The Thinking Man's Guide to Modern Hotels
Checking into a hotel or resort often dictates that you leave your brain at the front door. Common sense, reason and simplicity remain an endangered species for the frequent traveler.
While a full frontal lobotomy is not often on the anonymous, ubiquitous room service menu that features greats such as the club sandwich, prawn cocktail or the exotic tinged Nasi Goreng, but maybe it should be.
Yes, things are going to get messy from here on in. Why do hoteliers have to make things so difficult and lacking in imagination?
I can't recall how many times I've bobbed and weaved through a resort lobby in a near fugitive like state while being chased by smiling guest service staff wanting to give me a technicolor welcome drink. I've often thought of making a grab for the massive half chunk of prickly pineapple to fend off the sycophantic staff.
I'm thinking to myself. "Just let me go to my room in peace. Please go away and don't bother me anymore".
Nowadays, key cards have taken on a life of their own. Which way do they fit into the elevator security card reader? Do I stick it into the slot on the doorknob or make a magic wave like a wand and damn, where is the arrow? More than once I've considered just breaking down the door, after what seems like hours of working out how the card works.
Hotels of course promise icy dreamlike states of "your home away from home", but it doesn't take me 45 minutes to get inside my own house unless a drink has been taken.
More tragedy awaits behind the green door – such as how to turn on the lights and the television or turn down the aircon that has frozen over my sunglasses like one of those arctic explorers. Then I have to clear away the garbage heap of in-room promotional material just to be able to sit down and think about the entire rain forest slaughtered and killed in printed material despite that nice green reminder on the sink about how the hotel wants to save the world so please shower with dirty towels for the next week.
This ruse is more often than not a way for the hotel to make even bigger profits by saving laundry and staffing costs. It's a bit like those big oil company ads trying to say how much they love the environment. Oil spill? No worries, we are all in this together, with a crew of happy face smiling school children humming 'We are the World'. Collective nonsense in the hands of well paid admen, or should be say madmen.
In-room technology is another cutting edge trend, with every chain now trying to one up their competitors with iPads, entertainment stations, Wi-Fi, docking stations and internet televisions. Now it has taken me another hour to try to turn off the in-room hotel menu and find a watchable television station.
Once the TV goes into that sleep thing, I've been known to physically pick it up and start shaking it just to find a glimmer of programming hope in the depths of the pitch black screen.
Sleep never conies easy in hotels. While the babble of NASA space mission control panels have thankfully gone out of style, today's multi-switches and finding a way to turn off that one last light turns into a nightly Mr Bean episode. I've been known more than once, twice or even ten times to sleep in the glow of lights that have no way of being turned off.
I won't bore you here by going into buffets and bad week old coffee at breakfast that tastes exactly like one of those oil spills. Nope. I'll go straight to check out.
That last interrogation from the hotel with the international affiliation that spends millions of dollars on promoting an image of caring now turns into the Guantanamo sequel of "Did you take anything from the mini-bar"?
After croaking out a mild "no", the clerk picks up the phone and calls someone just to check – assuming all hotel guests are liars, thieves or idiots or a combination thereof.
Perhaps the madmen need to target this market group and that last golden moment in the hotel, the lasting impression which reminds me of being six years old and my mother questioning me about some coins missing from her purse.
I escape at last. Just another hotel fugitive on the run, until the next visit.