Thursday, September 30, 2010

Learning from the Master: Susan and the Hotel Industry

My husband, E, is blogging for me today:
When it comes to staying at hotels, Susan is a seasoned pro, and I’m a clumsy amateur. Before I met her, I would check into a hotel, go to my assigned room, and that would be that. After traveling with Susan, I realized that I have been played for a sucker for years. Here’s how:

As the wise Susan has taught me, every hotel has awful rooms – the ones next to the elevator, the ones with that weird moldy smell, the ones with the loud rattling fan that goes on and off at random times. The hotel must unload these terrible rooms on someone, and that someone is typically not the wealthy businessman who travels a lot and is a valued repeat customer. In other words, those rooms have to be dumped on people like me.

Did I ever wonder why I could always hear every ice cube falling from the ancient ice machine three feet from my door, or why there was loud drip from the faucet, a noisy running toilet, or a large urine stain on the carpet of every hotel room I’ve ever stayed in? Of course not! But with Susan’s guidance, I now experience the hotel world in a completely new way.

When we travel together, here’s what happens. We check into a hotel, and they give us a room. But not just any room. Susan requests a “quiet” room on a "high floor," with a "good view." Who would ever think to make such requests? The audacity! Who knew you could even ask for a quiet room, or that it even existed? No more sub-basement dungeon chambers for me!

Then we go to our room. In the early days of traveling with Susan, I would do what many men do – immediately take off most of my clothes, spread them all over the place, crack open a frosty beverage, and hop onto the bed. But then, as I lay half-naked, scratching myself, Susan would slowly scrutinize every aspect of the room, sniffing carefully like a bloodhound, listening intently like a bat. She would smell the molecule of foul odor that I couldn’t detect. She would hear the distant ring of the elevator two miles down the hall. And then she would say “Get up, honey, we’re changing rooms.” That’s a terrible thing to hear when you’re sprawled comfortably on the bed, all your stuff is unpacked, and you’ve already spilled your milkshake. Even after I tell her that I’ve used the bathroom twice, it doesn’t matter – we’re moving.

Reader, believe me when I tell you that we have looked at as many as four rooms before getting the right one. First the dumpy room, then the thin mattress room, followed by the tiny bathroom and the dog smell. These amenities are for those unfortunate enough to be ignorant of Susan’s teachings. And finally – yes, it can happen, and with Susan it often does - the upgrade to the penthouse suite. Rule #1 from Susan is that persistence matters.

Now, as an experienced Susan disciple, I know how it works. When we check into a hotel and go up to our room, I don’t even go in. I stay in the hallway, bags in hand, ready to go back down and get another room. Seriously. Only after Susan has used all five finely tuned senses to examine the room and gives the all-clear OK sign will I go in and make my customary mess. And now, when I check into a hotel room alone, I always think, “What would Susan do?”

1 comment:

Hillary said...

Brilliant! Always enjoy the blog...