Tuesday, February 27, 2007

This week's hotel: Welcome to Mongolia

This is the Hotel Kharkorum, in downtown Ulan Bator - er - Ulaanbaatar -er there doesn't seem to be concurrence on the English spelling of the Mongolian Capital. It's downtown, across the street from a Monastery (could be good or bad, I guess), and yet again, no photos on the web of its hallways. Cowards.

Friday, February 16, 2007

The Claremont: A hotel defined by its hallways.

The Claremont "Resort and Spa" is a lovely hotel, for the most part. It has a tremendous location, near the University of California at Berkeley. It sits proudly on a hill, with a panoramic view of San Francisco and the Golden Gate bridge. It has a very good restaurant, with a deck facing said view. It has spa facilities (which I've never used), tennis courts, a gym, facials, footcials, etc., etc. The lobby is palatial. The service is friendly. None of this prepares you for the creepiest hallways in hoteldom. The universal reaction is: The Adams Family or the Munsters. They're so wide you could drive an armoured personnel carrier down the middle of them. The ceilings are low. The lighting is dim (as if they'd turned the original gas fixtures into sconces) and the paint color looks as if it was originally way-off white, then subjected to 30 years of nicotine stain. There is furniture placed haphazardly along their lengths. The rooms are similarly dim, though green, with salmon textured carpet. (The bathrooms have been updated). The Claremont has excellent in-room coffee (Seattle's Best), and in most every respect is a nice place to stay. But those hallways! Those hallways! You walk down them late at night, and expect to see William Holden and Gloria Swanson stagger, lipstick-smeared and reeking of bourbon, from their tryst-a-teria, only to run into Anthony Perkins coming from the other direction. Ask anyone who's been there: the first thing out of his or her mouth will be: Creepy Hallways.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Hotel of the Week: Hotel Belarus

I have not an iota of an idea what this hotel is like. It's in Minsk, so it has that going for it. However, judging by the architecture, I'd venture to say that it has very long hallways. (I'll bet it has central elevators, and it looks like a long trudge if you've got a room at either end.) Its web page is only in Russian, which I can't speak. If you can, you can read this part here:

Одна из лучших гостиниц г. Минска. Отель «Беларусь» расположен в историческом центре города, в 45 минутах езды до аэропорта «Минск-2» и в 10 минутах до ж/д вокзала, на берегу реки Свислочь. Месторасположение имеет несомненное преимущество: близость к деловому, административному, торговому центру г. Минска совмещается с обособленностью от шума и суеты большого города.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Much better photo of the JW Marriot Denver at Cherry Creek Hallway

Here's a much better photo of the hallway described below. Photo courtesy of Dave Linabury, author and creator of the always excellent Davezilla

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Props to JW Marriott

Marriott hits for the cycle this week. This is the 7th floor hallway of the JW Marriott in chi-chi Cherry Creek, Colorado. (I think the "JW" addition to the front of "Marriott" means this is the luxe Marriott brand). The official name, by the way, is JW Marriott Denver at Cherry Creek. Gotta give it up for this hotel hallway. The photo, unfortunately doesn't do it justice. (That dang Treo makes everything look green). Here's what makes this hallway a keeper. 1) The elevator banks neatly bisect the hall, thus giving no preferential treatment to people who have to turn right or left. 2) Nice lighting. Though the picture quality may be too poor to show, there are nice wall sconces and ceiling fixtures. The piece (don't know how to do accents, sorry) de resistance are the individual halogens above each doorway. 3) The carpet is basically blue, with gold, green, yellow, beige, red, maroon, orange, pomegranate, and ecru. What a feast of lovely colors. 4) High enough ceilings to make professional basketball players feel at home. I know, because some of the Charlotte Hornets are staying on my floor.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Atlanta Residence Inn

Marriott goes three for three, this time in the guise of a Residence Inn (owned by Marriott). Come on in and live here for a while. This artfully assembled hallway features subtly-shaded striped wallpaper and a boldly-patterned carpet designed to do one or two things: First, the bold pattern is like a road map for businessmen who've spent a little too much time at the free drinks section of their regional convention down the hall. It keeps them from making inadvertent right or left turns before they get to their room. The second is that the pattern is famous for hiding vomit stains.

Grim in Lansing

Marriott makes a double appearance this week. This is the state-prison-inspired Marriott in Lansing, Michigan. Nothing says welcome like tile and fluorescents, I say. Maybe people that visit this hotel have gastro-enteric issues; tile is easy to clean.
Did the "interior designer" think that breaking up the floor into little squares would make you feel more comfortable?
But here's the thing. The rooms are supposed to look like this:

I guess they wanted the room's decor to be a shock after the industrial-strength greeting you get from the hallways.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Hotel of the Week: Grand Hotel Tremezzo Palace

If you want to visit Lake Como, (and who wouldn't?) try the Grand Hotel Tremezzo Palace. Nice wide hallways, (though the wood floors creak a bit). Hydrangeas galore in the back, and as promised, a spectacular view of Lake Como in the front. No idea if it's a good place to spot George Clooney. (I didn't see him when I was there). Very nice hallways, indeed.

Lousy Hotel Room Coffee.

From The Raw Feed:
"In-Room Hotel Coffee Pots Used As "Meth Labs".

Did that coffee you brewed last time you stayed in a hotel taste funny? Local cops in Alabama warn travelers to avoid using the coffee pots in hotel rooms, because sometimes drug dealer types use the pots as MINI-METH LABS".

I'd add that you shouldn't freak out. Much hotel "coffee" is really hideous. It might not be left-over meth after all.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

This doesn't look very inviting

It's a hotel in Berlin. I've never been there.

What? No free Internet?

Sorry, no photo of the hallway. Yet. I've stayed at the Four Seasons in Mountain View, California. It's at the virtual epicenter of Silicon Valley, as indicated by its snappy moniker. It's not cheap, it's beautiful, the staff is accomodating and super nice, and the halls are pretty. Here's my beef. They charge for internet access. Tut tut. The Doubletree in Memphis has free wifi for goodness sakes.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Ed wants to know

So what's the deal with hallways? Well, they are something the brochure (digital or paper) never show. Halls can be exciting...like when you're going on vacation with the expectation of it leading to a great room. Or willielomanesque, when you're on a business trip, exhausted and you realize your room is 200 yards from the elevator shaft. They're also a good indication of the hotel's popularity. If you get up early enough you can see how many rooms have USA Todays in front of the doors. The photos of the Marriott SFO have an odd greenish tint (my phone camera) which seems entirely appropriate, as I had been up for 22 1/2 hours the day before and had only had 4 hours of sleep when I took the photo on the way to the airport shuttle bus.

Marriott Hotel, San Francisco Airport

This lovely set of halls represent two-thirds of the distance from the elevator bank to my room. It would have had a nice view, but I was only there from 1:30 am until 6:00 am Thursday Morning. They've recently remodeled the hotel, but left the super-cheezy dropped acoustic tile ceiling in the bathroom. No free wireless, neither. Coffee machine well hidden (though it was 1:30 in the morning).