On the checklist hotel housekeeping uses when servicing a room, one thing seems lacking. It is a small thing, something that would take almost no time (a second or two at the most). But in my experience, it is almost never done:
Check the alarm clock, and if it is on, turn it off.
Usually, I am awake before the alarm goes off, but when we are traveling as a family, Kelly and I are up before the kids to get things ready before the kids wake up. Inevitably, the alarm will go off and wake up the kids while we are getting things ready.
One might argue: if it is so easy to do, why not check it yourself? When traveling alone, I almost always do this. When traveling with the family, we are usually at the end of an 7 or 8 hour drive, during which there is the usual sibling bickering, to say nothing of frayed nerves from traffic, and long hours on the road. Checking the room alarm is the last thing on my mind.
So if there is anyone out there in the hospitality business, a humble suggestion from a fairly frequent traveler: Add checking the room alarm clock to your housekeeping checklist. I think you’ll find that many, many weary travelers will appreciate it.
[Written on November 13, 2007]
I was up early, 5 AM, and couldn’t really sleep thereafter. Norm and Vicky had some early errands to run and so I was up to see them off and say goodbye. I’d said goodbye to them the night before, and I would say goodbye to them one more time, as they returned sooner than expected.
A day in New York City
For the first time that I can remember (at least in the last give years) I came into work this morning without my backpack. I’m going to the Mets/Nationals game after work and didn’t want to lug a backpack to the stadium. It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it makes the morning feel much different. I think it has a lot to do with muscle memory. When changing trains, for instance, I walked off the train feeling as though I was forgetting something. When walking up the escalator, something just didn’t feel quite right about the way I moved. It also meant that I didn’t bring a book with me to the office, which is an equally rare occasion. I passed the time on the train watching an episode of The Office on my iPhone.
I spent about 20 minutes this morning trying to book a room at the Westin Waterfront in Boston for President’s Day weekend 2008–where I will be attending Boskone 45–but for some reason, there are “temporary errors” on the Starwood website and I’m not able to book anything. (Hey, vickyandnorm, can you do something about that!) Once the site is back up and running, I’ll book my room.
I wore shorts to work today (another fairly unusual event) because I wasn’t going to bring a change of clothes with me (no backpack) and it’s going to be hot at the ballgame this evening.
Today I flew from Italy to Munich and then Munich to London. I flew Lufthansa on both flights, and both flights were very good. We were served small sandwiches and Twix bars, as well as beverages, even beer and wine at no cost, which is better than what most American airlines do. I had to pass through passport control coming through Munich, as well as through London. Why is it that most of the passport control people seem very mean and cold? It is the repetition of the job? Well, in London anyway, the woman at passport control was very pleasant and was very glad to hear I was spending the rest of my “holiday” in London.
London, here I come
As promised, here are some pictures of the suite we stayed in at the Westin Excelsior in Rome, courtesy of vickyandnorm.
In case you don’t know this, Norm is a High Panjandrum in the company that owns these hotels. When I booked my room, I booked a very nice room, but then Norm stepped in and worked his magic, transforming the room into this amazing suite for 24 hours. It was really incredible and it impressed my parents immensely. (I think they believe that Norm owns the company, despite my continued refrain that he is a mere High Panjandrum.)
Once again, thanks vickyandnorm! You made Rome so much more memorable.
P.S.: We ate dinner last night at Marcello’s, a restaurant recommended by Norm and Vicky, just around the corner from the hotel. It was brilliant!
5:30 PM local time
I got in my 2 hour nap, which seemed like a good idea at the time, but my time is so messed up right now that I kept waking up having no idea what time it was. I kept feeling as though I was going to be late for something. And I also didn’t hear when housekeeping buzzed and at one point, I woke up and there was a woman in the room. When she saw me laying in bed, she half-shrieked, apologized, and headed off.
After 2 hours, I felt completely disoriented, but it was nothing that a good old Starwood shower couldn’t cure. The bathroom is really very nice in this room, although I have no idea how the bidet works. For that matter, there is a complicated array of towels above the bidet and I’m not sure if they have anything to do with it either.
I feel much better now. I’ve showered, changed my clothes and I’m heading out to roam around Venice for a while.
No time to respond to comments at the moment. More later.
I turned out the light to go to sleep just after 9 PM. I woke up shortly after 11 PM and some crazy dream that involved the Incredible Hulk, but of which I can recall no other details. When I woke up, I also had a terrible headache. I took a few more Advil and it was nearly an hour before I could fall back asleep again.
I woke up two an a half hours later, having had an ever worse dream, one that I remembered in somewhat more detail. It was a rather involved dream, but the gist of it was that I tried to play a joke that went rather awry and found myself in lots of trouble. It was one of those dream from which I awoke, thankful it was only a dream.
That wasn’t the end of it either, because round three started when I fell back asleep. The third dream was, perhaps, the most bizarre of all and when I woke up from that dream, I decided enough was enough. I turned on the lights in my hotel room to find that it was 5:11 AM. My alarm was set for 7 AM, but after the night I’d just been threw, I decided that 5 AM was close enough.
I spent about half an hour writing nearly 600 words of a new story, “Blind Date”. This is going to be a relatively short story, and its possible I will finish it up in the next day or two, but I like what I have so far.
Now, I need to shower and get ready for work and I’ll probably head in a little earlier than I intended.
One annoyance about this hotel room. The clock-radio in the room does not display in the dark, for some reason. The numbers don’t glow as they do on most clock radios and so when the lights are out, I can’t tell what time it is in the middle of the night. I have to turn a light on, which is a pain in the neck. Maybe it’s just this clock radio. Maybe the glowing mechanism is busted. I’m going to have to ask the front desk about it.