Thursday, May 28, 2009

on what i want from an elevator

Usually one's hotel room number consists of 3-4 digits. The last two are insignificant, it's the first one or two that determines how valued or lucky you are. I'm not quite sure why. The higher floor you are on, the more time it takes to get there and away. Which is where the elevator comes in. At the moment I'm on the 25th floor at the Hilton Tokyo and the elevator knows just what to do. The doors close with assured precision rather than an awkward or bouncy clumping sound, and the lift accelerates subtly to a significant speed and decelerates just as unassumingly. The overall impression is that I'm there faster than expected, and with no unnecessary fanfare. And the view is quite nice.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

on not letting the story get in the way

As a wary and ever-vigilant traveller in this time of swine fever, I was of course attracted to the headline in a local Malaysian paper today: "226 suspected cases of H1N1 nationwide." It wasn't until the 2nd paragraph that the journalist reported the fact that 224 of these cases were found to be not infected. That left two positive cases (known previously), who had already been declared free of the virus. Meaning that there are zero cases in Malaysia at the moment. Which to me opens up a whole new field of possibilities for employing the word "suspected" without being constrained by any evidence to the contrary. Newsflash: "leery traveller" blogger suspected of being witty, wealthy.

the upgrade roller-coaster

The dizzying highs, the terrifying lows. As far as flying goes, I've been upgraded to business class once (many years ago) and once to premium economy (the existence of which has made the business class upgrade an even more elusive possibility). Of course the upgrade makes the subsequent flight measurably more miserable, and the temptation to spend points on an upgrade ever more appealing. Just today Qantas sent me an email offering that I could upgrade my upcoming Sydney to New York flight, despite the fact that "your seat booking class is usually not eligible for upgrade." I'm honestly surprised they're prepared to tolerate my sort in premium economy. Presumably they'd sanitise me somehow first.

In terms of hotels, the best upgrade I've had was to the Royal Suite at the Radisson in Santiago, Chile. Of course, it was hard to make full use of the separate dining room, as I checked in at 2am, and had to check out 7 hours later. When I had two nights there a few days later I was back to a regular room with an eternally blocked toilet and a relationship with the hotel plumber forged in adversity. 

Tonight I checked in to Le Meridien Kota Kinabalu (infamous on a previous trip for a colleague finding a cooked cockroach in their breakfast) for one night and have been upgraded to a suite (shown here). Although I only have a few hours in the room, I've so far managed to eat dinner at the dining table, rest on the sofa in front of the lounge room TV, post to this blog from the work desk, hang a pair of pants in the walk-in-wardrobe, snaffle a complimentary copy of Newsweek for tomorrow's flight, and will spend some time reclining languorously on the chaise longue before taking to the bed. It's all about making hay while the sun shines, and resisting the nagging feeling that this should be the natural order.

Monday, May 18, 2009

simple things

Why does one never remember to unwrap the bathroom soap before one's hands are too wet or gooey with hair product to easily do so?