Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Hotel Rumination

I know couples that like to "get away" from home by staying at a hotel. They go downtown, have dinner, go to the hotel, spend the night, get up and have breakfast, then go home. I don't get it. You were 20 minutes from your house, where everything was set up the way you like it, but paid to sleep somewhere else without all your stuff.

Perhaps I'm jaded from staying in too many hotels, motels, inns, and lodges, but there's no thrill or romance in that for me. I love to travel, and my wife and I have had some lovely weekends at bed-and-breakfast places in other towns (here's one we loved), but spending time in a regular hotel room is not among of the highlights of my life.

I don't ask much from the room I'm renting. Just give me a comfortable bed, a toilet that doesn't overflow, an internet connection that's faster than sending a postcard, a shower that's more than a schpritz, and a TV with the basic channels first in the lineup (why do I have to weed through HGTV and several shopping channels before I get to the real networks and whatever game I want to watch?).

I don't need fancy soaps and shampoos. Who wants to clean themselves with something that's labeled "bitter orange," which I found as my only choice recently? Even oranges don't want to go around with a bitter scent. Give me a bar of Ivory soap that's larger than a peanut M&M and I'll be fine. And someone will have to explain to me what Body Wash is -- it sounds like Tarzan explaining what he does in the shower.

I don't need the mini-bar. They must have guests who don't mind paying $16 for a Snickers, but I'm not one of them. I used to use it as a mini-fridge where I'd keep a couple of bottles of juice cold until the morning, but since you can't move things around inside the mini-bar refrigerator any longer without being charged for everything inside, I leave it alone entirely.

I don't need the room cleaned every day. First thing I do when I get to a hotel room is hang the Do Not Disturb sign on the door, and I don't take it off until I leave. When I'm home, I don't put out fresh towels and vacuum the carpet and make my bed every day, so I don't need those services during the short time I'm in the hotel -- especially since they insist on tucking in the sheets, no matter how many times I ask Lupe not to, and since I'm 6'4" and my feet dangle over the end of the bed, that means a nightly battle with the bed linens.

Plus, this way, I don't have to worry about putting my laptop and other stuff away whenever I leave the room. Yes, I know the housekeeper and other staff still have access to the room, but I'm sure they're happy to have one less room to clean that day, so they stay out, and I've never had a problem.

On a recent Vegas trip, I stayed at the Venetian for the first time, and it was beautiful. Really too nice for me. Every room there is a "suite," with all the amenities and plenty of space, including a separate living room area -- which I never used. When I'm in that town, I spend very little time in the room. And when I am there, I'm mostly unconscious, so I don't have any need for the DVD player nor the audio system nor the fancy lighting nor, especially, the copier/fax machine in the corner, which they supply as standard equipment.

There's a real selling point: "Want To Fax In Your Room?" I've seen plenty of ads for that sort of thing in Sin City, but never in the pluperfect subjunctive.