Tuesday 4 January 2011


I love hotel living. I’ve been staying at one with my family for the past seven days and when check out rolls around, I fear they might have to pry my fingers from the balcony railing, as I will be holding on in hopes of never leaving.

The most obvious of reasons is of course the full service nature of the experience. You’re hungry? You dial a phone and say, ‘hi, I’m hungry I’d like you to bring me food.’ And voila, food is brought up to your room. You’re done eating, and presto, the food and more importantly, the dishes disappear. You’re tired, the bed is clean, made, and usually lined with way more pillows than any human needs. And they even come by in the evening and turn down the sheets for you, just in case this mere exercise is too much for you on holiday. Then there is the water by your bed and the chocolates on your pillow. I mean, what is a better cap on the end of the day than chocolate. I suppose they could leave a bottle of whisky on your pillow and two Vicodin, but I’m sure that would make their insurance rates go through the roof. 

Hotels are also the most brilliant way to observe society; depending on where you are staying of course will dictate what part of society you will be taking in. For example, if your hotel is really a motel, then you may have more hookers than let’s say, lawyers. Then again, there is probably not such a huge difference between the two. Just merely sitting by the pool during the day, you can see how people conduct themselves with other guests and staff, how they raise their children, what they choose to wear on a holiday – this can be very amusing – and of course the tensions that arise from traveling en famille. That can be even more amusing than the outfits. Then there is the in built class system – the staff tirelessly (and often thanklessly) looking after everyone; the ‘money’ guests as I like to call them – the ones that stay in the penthouse and are greeted around every corner as if they’re royalty. And of course the guests whose room faces the alley.

At the moment, our hotel is like a hotbed for families. There are children of every conceivable age absolutely everywhere. This can be great, more playmates for the King, and of course can also be an absolute headache, as not everyone raises their children with the same…ethos, shall we say. For example, I witnessed one exchange this morning in the café/shop downstairs that reminded me that for many, a holiday means a holiday from one’s senses. So this café serves take out coffee, pastries and the like, as well as gelato and a whole row of candy bins. I’m thinking that the hotel is either trying to narcotize their guest’s children or are strategically trying to bilk even more money from mom and dad as they know the children will demand candy round the clock. So anyway, a Mother was there with her kids at 9am and each child had a bag of candy, and a handful of gummy worms hanging out of their mouths. She would meekly suggest they eat a banana, to wash down their gummy worms, and they of course told her right where to stuff her banana. Even the King knew she was in over her head.

Then there is the sheer civility of hotel life – some hotels that is; if you’re staying at some fleabag with a posse on a stag weekend, I’m thinking civility will not really come into play. Our hotel is an island of politeness. Around every corner is a staff member with a giant welcoming smile ready to greet you with a ‘have a nice day,’ ‘can I assist you with anything,’ or ‘wow, your son is the most beautiful child I’ve ever seen in my entire life.’ Okay, fine, I made the last one up, but you can tell in their eyes that they are thinking it. I suppose that for some people this may all ring as disingenuous (Europeans cringe at the ‘have a nice day,’ factor. Go on admit it, you do), but if for one week, I can have every door held open for me, and have complete strangers ask me if they can assist me with absolutely anything before I can even anticipate what that thing is, I’m thinking sticking around is well in my favor.
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