Thursday, February 3, 2011

on the glamorous life

For the non-travelling worker, life on the road (on someone else's dime) can seem privileged and perhaps even romantic ...

For the more practically-minded, I can recommend the following in-room laundry routine:
* Wash smalls in sink (by bringing small travel bottle container of liquid laundry detergent)
* Rinse delicates at least twice
* Spread bath towel on bathroom floor
* Wring items one at a time by hand and place in row (or two) down the length of the towel
* Roll up towel (from the long side)
* Stand on one rolled end
* Twist from the other end as tight as possible
* Unfurl and hang unmentionables wherever is convenient

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

on turn-down service

This seems to be one of those things that harks back to a simpler, gentler time - a time before there were gyms in hotels that helped develop the musculature needed to turn down one's own bed cover. While the official line seems to be that it's also an opportunity for housekeeping to replenish towels and toiletries, that's surely only useful for the kind of person who also demands fresh sheets every day, in contemptuous disregard of the polite hotel requests to care for the environment by sleeping in last night's sloughed dead skin. I have three towels provided in my room, and the one I use is dutifully hung on the appropriate rack so I can use it again without needing a replacement. The only way I can see getting through all those towels in one day is if there was an inadvertent birth in my room.

There's a part of me that can't help wonder if the turn-down service is provided so they can ensure you haven't died that day. Given that the hotel is one of the regular habitats of the over-stressed, over-weight executive, I imagine deaths are relatively common. In that case, I do find it a small comfort that there's a twice-daily check on my continued existence.

I suspect what really brings me to question this ritual however, is the disappointment it seems to almost always bring with it - the lack of a chocolate on the pillow. Maybe it's considered too cliché or uncool, but I would much prefer a small square of Lindt than a pair of slippers by my bed. Just a small token of the hotel's appreciation that I haven't died on them ...

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

on check-out

I generally stay at large, busy hotels where they check-in and check-out scores or even hundreds of guests per day. It seems fair enough that a hotel will want to ensure your particulars when you check in (and particularly the particulars of your credit card), so that they are covered in the event that you disappear or trash the room, or trash the room and disappear, in logical order. Having obtained that however, I really can't understand why the check-out process is always so slow, and why half the time they almost seem surprised that you actually need to leave. Then of course there's the tricky dance of checking the bill. There's been a few times where it seems my scrutiny has given significant personal offence to reception, as though I've just accused them of cheating on me with my best friend. I do wonder if it's all simply a stalling tactic while a cloaked figure scurries up to my room to double-check the mini-bar consumption. Damn you, tamper-evident packaging!

Friday, June 25, 2010

on just not trying (iron cord art 4)

I'm sorry, Hilton Shanghai, but this is lazy and offensive. From the uneven loop lengths, to the drooping centre cinch, it's downright depressing.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

on luring me back

Regular readers will be aware of a certain hotel chain favouritism on the part of this traveller. But the reality is that I am easily bought, and the price is not high. It is, however, higher than three green apples, which is the reward I got for my fifth stay at the Hilton Singapore.

It is fortunate for them that the rest of the Hilton chain tend to do a better job, as delightfully evidenced by what was presented to me upon my first stay at Hilton Beijing Wangfujing. From top to bottom, 6 chocolate coated strawberries on a bed of raisins, 6 macaroons on a bed of popcorn, 8 chocolates on a bed of coffee beans. Click on the image and weep.

I'll be back.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

on underage executives

Now I love a child prodigy story (anything to accelerate you through those cruel high school years) but here I'm talking about underage access to business and executive lounges. Frankly, no-one under 25 should reasonably even want to be labelled executive, and the only business that the under-10s know about is not up for discussion. As Qantas lounges rapidly become simply a terminal-within-a-terminal (there's a newsagency in the Sydney domestic one, and now I'm just waiting for a Krispy Kreme concession and a Korjo travel adapter stand), I have still at least valued my Hilton Honors Gold status which usually gets me executive lounge access at the hotels. But even those are now experiencing what is presumably labelled "executive-creep" where more and more of the masses find themselves eligible for entry. And apparently their children. Which is weird, because I don't get to bring an adult guest. Anyway, the noise is one thing, and the ignorance of tong usage is worse, but the number of times now I have seen a perfectly good hors d'oeuvre layout sneezed on by a child really gets my goat. When will someone stand up for my right to untainted small eats? And more importantly, why are my withering gazes so ineffectual?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

on the evils of drugs

EXEC 1: So what are we doing with the Bulgari account? They want something Monday.
EXEC 2: No, no it's cool, I've been thinking and I know this guy who knows Julianne Moore and apparently she did that Tom Ford movie for like next to nothing 'cause she's a fag hag or something and she forgot about the house repayments.
EXEC 1: She's the one that showed her merkan in that film isn't she?
EXEC 2: Maybe.
EXEC 1: Yeah, totally - this chick I was seeing made me watch it cause it was art or something. Full frontal. But I think she had a t-shirt on.
EXEC 2: Small breasts.
EXEC 1: Doesn't matter. As long as she'll get her kit off.
EXEC 2: Totally, because that is perfectly in sync with the second part of my idea.
EXEC 1: Which is?
EXEC 2: Cockatoos.
EXEC 1: [thinks] Oh my god. That is f'n brilliant.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

on life reflecting art

Went to see Up In The Air tonight with fellow traveller Marisa, figuring that the subject matter would have a special resonance. Not so much the travelling around firing people (appealing though that is), but the general familiarity with (and slight addiction to) airports and airline/hotel loyalty schemes. Suffice to say that I was enlightened with new ways to use my Hilton Honors (sic) Gold card, but bemused that the American Airlines Admirals lounges in the movie bore exactly zero resemblance to any Admirals lounge I have encountered in reality. Nice try, AA.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

when no means yes

Ah the sweet excitement of scanning your boarding pass at the gate only to see the fluorescent green "Unable to board" message come up on the screen. Because while it could mean that you're mistakenly trying to board a flight to Syracuse instead of Sydney, it's usually more likely that you have been upgraded since checking in. Thus, thanks to an upgrade to Premium Economy I have now achieved my goal of experiencing upstairs on the Qantas A380. There's about 30 premium seats and the rest are Business class, and I can report that they're not nearly so contemptuous with the curtain between them. Somewhat disappointingly, the seats don't seem any different to the Premium seats on the 747 - I had heard they were fancier. I am amused by the announcement that is made in the A380 on landing, requesting patience as the connection of aerobridges can take up to 10 minutes. Since you can watch them being connected on the video screen, however, one can notice a suspicious delay between connection of the three bridges and deplaning for economy - clearly making sure no one from riff-raff class beats the upper classes to duty free.

iron cord art 3

This iron is from the Hilton Singapore and at first I thought there was a distinct lack of effort involved here, but as it sat there on my bedside table (odd place for housekeeping to leave an iron) I came to appreciate its relaxed presence, and the lack of fussiness.