Monday, May 11, 2009

I love hotels

I really do love hotels. I love to stay in hotels, especially the nice ones. Who doesn't, I know?

Now what brought this on, you may ask? Well, I looked at the calendar and if AII Sam and I had not split up (see, I said split up rather than saying "he dumped me") I would be in Zurich, Switzerland right this very minute, staying in a Hilton or in a Marriott, with privileges to go to the executive dining room, celebrating his birthday which was yesterday. Last week I would've been at his flat in Dublin and next week I would be in... Amsterdam or Paris- also in fab hotels. ::Ahem:: And in reality I'm hanging out here at my Daddy-O's house, cleaning the garage in preparation for the World's Largest Rummage Sale in 2 weeks and tolerating the never ending rain- maybe instead of cleaning the garage I should be building an ark.

So the snide feelings about fact that I should be relaxing in Zurich, in freaking Switzerland, aside, I still love, love, love hotels.

Now I've stayed in some pretty scary motels. When I was driving to the Wild West and I stayed over I was in a pretty scary motel. I got myself in a town with no "name" hotels and had to take a chance on a locally owned place. It was kinda gross. I wore flip-flops in the shower because it was creepy otherwise. Many years ago when I was dating CanadianSam we stayed in a dive in Memphis, TN. The Holiday Inn was under construction and we were in an unusual part of downtown... the room was about the size of about 3 normal sized rooms but the ceiling was so low, Sam had to duck or he would whack his head on it. The bed sagged in the center, there was a a leak in the ceiling in the bathroom, and mold on the sink fixtures. Needless to say, it was a pretty nasty place.

There was a time I stayed in a cheesy 1970's hotel, as I like to think of it. Lots of oranges and browns, shag carpet, tacky paintings, everything bolted to the wall, floor or furniture. The bathroom floor tile was orange and brown. The sink and tub were avocado green while the toilet was white. It stood out like a sore thumb. And the pool area was hilarious- it had murals painted of mermaids and "Atlantis" like scenes on the walls. And Algae growing in the pool water!

We stayed here for about 2 hours- when the cockroaches ran across the the shag carpet and then when the curtains fell from the window, we left. Immediately. This was somewhere in Maine.

My frustrating experience was when I was outside of Minneapolis, MN. I was driving in a huge series of storms. It was the middle of the night and the power was out over most of the state. I was trying to find an exit with a hotel, but in the middle of the night, in the middle of a thunder storm with no power anywhere on the interstate it was easier said than done. I had my mom on the phone looking at places on the Internet trying to tell me at least an exit number since I couldn't even see signs. And the radio was telling people to get off the road and to not pull over since it would be dangerous in the dark storm. Anyway, I found a hotel- a Courtyard by Marriott. I get there about 2am and the power is out. I make my way to the door with my flashlight and they let me in, charged me $101 bucks for the night, even though there was no power in the hotel. I wasn't sure I thought that was fair but it was desperate.

Other than these scary experiences, I have loved staying in hotels. I love the nice hotels the best- well, duh- who doesn't? Oh, I've seen the 48 Hours type of exposes about the nasties of hotel bed spreads and the like, but I don't care. I just really love hotels.

I don't have to do anything. Someone cleans up after me. I sleep and shower and when I come back, the bed is made, the room is cleaned, and there are fresh towels left, along with chocolates on the pillows. I love the Hilton, the Weston and the Marriott the most because I love the bedding. The huge fluffy pillows, the duvet, the crisp fresh sheets.

At these hotels they have Bath and Body Works, or Crabtree and Evelyn products. I love the fluffy towels and full mini bars. I love that nothing is bolted to the floor or wall. I adore that they bring room service on a rolling cart with silver covers on the food. I love the fresh flowers in my room. I think it's fun to have a safe in my room, even though I never have anything worth locking up! (When I was in Milan Sam and I did lock our passports up, though.) Really, I know it all sounds so silly, but I like it all. Amenities- I just love amenities!

And I try and be a nice guest. Even though I have the ability to have room service and maid service, I don't want to be a total slob. I always pile my towels all together in a pile on the bathroom floor. I throw away the wet soaps and wrappers. I try and throw away all my trash, and pull the covers up on the bed. Who wants to come in and clean up after a total and complete slob? I mean, really?

Now these days, almost anyone can have the experience of staying at nice Black Diamond rated hotels with the ability to use or other web sites that let a person pay a low price for these visits. And even if you don't stay at an expensive hotel like these, you can still have a nice hotel experience at Holiday Inn Express or Courtyard By Marriott. The hotel industry seems to have realized that it doesn't matter how poor travelers are but they need and deserve a nice place to stay. I like that lots of places let travelers upgrade rooms if they have kids, or offer free meals to people traveling with children.

I also think staying in hotels in big cities is the best because of the accessibility of everything . I love the concierge. I would love to be the concierge at a fancy hotel- how in the world do you land that gig?

One time when I was in Quebec I stayed at a small, very fine hotel, very exclusive place- George Clooney was staying there at the same time I was! It was nice, with people calling me by name, stocking the mini bar with my favorite beverage choices and snacks, and just giving some personal touches.

And I've never stayed in a B and B or a hostel, but I would like to try both at some point. And as I contemplate a possible 30 day stay around Italy (depending on a grant i applied for) this summer I'm thinking of the hotels I won't be able to afford. But I might try couch surfing (check out the concept online, just google it) and that could be something I add to my travel experiences. Who knows?

So, even though I'm not lolly gagging about in one of Europe's premiere cities, celebrating Sam's birthday, and staying in some of the best and most posh hotels around, I can still anticipate the next trip I take and the next time I can be pampered in a hotel.

Could I have a wake up call, please?

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