridiculous—and no doubt relaxing—amenities. Hot sand, "happy lights" and high-def televisions that transmit tranquil ocean scenes make up just a few of the plush options available to customers.
It seems odd to open a lavish indoor escape on the eve of Montana's most inviting time of year, but we're not ones to quibble. In fact, as we daydream about the virtues of spray tans and oxygen bars in our fluorescent-lit basement, we can't help but think of who deserves a Staycations stop more than us.
Take Anthony Johnson, the University of Montana senior guard who re-wrote the Big Sky record book by dropping 42 points in a title game victory over Weber State. Johnson's individual performance—arguably the best by a Griz athlete ever, considering an NCAA tournament berth was on the line—included a 34-point second half in which he single-handedly outscored the Wildcats. If anyone deserves a breather, we think it's AJ, and suggest he kick back with a massage before pursuing his pro career.
Johnson's classmates may consider a similar treatment rather than dropping serious coin in Cabo. Spring break starts in about 10 days, and Staycations owner Joy Twite tells us that enhanced oxygen boosts energy and helps fight hangovers. In fact, the co-eds may want to book early—we know at least a few local politicians who may prefer to stay off the streets (or water) and saddle up to this bar instead.
Speaking of politicians, Staycations' group therapy room sounds like the perfect getaway for the embattled staffs of U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg and Gov. Brian Schweitzer. Rehberg could trade hunting stories with state director Randy Vogel and field rep Mike Waite—both were on the trip that landed Vogel citations for poaching and obstructing an officer—in an atmosphere featuring aromatherapy, individual sun lamps and the island music of their choosing.
Schweitzer's crew can bask under the so-called "happy lights"—special bulbs that mimic the sun's warm glow—and brainstorm even more ways to strip away the state's real natural beauty. Arch Coal's reported $86 million bid for Otter Creek's coal tracts should make paying for his staff's stay that much easier.
We could go on with other possible staycationers—both sarcastic and sincere—but we've suddenly lost our focus. How much do you think it'd cost to install "happy lights" in our basement?