Tuesday, November 27, 2012


I've been on the road a lot lately. On the road, in the air and in plenty of hotels and guest rooms. I've eaten more than my fair share of fast food in terminals and on the turnpike. Travel is part of my job.

Like most people, I prefer my very own bed, with my very own pillow and of course my very own quilt, but I can be flexible. I don't need luxury accommodations. Room Service is not a requirement. I have to admit when I do pay a premium price for premium accommodations I have higher expectations for that establishment.

I am a Fairfield Inn kind of girl. Those establishments are mid level, clean, have a complimentary breakfast, free Wi-Fi and I like their towels. It doesn't hurt that they offer the same shampoo that I use at home so there is less chance of my walking around looking like the "before" photo in a hair care ad. I have moderate expectations for a Fairfield Inn and I have to say that they usually exceed those expectations, often by leaps and bounds. See, I'm not hard to please.

Hotels with Hilton in the name are a special treat in my world.  I'm too price concious to make them my hotel of choice, but I will spend the money when it makes a difference. In Houston for Quilt Market, I thought it made a difference.  It is a matter of supply and demand when International Quilt Market rolls into town. Thousands of quilters, shop owners, sales reps, vendors and support people flood the city and its hotel rooms. The Hilton is a coveted address. It is attached to the Convention Center through a beautiful climate controlled glass walkway. For early morning appointments it doesn't hurt that Starbucks is located at the other end of that short walk. For those of us that run back and forth for teaching and lecture supplies, to drop things off, or just to grab a more comfortable pair of shoes, the Hilton is prime location, and you can expect to pay for it.

Shelling out close to $200 a night means that I expect a bit more than a clean hot shower and a comfortable bed. I've already resigned myself to the wacko economic rules that apply to internet service. Mid and budget rate hotels have no problem offering free Wi-Fi while upscale hotels, like Hilton, charge $12.95 per day to access the internet in the comfort of your room. Another reason that having Starbucks a short walk away is a benefit.

Hallway in borad daylight!

When I checked in to my room at the Houston Hilton for my 5 night stay, I was surprised that the little hall inside my room was so dark. The L shaped entrance had a chest and mirror, which were easy to see in the middle of the day with the drapes wide open and the sunshine streaming in. That same area became a black hole after dark. Why not install a light Hilton? There is clearly a cover plate where a ceiling fixture was removed or never installed. I'm pretty sure the rates you charged would cover another 60 watt bulb.

Not being able to see things in the chest of drawers tucked into the dark corner was not a problem, there was another chest of drawers at the other end of the room. I began to think of it as the haunted dresser. I never did figure out why, but for some reason the top right drawer of that chest wouldn't stay closed. If anything was put in that drawer, even remotely close to the front, it rolled open at will, usually in the middle of the night. Not a comforting sound as you are drifting off to sleep! After 3 or 4 tries to get it to stay closed I decided to just leave it open for the rest of my stay.

Suitable for the "grunge" look!

A dark hall and haunted furniture didn't endear me to the hotel chain and they didn't impede my ability to function either. Then I decided to use the iron and ironing board. Hotel irons are notoriously cheap. I can deal with that. On the other hand, in my book there is absolutely NO excuse for a lumpy ironing board. Here's a photo of the ironing board in my deluxe Hilton accommodations. Really Hilton? Has anyone on your staff ever pressed anything? The idea is to make things FLAT.
We are now quickly sliding in to the end of the year and my business travels slow considerably over the holiday season. I'm home until the end of January when I will be attending a seminar in LasVegas. When I booked my air online I was offered a deal at the hotel where the seminar is being held, for $22 a night. That's not a typo, twenty two dollars a night! I went with the upgraded to the more luxury tower room for $35 a night.  That price still makes me a little nervous.  I hope they have elevators........ I'll let you know how I make out.

1 comment:

Paule-Marie said...

Karen, I don't know where you are staying, but I don't think that I would worry. One of the times we stayed in Vegas, I had made reservations for an inexpensive room. When we got there, we were told we had been upgraded. Boy, were we upgraded. It was a small apartment. Big living room area, nice sized kitchenette, big bedroom, huge two room bathroom. I think it was $50 or less. I could have stayed there for weeks. Of course, I'm sure they expected us to gamble. Not. I spend maybe $20 on gambling when we go to Vegas - if that much.

Have fun when you're there.