Sunday Scribblings: Hotel Stories

When I think of hotels, I think of two different times in my life.

Time #1: When I was younger.

For the longest time, I remember hotels as relating to my father's work. He was a sales rep, constantly on the road all around New South Wales, and sometimes other states too. When we could, especially in school holidays, the whole family would drive along with him. When I think back, it isn't as though we really had a choice in the matter - if mum wanted to go, we all went! They were fun times. Memories of the old station wagon Fords, the fighting over the backseat space, the activity books that we had made for us to keep us occupied (and quiet!) are still pretty clear.

To this day, something that always jumps out at me remembering all of these trips are the different hotels we stayed at. Usually just little places, nothing flash but nothing horrid either. The best, BEST thing about staying in this hotels? The room service the next morning for breakfast. Don't ask me why this is something that I remember, but ordering tinned spaghetti on toast somehow seems much more exotic when someone else makes it for you. Sadly, the family trips stopped after my brother and I decided we were much too grown up for road trips with the folks. As well as the fact that dad doesn't drive to such places anymore, he flies now. Alas!

Perhaps the one thing that I reflect most upon during this hotel-hopping time of my youth, is this:

Hotel Toiletries.

To this day, we still have a stash of those complimentary bottles of shampoo and conditioner, of body washes, of soaps and showercaps under our bathroom sink. (Possibly the most disturbing product? The Hair and Body Wash concoction. How can one bottle contain all of the wonder products to wash not only your skin, but also wash and condition your hair? Sounds marvellous. I think I'll pass.)

My dad also has a big collection of them which I believe he takes travelling with him on his many journies. And dare I say it, this family has also been known to take hijack innocent hotel towels when the need so arises, and lock them away in the linen cupboard, never to be seen again. Mwahaha! -shifty eyes-

Time #2: When I have travelled.

I have been fortunate in my life to have travelled a bit in my young life. I have visited the west coast of America twice with my parents, in 2001 and 2002. I also visited Europe in 2004, and was lucky enough to experience a wealth of different countries and cultures. Here's to hoping I will be able to do so again in the future, I adore travelling.

It became a given during my Europe trip to spend copious amounts of time in the Contiki bus, wondering about the sort of hotel we would end up in next. After sitting in the bus for sometimes hours on end, getting out of it and lugging the suitcases up stairs was all worth it JUST to see what sort of a room we would end up in this time. Because J. and I were sharing the same room as well, the rooms were usually of a good size. Habit for me was dumping the suitcases on the floors, opening every door in the room, checking out windows, opening drawers, reading hotel information on dresser tables, the lot. It's as though each hotel room has it's own personality, and it was my job to find it out and experience it. *le sigh* Good times.

For the most part, the hotels were just gorgeous. Not too flash, not too simple, just standard, European accomodation. With bathrooms and big showers! Yes! We were lucky enough to only have one real shocker of a hotel, and one absolutely amazing experience too. You'd like to hear about them? Of course you would. Heck, if you've read this far down the page already, why not?

Luxury: Whilst we were en route to Rome, our Contiki tour manager had a phone call telling him that the hotel we were staying at had been double booked, and that we were being placed in a last minute accomodation arrangement. He warned us that whilst this new hotel might not be too flash (as he had never stayed there before), at least this one would be in the heart of Rome, so much better for our touring purposes!

The bus pulled up in front of this small hotel, which we all automatically assumed was ours. However, the tour manager exited the bus and crossed the street, going into this gigantic hotel with rather posh writing on the door. Turns out, we had been placed in 5 star accomodation for two nights! I wish I could remember the name of this hotel so I could show you the picture, but let me tell you this; Imagine sticking your head out the rather small window overlooking the main street, turning your head to the left and seeing the Ancient Rome ruins. Just amazing! It also had marble bathrooms and this amazing old fashioned bed. Not to mention being greeted by staff in suits downstairs, and even patrons in suits in the elevators. We must have looked a sight to them in our jeans!

Doozy: Venice is known for it's beautiful views and it's history and personality. For us though, it was remembered not only for this (and it's miserable freezing cold weather) ((and it's carnivale atmosphere)) (((and it's drunken dinner parties! with face painting!))) but also for it's rather lousy hotel! It was a small, privately owned hotel on the outskirts of Venice - It wasn't on the island, as we had to catch a boat across to get to the city itself. I was apprehensive the minute I walked inside, seeing as though the elevator looked about three thousand years old, and I'm not the best of friends with even modern elevators.

J. and I had the furthest room away from civilisation! It was in the top floor, had an attic roof which left us ducking if we walked towards the window. The neighbourhood itself was absolutely deserted, I don't think we ever saw anybody walking around. Creepy. I could go on and on about that hotel, especially the part where they forgot that Contiki tours required breakfast, and so went about rationing our cereal and toast to us, but I won't. But I simply MUST leave you with information about this hotel's bathroom. For a hotel bathroom is possibly the most important part of the room!

This bathroom was all tiled, had a sink, a toilet and a shower. Er, the shower had no "step". Therefore, when the shower was turned on, the water simply flew all across the floor. It was a rather big bathroom (and yes, it had a drain!) but there was no angling in the floor - the water simply just rolled wherever it pleased. It might have been alright, had the rest of the hotel room been carpet. Therefore, after each shower, we ended up with a large wet carpet patch outside the bathroom door. Interesting. Ha, speaking of memories, that reminds me of the very first hotel J. and I stayed at in England while we were awaiting our Contiki trip to start! However, let me summarise it in saying that we both learned that SHOWER CURTAINS STAY INSIDE THE BATHTUB-SHOWERS. We learned the hard way. Wait? Is that even right? Or have I got it backwards again? No wonder we flooded that room, too. -whistles-

Hotel Randomness.

Disclaimer: Some of the rambling below comes from watching one-too-many forensic investigation shows on the Crime Channel of our cable TV. Mother, if you are reading this, perhaps we can stick to the Comedy Channel while we're eating our dinner from now on?

On a completely random and off-topic thought, have you ever wondered about the sorts of people who have stayed in all of those hotel rooms before you? Was the person who slept in that very bed you slept in, happy or sad? Were they alone or with someone? What were they thinking? What was going on in their lives in the time that they rested in that very hotel room. Did they watch free television? Did they lie on the bed and miss home? The possibilities are endless..

And just what would you find if you possessed one of those blue light torches and shone it around your hotel room?

Perhaps that is something better left to the imagination. Or to the Crime Channel. Or CSI.


15 Comments • Labels:  

15 comments:

Jessie said...

This post feels like it could go on just about forever--but the best part is that it makes me want to join in on the conversation. :) You made me think of many memories that I didn't even think about while writing my own post.

And I'm glad you couldn't find a photo of your hotel of Rome becaues I liked reading the description more...it gave me goosebumps because it made me think of my own trip there with my husband on our honeymoon. I LOVE Rome!!!

This was a fun piece!
:)

susanna said...

:) Your giddy memories of hotel stays had me grinning! I can imagine you and your boy laughing over the wet carpet.

Kamsin said...

With each post I read I keep thinking of more and more of my own hotel experiences. And of all the places I haven't been yet, Italy is pretty near the top of the list for the next year!

Laini said...

Ah, Rome & Venice! We actually had pretty bad rooms in both, but still, the cities... And I had to laugh at the memory of the shower that is the entire bathroom, with a drain in the floor. I'm surprised you only encountered one; it's standard fare, I believe, at 1-star hotels! I've never understood the lack of a fully functional and enclosed shower in European facilities, but, as everything ELSE is so much better there than in he US, it seems like a small thing!

duhhhblond said...

I, too, wonder who slept in the bed the night before I did, and hope that the sheets are clean..
nice post! :)

Paris Parfait said...

Your post reminded me of many of my own travel experiences,years ago, in Europe. As for wondering about who slept there before or if that crime-detecting light was ever shone there, I try not to think about that! :)

~Kathryn~ said...

"dragged you along" ???
you're other option was to stay home with nan and pop !!
those 'road trips' where our way of spending time with dad cos he was away so much - and those hotel breafkasts - bacon and eggs for me please !!!

Aly said...

Thanks everyone for commenting. And kudos to you all for reading through such a long post, when I started I didn't realise I could ramble for quite so long.

Although it does make my Blog Name make sense...

Laini, I have to agree - the cities more than make up for the dodgy bathrooms! I guess with Contiki we are usually placed in average, middle of the road residences. Which was nice, though, I can't complain!

This was certainly a fun scribbling. Looking forward to reading some more, also.

-Aly

Gabi said...

I had a blast reminiscing with you over hotels! I too remember staying at hotels as a child and all the fun and weirdness we experienced! I am really cracking up about the bathroom which had no shower stall but rather just shared the floor of the entire bathroom! I can imagine the mold growing under that rug...! LOL!!
Have a happy Sunday!
~Gabi

Scott said...

I think that if you had one of those blue light torches, you would probably ask for another room!...of course, with blue light in tow, you would probably be on a room merry-go-round all night.

What an entertaining post!

mikim said...

I loved your stories on hotels, they took me back to younger days, and how fun it all was. Brilliant post!

January said...

Your hotel stories are really funny and sweet. I, too, wonder about who stays hotel rooms. People always coming and going. What kind of lives do they leave?

papyrus said...

Lots of memories and associates. You've obviously got a lot of experience with hotels. Thanks for sharing some of them.

Heather said...

This was a great piece. It sounds like you had quite a bit of adventure. I loved the description of all the hotels/motels overseas. This gal has only seen rooms in the States all in cookie cutter national chains.

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