I love hotels.
When traveling, one has so many options about where to stay. There are hostels, where you'll probably be attacked by a serial killer. There's the rising popularity of Airbnb, where you'll probably be staying in a serial killer's home. Then there's the traditional bed & breakfast, run by sweet old people who used to be serial killers but that was a long time ago and they seem pretty harmless now.
You can also crash on a friend's couch, and I swear I only need a place to stay for one night. Okay, maybe two nights. One week tops. Possibly nine or ten days, just to get back on my fee... I'm never leaving.
Nevertheless, I prefer hotels. I love hotels.
Motels are okay, I guess.
The Waldorf-Astoria Motel welcomes important heads of states from sleazy, unshaven countries that just seem a little "off," like they're trying to hide something.
On investigation shows like Inside Edition, they're always going undercover in motels to warn viewers about the unsanitary conditions. And the reporters discover dirty pillowcases and cockroaches in the radiator and troubled actor Tom Sizemore asleep in the bathtub.
I've stayed at many motels, however, and I've never experienced any of that wretched filth. Well, one time I stayed at an Econo Lodge while a Republican Presidential debate was on television in the background. But the lodging itself was very clean.
My motel stays have always been just fine. And it's entirely possible that those angry-looking gentlemen standing outside, two feet from my first-floor window at three in the morning, are not partaking in a drug deal. Maybe they're just out for a walk?
Hotels. Motels. I guess the further down the alphabet you go, the less luxurious the lodging. I draw the line at wotels, although if you don't mind the eyeball peering out from the toilet bowl, they can be a smart money-saving option.
No, but I prefer hotels. I love hotels.
Opening the door to your hotel room is like opening a bicycle-shaped present on Christmas morning. You kind of know what you're going to get, but the fun is in the details. How is the room arranged? Is there a lot of extra space? What kind of art is on the wall? Will there be one of those little mini-rooms outside the bathroom, with the mirror and sink? Or is there a giant mirror in the bathroom itself, so that you can look at yourself nude each time you step out of the shower? By the third morning in any hotel room, you start thinking, "I don't want to look at myself stepping out of the shower nude anymore." Big hotel bathroom mirrors are the worst perpetrators when it comes to body-shaming. Stop the bullying.
Oh, and all the free stuff!
Remember- it's not stealing; once you check out, the hotel is just going to throw all that stuff out, anyway. Hence, I feel no guilt in taking the shampoos and the moisturizers and the towels and the television sets and can you give me a hand? I'm going to need some help lugging this bed to my car.
I'm kidding, of course. You don't get to keep the big things. But it's still a small thrill taking home a bag of toiletries. And if you don't think about the three-hundred bucks a night you spent in order to acquire those little forty-cent shampoo bottles, the feeling of coming out ahead is truly satisfying.
Hotels even specify the soap. There is the body soap. And there is the smaller face soap. My sister and I had a debate. She said that the two soaps are exactly the same, only in different sizes. But I'm convinced that the face soap, unlike the body soap, is specifically designed to wash one's face. Otherwise, that means you could wash your body with face soap and wash your face with body soap. That's insane. And that sort of chaos leads to washing your legs with arm soap, using morning shampoo in the evening, and the next thing you know, dogs can talk.
I'm pretty sure you're allowed to take the toilet paper. And, on a side note, let me offer a little financial advice; I find that you can save a lot of money on toilet paper by simply going to the bathroom at other people's homes.
After checking out your room, the next fun thing to when staying at a hotel is to tour the facilities.
There's the fitness room, usually occupied by a serious-looking woman in her early thirties running on the treadmill and a couple of unsupervised kids climbing on the bench press and kicking around the big blue exercise ball. The "All Children Must Be Supervised by an Adult" sign in hotel fitness rooms is respected about as much as Johnny Depp's foray into music.
I don't use the hotel pool very often. I'm not really into swimming with strangers. And I almost never use the hotel hot tub, not because I think it might be unsanitary, but because of that weird couple who never leave. Life's greatest pleasures will always be ruined by annoying strangers trying to make conversation. I mean, if I wanted to chat with you, I'd be by myself texting.
When I was growing up, I used to love the hotel ice machines. There was something kind of fun and adventurous about running down the hall on your own, scooping up some ice, and racing back to the room. And sometimes my parents would give me change for the soda machines. Hotel soda vending machines are the best because they're practically the only place where you can still find the lesser, competing versions of familiar brands, like Mr. Pibb and Mello Yello and Liam Hemsworth.
Nicer hotels offer a complimentary breakfast, usually in a pleasant room with lots of windows. Oh, I know the waffle machine can be a bit intimidating, especially when there are a lot of other hotel guests around. But it's surprisingly easy to figure out.
And hotel breakfasts have so many morning beverage options. My hotel visits are the only time of the year I find myself saying, "I think I'll try some of the grapefruit juice."
There's an interesting phenomenon about hotel breakfast. By the second morning of your stay, you've already developed a pattern: when to eat, where to sit, etc. And you start to recognize the same people. By the second morning of your stay, other hotel guests- regardless of how big the hotel is- already seem familiar. Oh, there are the two nice ladies who wear the hijabs. There's the family with the four kids of different ages but who all look exactly alike. Hey, what happened to that older gentleman who sits in the corner and reads the newspaper? Did he check out? Did he die? And then you see these same people in the elevator and sitting around the lobby. And they recognize you, too. We form a sort of emotional attachment- an unconsummated bond- with these people, from afar, and then you leave and never see or think about them again... sort of like college roommates.
By the time you've checked out of a hotel, it feels like a second home. You're completely comfortable and at-ease with the arrangements: you've learned how to work the shower handles, you've memorized your favorite TV channel numbers, you've had sex with the kitchen staff, etc.
I always clean up the room before I check out. In fact, aside from a little "clothes tossed on the chairs" clutter, I try to keep things relatively tidy throughout my stay. Yes, the hotel pays employees to do this. But there's something disrespectful and entitled about leaving an unnecessary mess for someone else to fix. I'd be willing to wager that the sorts of people who leave their hotel room in disarray are the same people who leave our grandchildren with massive debt, environmental destruction, and worldwide oppression. In other words, housekeeping must hate it when Congress checks in.
We've all heard stories of rock stars trashing their hotel rooms. They're funny stories, until you think about the low-paid maids whose job is to clean up the room. That's when you start thinking, "Hmm, maybe those rock stars are douche bags?"
See, a hotel stay is a lesson in capitalism. You've worked hard. You deserve a little luxury. And that's great. But understand that other people work hard, too, so that you can enjoy this luxury. And you can acknowledge this reality, and do your part to make life better for everyone by cleaning up after yourself. Or you can be an asshole.
The Presidential candidates are traveling around the country, campaigning from one city to another, staying in nice hotels. As a voter, I'd like to know which of the candidates clean up after themselves. I don't want to hear a candidate's canned debate response. Rather, I want to know if he threw away the rest of his sandwich, or if he left it on the couch for the hired help to pick up. That tells you a lot about a person.