Maureen Dowd Must Have Spa Massages, Cost be Damned

Last Friday the New York Times sent out a memo telling staffers it's cracking down on expenses across the board. Sunday it published Maureen Dowd's (expensed) account of three days at Canyon Ranch resort. Huh:

MoDo is in top, infuriating, faux-self-loathing form. She spends the first several paragraphs wondering rhetorically whether anyone could justify spending thousands of dollars at a pricey luxury spa in Miami Beach during these hard times. Then she goes ahead and does. With the NYT picking up the tab, and paying her for her precious insight as well, we have to assume.

My mom always warned me that there was something immoral about a $5 cup of coffee, a $1.75 bottle of water, a $27 fifth of bourbon and a $40 candle. I’m sure the $500 pizhichil massage (without tip) offered by Canyon Ranch would have appalled her. It made my friend Alessandra, who had the “body ritual,” featuring two masseuses squeezing pieces of linen dipped in “medicinal oil” all over her body for 80 minutes, cringe a bit as well. “I felt like a fat Mafioso being serviced by Thai hookers,” she confessed afterward.

Later MoDo gets more massages, drinks booze, and goes out the town with her "pal," the Miami police chief, all while chuckling about how disconcerting her situation is, but hey, she can't be stopped from partying! (Is this why people hate "snark?")

A 950-square-foot, one-bedroom Intracoastal suite starts at $350 a night; a 920-square-foot poolside suite with one king bed starts at $450; a 1,200-square-foot oceanfront suite with two bedrooms starts at $1,000.

Meanwhile, back on the other ranch:

The Times will not subsidize or reimburse the cost of food delivered to the newsroom for departmental or staff meetings, without approval from News Admin. This includes departments or bureaus charging to their P-cards or to the newspaper the cost of bagel runs, supplies of bottled water, catered luncheons or any group meals for their staffs, whether the department is ordering from outside caterers and restaurants, or the cafeteria on the 14th floor. If a department is having a luncheon meeting, for example, editors should encourage participants to brown bag, bring down their own food from the cafeteria or share the cost of outside delivery.

You can't put a price on quality travel journalism, people.

[NYT, NYO]