I’m back and furiously trying to get the three long multimedia slide shows, one for each leg of the jet trip, done and sent off to National Geographic Expeditions so they can dupe them and send one to each passenger. It’s fun working in iMovie and iDVD when you’re totally jetlagged. It makes you feel like you are not as smart as you think you are!
In the meantime, I had a chance to bang off a rant on the plane home. It illustrates just how nasty I can get when I’m sleep deprived, but what the hell, here goes:
It’s been almost two straight months, 18 countries, and countless hotel rooms. Most of the latter in much better establishments than I’m used to staying….much, much better.
By and large, the luxe hotel experience is kinda nice (but I tried really hard not to get used to it!). However, I am stunned at how many things about some of these these places are, well, downright frustrating. Things that much cheaper hotel chains got right years ago.
I don’t want to be whiny, (but I am, ‘cuz I’m profoundly jet-lagged) but there are reasons (besides my lack of income and inherent cheapness) that I stay at regular two or three-star business hotels and not these types of places. Here’s a quick list of my luxury hotel pet peeves.
1. Playing Hide the Plug–With a few notable exceptions, many of the fancy places don’t understand that we travelers need plugs, and we need plenty of them and we need them to be accessible.
I don’t care if the table I’m sitting at in my designer-furnished room is made from rare Burmese teak smuggled out of the jungle on the backs of thousands of specially-trained army ants in the service of Sultan of Brunei and carved to its current state of exquisiteness by a band of blind eunuchs who commit ritual suicide after they finish their works of art.
If I have to crawl on my hands and knees under said exquisiteness to find one damn plug, it’s all for naught. Why don’t they get that? What we need is a power strip with universal plug receptors on the top of the main table in the room. There are a few places that do something just like that in a very tasteful way (yeah, Four Seasons in Istanbul, you go!).
But if I have to get on my hands and knees to look for electricity, I think they should charge the damn interior decorator, and not me or my client, to stay in the room. C’mon! With apologies to Richard III, “My kingdom for an outlet!”
For a look at some of my other hotel pet peeves, and a chance to add a few of your own, hit the jump!
2. I’d like to use the internet, not necessarily own it!–$37 a day for glacial internet that makes me feel like I’m back in the early 90′s using dial up AOL? Really? You really have to charge almost $40 freakin’ dollars a day for this subpar service, when my client is already paying 10 times that per day to rent the room for me? Really? You usurious bastards!
Although a number of places (mostly in China and Japan) would include free internet, a lot of other places gouge you on this, and then have terrible service just to add the “coup de grace” to the total feeling of being ripped off. Oh, Courtyard by Marriott, how I missed you!
3. Is it coffee, or liquid gold? Because the speed and rarity with which it is dispensed at breakfast might convince you that it is the latter. Yes, one thing luxe hotels have is plenty of waiters, and what that army of tuxedo-clad help does in the morning for the first 10-15 minutes that I sit at the breakfast table waiting for a freakin’ cup of Joe is beyond me, because they ain’t pouring java, that’s for sure.
Of course, if you want to make them appear, just get up with a cup in your hand looking for a coffee urn, and you get swarmed and scolded for looking for your own coffee. And then you’ll wait another 10-15 minutes before they come back, usually with some tepid excuse for coffee.
I hate to say it, but Denny’s and iHop, with their insulated pots of steaming, albeit weak, coffee plopped at your table before your fanny hits the bench seat, could teach these palace hotels and six star places a lot about the priorities of the breakfast experience.
Of course, true aficionados always get a quad latte at Pete’s or Starbucks before hitting those chain joints for solid food, a meal strategy which pretty much constitutes the piece de resistance of the road warrior breakfast experience, AFAIC. But then again, I’m from New Jersey, and as the brilliant John Gorka song says, “I don’t expect much…”
4. Did you wash my clothes, or have exact replicas made in a day? Because you just charged me more to launder my shirt and pants than I paid to buy them….
I gave up on hotel laundries decades ago, and travel with all microfiber, supplex and other fast drying, easy wash clothes that I rinse out and hang up myself (it’s a great thing to do while you’re waiting for your cards to download!). But we were just moving too fast on this trip and there was simply no time in the evenings to do this.
So I had to throw myself on the mercy of hotel laundries. Ouch!
True, they package up your clothes intricately and present it to you in a variety of baskets and bags that make them seem like ritual offerings to royalty (“behold the royal boxer shorts, my liege, starched so stiff that they stand up by themselves, and if it please my lord, notice that we also starched and ironed your socks!”)
Yes, it’s good to be a laundry liege and not have to rinse out your own skivvies in the sink. But, you pay dearly for those momentary glimpses of what life was like in the glory days for the Windsors and the Hapsburgs….
Got a few pet hotel peeves of your own? Let’s hear ‘em. A little whining here and there is good for the soul…whether you’re jet-lagged or not!