There are three types of people: those who go to Pesach hotels, those who don't, and those who don't but secretly wish they could and publicly attack those who do. I am in the first category. Rav Emanuel Feldman of Cross Currents is apparently in the third.
In his recent piece he sarcastically attacks the concept of Pesach hotels and portrays those of us who enjoy such programs as hedonists who are quite prepared to act in a gluttonous fashion as long as the hashgachah is reliable. He even intimates that those who consider themselves 'Truly Frum" but attend these programs aren't really so different from the "Not So Frum" who are along for the ride.
Frankly, I have had it up to here with attacks on those of us who want to spend our hard-earned money on bringing the simcha back to simchas Yom Tov. For some people, spending the holiday at home with family and friends is the only way they can envision a meaningful experience. Fine, that works for them and kol hakavod. But for others, spending the holiday away from home and being able to relax without worrying about all the preparations getting ready for Pesach entails is what brings satisfaction.
Perhaps for some people it's about the all-you-can-eat kiddush and diving into the trough at dinner. For many of us, though, it's about taking those things we enjoy about Pesach without having to worry about the annoyances that come with it. Imagine being able to sit through the Seder without having to worry about serving the food or cleearing the dishes. Imagine spending erev Pesach learning the Hagadah instead of running around to ensure all the preparations are ready. Imagine Chol HaMoed with activities for the adults and kids without having to worry that they'll wind up somewhere and accidentally be handed chometz because the people they're with don't know better.
Is it about the cost? When it comes to the price of Pesach food, cleaning supplies and the help needed to get the house ready, along with the cost in hours needed to prepare the house (something no one ever seems to figure into the calculations) there isn't that much of a savings from staying at home. And what's the price of the peace of mind knowing that in the weeks up to the holiday you are able to relax at night instead of worrying if your children once again hid Cheerios in the sofa cushions?
Further, the basic argument - that those who go to Pesach hotels are gluttons looking to maximize their gashmius while pretending it's about their ruchnios - is a red herring. It is just as possible to be a glutton over Pesach in one's own home. The only difference is that in the hotel they clear the dishes away when you're done.
A Pesach hotel experience is not for everyone. And for some it can be a disgusting licence to stuff oneself like a pig. But for many of us it's an annual vacation, a chance to enjoy the holiday with friends we only see at that time of year, a chance to get away and really enjoy the Yom Tov.
As a Rav I heard speak once said, the greatest threat to Judaism today isn't the Pesach hotel. It's the people who think that the Pesach hotel is the greatest threat to Judaism today.