Joho the Blog » hotels

June 23, 2013

Top, oh, 14 ways to tell you’re in a hip hotel

  1. It’s named a letter, a number, a letter or number spelled out as a word, or has some completely generic name, like “Hotel.”

  2. The entire staff at the reception desk put together weighs less than one standard American.

  3. Color in the lobby is taken as an affront to style.

  4. The minibar only has liquors you’ve never heard of, except for the beer which is Bud.

  5. Your room’s waste basket is so well-hidden that you don’t discover it until Day Three.

  6. They would rather let the shower flood the bathroom floor than put in a shower curtain or frosted door.

  7. There’s a full-length mirror in the shower.

  8. There’s a window to the outside in the shower. (Not only have I been in that hotel, but the window was frosted up to waist level. Holy sexist voyeurism, Batman!)

  9. Irregular furniture has sharp, shin-barking edges that are invisible at night.

  10. The pad of paper on the nightstand is made out of hemp and is accompanied by an old-fashioned pencil to encourage you to be authentic.

  11. The hotel restaurant (if there is one) only serves tiny, tiny food.

  12. If there is a concierge, and there probably isn’t, that person is called “city coach” or “wrangler,” or anything except “concierge.”

  13. If there is room service, the menu offers only kiddie food, but at adult prices: PB&J for $14, grilled American cheese on white bread for $18, and the mac ‘n’ cheese requires a credit check.

  14. The TV only gets ironic channels.


November 2, 2011

The hotel with no metadata

I’m staying at a “boutique” hotel in NYC that is so trendy that it has not only dressed its beautiful young staff in black, it has removed as much metadata as it can. There’s no sign outside. There are no pointers to the elevators on the room floors. The hotel floors in the elevator are poorly designated, so that two in our party ended up on a service floor, wandering looking for a way back into the public space of the hotel. The common areas are so underlit that I had to find a precious lamp to stand next to so that the person I was waiting for could find me. The room keycards are white and unmarked, without any indication therefore of which end goes in the lock.

Skipping metadata has always been a sign of mastery or in-ness. It’s like playing a fretless guitar. But hotels are for strangers and first-timers. I need me my metadata!

BTW, I think the hotel’s name is the Hudson, but it’s really not easy to tell.


September 28, 2011

The coffee-shopping of everything

David Strom at ReadWriteWeb notes a trend at hotels to re-jigger lobbies as social spaces in which you can plug in your laptop and hang out, instead of sitting in your disinfected Rectangle of Solitude.

I’d give it a try, especially if free or cheap coffee were involved. I think I might enjoy the company, although if someone actually tried to talk with me, I’d undoubtedly give him the stink eye so I could get back to work. Hey, just because I want to be near other human beings doesn’t mean I want to be your friend.

So, yes, I would want to achieve that refined balance of social and impersonal that is of increasing importance in today’s ever-more-public world, and that is at the heart of Starbucks’ value proposition.


March 20, 2008

Breaking news: I am not hip

Last night, I stayed at what an officially Trendy Hotel in NYC. Why? Because among hotels that had rooms available, it was among the least over-priced. The result: An OK night’s sleep and confirmation that I am less hip than you or that other person standing next to you, even if that next person is Dick Cheney’s proctologist.

Technically, the Hotel QT is a nice place with clean lines and sharp-edged design. It’s a “boutique” hotel (“boutique” is hotel-ese for rooms that are what Starbucks calls a “tall” coffee and English calls “tiny”), but I got a free upgrade to a “suite.” I didn’t ask why. It turns out that a suite at the QT is a single room that would count as small at a normal hotel, with space for a bed and a tray-like thingy that works as a desk, as well as a bathroom with separate segments for sink, shower, and toilet. There’s a small pool in the lobby, and a free breakfast that I missed because it starts at 7am, and I was out by then. Also, there’s free wifi. Yay.

So, when the pleasant, young clerk asked me how my stay was, I resisted saying until he insisted. My short list of nitpicks each pegged me as fabulously untrendy:

1. The little bottles of shampoo and conditioner are indistinguishable except for their small labels. Unhipness revealed: I need glasses to read labels. Or maybe trendy folks wear their glasses into the shower. I wouldn’t know.

2. The shower head is more than a foot in diameter and is fixed directly above you, like a lamp over a pool table. This is not very practical for cleaning downward-facing parts of the body. Unhipness revealed: I favor function over form.

3. The outside wall of the shower consists of a window, the bottom half of which is frosted, but the top half of which is clear, enabling me to wave to the office workers across the street. Unhipness revealed: I am hung up about my body.

4. The bed is on a platform that juts out about six inches into the small space between it and the outside wall. The platform is brown. The carpet is brown. I have a bruise on my shin from walking into the platform. Twice. Unhipness revealed: I am a klutz.

5. I believe I was the oldest and ugliest person in the hotel. I’d appreciate it if the hotel would remedy this in the future by installing some even older, uglier guests. Thank you.

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