Thursday, September 27, 2007


I've started to get spam comments. "Omar" has been particularly persistent in trying to sell Hotel Hallways readers property in Costa Rica. Now, that may interest you, but it bugs me. So now you'll have to type in some random letters to add a comment. Sorry.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Ritz-Carlton, Marina Del Rey

Well, I'm back at the Ritz Carlton, and much is the same as the last time I visited. The people are still super friendly, and I mean they actually do go out of their way to make sure you've got what you need, the food's good, and the amenities by Bulgari (or is that Bvlgari) are very nice, indeed. The hallways are still bright yellow, with a giant pattern in the carpet.

I was luckier this time. My showerhead didn't flop around, and there weren't any fishy stains on the carpet. However, my "balcony" was barely wide enough to merit being called a balcony. (I'd suggest footcony).

In other news from the hotel, I noticed some strange verbiage on the emergency evacuation notice:

Think, for a moment, about the logic of this notice. 1) If you're blind, you can't read the sign, so writing that it "sounds like a whoop" and looks like a "strobe light" will be of no help whatsoever. 2) If you're deaf, you wouldn't know what a "whoop" sounds like, would you? Do you really need to point out the particulars of the emergency siren and lighting? I guess if I heard whoops and saw strobe lights, I'd skeedaddle, sign or not.

The Ritz-Carlton Marina Del Rey has those impossible-to-figure-out-how-to-work clock radios. Alarm 1, alarm 2, cd, am/fm radio, etc. Having stayed in many hotels, I thought I'd figured out just about every clock radio. But no, it failed to go off in the morning. As is my usual backup, I had asked for a wake-up call.

This is where the Ritz-Carlton deserves special kudos. I've gotten used to recorded voices for wake-up calls, and when I picked up the phone, there was a very brief silence, which I took to be the recording kicking in. So I didn't say anything. Then, wonder of wonders, there was a real, human voice on the other end. How nice to start the day talking to a person.

I did miss the valet guy with the top hat (see earlier post), I hope it was just his day off. And I'm miffed that the hotel charges $9.95 for internet (non-wireless) access.

I will admit that the Ritz Carlton Marina Del Rey has very nice chandeliers in the elevators.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Lodge at Sonoma, a Renaissance Resort and Spa by Marriott

The LASARRASBM is a swanky hotel-cum-spa in the heart of California's wine country. I struggled with posting this, because it truly has no hotel hallways, per se. It has sidewalks connecting cottagey units, each with four uppers and four downers. (Not drugs. I'm speaking architecturally.) It's very nice. The Spa portion I cannot speak to, as I didn't have the opportunity to avail myself of its no doubt healing mystical hotstone, massage, mineral bath foot kneading, etc. The resort part was a little skimpy. As far as I could tell, the resort portion consisted of a pool and an inground hot tub. It has some nice conference rooms, (but they're not a resort feature in my mind). There's a nicely flickering gas fire in the large lobby...again, not in and of itself adding to its resortness, but undeniably pleasant. The Lodge at Sonoma, a Renaissance Resort and Spa by Marriott has the tastiest bacon I've ever eaten. If you like bacon, that's reason enough for a visit, resort features be damned. My "cottage" was at the far end of the property. Here's a visual tour of what it takes to get from the cottage to the main building.

1) Descend stairs from cottage

2) Turn left, and walk down path A

2) Turn left again, take a quick right, and walk down path B

3) Turn left and right again, and walk down path C

4) Do a quick zig-zag, and walk down path D

5) Pass the ice machine, which has its own little house.

6) You're in the home stretch now...continue down path E

7) A final zig zag, and you're at the pool. For some reason, you have to go through a gate giving you access to the pool deck.

8) There's your destination. The lobby, restaurant, gift shop, bar, front door, etc.

All is well. Unless, of course, you've forgotten your sunglasses or wallet or something, in which case it will take you 15 minutes or so to complete the return voyage. Enough of this, and you'll need more bacon. Or possibly a facial.