I’m sitting in the Hilton Whistler with Tanya. It’s Saturday night, and I can hear people in the hallway. It’s (unsurprisingly) always loudest on Saturdays.
The noise of people in the hallway is the one thing that reminds me I’m in a hotel. I can hear fans and traffic and TV and it doesn’t phase me. But strangers tromping down the hall and talking outside the door is the thing I never hear, except in a hotel. And I’m reminded again I’m not home.
Over the past couple of years I’ve spent a lot of time in hotels. Probably twice as much time in the past couple years than my entire life up until then.
And I never used to “get it” – but now I do.
For me, people who were picky about where they stayed were crazy. How could they be unconcerned with value by paying a premium for anything other than a door that locked and a clean place to lay their head?
I was one of those people who did not travel for anything other than vacation. I was too busy to care about anything other than crashing out at night.
I did not spend days on my feet, then want nothing more than a cozy robe and slippers and a decent thing on the TV and a comfy desk chair that wouldn’t further destroy my back while I caught up on email (over a connection fast enough that I wouldn’t spend hours doing it).
I didn’t spend days or weeks away from my loved ones, and then have to try to speak to them through a crackling, uncomfortable telephone with a cord not long enough to sit comfortably while chatting.
I hadn’t grown so weary of yet another dinner by myself that room service with me and the TV seemed like a much better plan than making small-talk with yet another Wednesday night bartender.
But now, every time I hear voices in the hallway, I’m reminded of all the times I’ve spent in hotels, feeling exactly the things above.
And for all those times, I have to offer a heartfelt THANK YOU to every hotel staff member who made the effort to say a friendly “Hello” (because you were often the only person to bother that day), who remembered my name, who offered a hand with my bags or the door. The same to every hotelier who made sure those little creature comforts (the things I used to think it was stupid to pay for) are available when I’m trading in business, rather than bliss. And especially to the late-night desk staff who are so patient and accommodating when I call because I’ve forgotten my toothbrush again and need them to bring one up.
This post is totally un-sponsored, and un-influenced by anything other than my tired ramblings and the service I’ve gotten today, but the Hilton in Whistler has been an absolute pleasure to stay at. Even though this trip is mostly for pleasure, the little touches continue to go a long way. And every time I hear the voices in the hallway tonight, I also say a silent “thank you” for making me feel like home is a little less far away.