Friday, May 25, 2007

Stuck in the '70s in Little Rock

I like Little Rock. I like Arkansas, too, but it must be tiring to have to perpetually defend your state against ignorant blowholes who believe that everyone who lives there is backwards and chromosome-damaged. If you want to change your attitude about Razorback world headquarters, stay in one of the two really nice hotels in Little Rock.The Capital and The Jefferson. (Both are reputed to have been assignation locations for former Governor Big Bill Clinton.)

Then there's the Wyndham, where you're more likely to run into a high school class from Hot Springs checking out the capital, and generally tearing up the hotel, like teens are wont to do. (Come to think of it, they might attract our former President as well). The Wyndham could be a Smithsonian Exhibit of Hotel architecture, circa 1973. Check out those bricks! And that typography! Yeah, yeah, they've 'updated' the carpet with a more 'modern' design. (It actually clashes with the walls, I think. It might have been better to go retro and put in some shag). And that wainscoting certainly gives it a sort of quasi colonial feel. If you're hallucinating.

It's no use. The basic structure has all the charm of a DMV building. The Wyndham Little Rock also has the loudest in-room air conditioners my colleague has ever heard. And that's saying something. Maybe they hope abusing one sense (your hearing) will make another sense (your sight) less sensitive. Who knows? Let us repair to the hotel's Steakhouse. Or, if you prefer, the hotel's Steakhouse.

If you're wondering, (see prior post) yes, the hotel's web site does say that the hotel is "in the heart of downtown North Little Rock". I will give some props to the writer of the Wyndham North Little Rock's web pages for at least trying to add some words to the hotel-desciber's lexicon. Copied and pasted from the WNLR's web site: "Count on comfort and performance in a spacious guest room..." I'm going to start looking for performance in my next room, that's for sure. Photos courtesy of Casey "has anyone seen Casey lately?" Ingle.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Calling The Mayo Clinic

I think the "Hospitality Industry" must have done a massive secret survey of the traveling public and determined that every successful hotel web site must contain four magic words. "In the heart of". Either that or web writers have a secret fear they're going to suddenly collapse onto their keyboards with massive myocardial infarctions.
Here's the evidence, gathered solely from the hotels whose hallways I've posted about below.
According to their respective web sites:

The Amway Grand is "conveniently located in the heart of the downtown Grand Rapids' business and entertainment district"

The Sheraton Crystal City is "..nestled in the heart of Crystal City"

The Doubletree Santa Monica is " the heart of Santa Monica"

The Omni Chicago is "Located in the heart of the "Magnificent Mile"

The Jefferson is "Located in the heart of downtown Richmond Virginia"

The Marriott East Lansing is "Located in the heart of the downtown business district"

As a public service, here are some synonyms for these clearly over-worked writers to use. Middle, nerve center, core, hub, center, and nexus. Feel free to use one.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

The Amway Grand

A very Calvinist hallway, I'd say, which fits perfectly with the Amway Grand Hotel's location in Grand Rapids, Michigan, home of former President Gerald Ford and the pyramid-scheme-disguised-as-"Multilevel Marketing"-phenomenon known as Amway. The Protestant purist ethos is in full bloom here, with a severly patterned carpet, functional toe moldings, discreet wall tones and inoffensive photographs. I will say, the red and off-white carpet is kind of a relief from the blue-dominant designs I've been treading on lately. And best of all, part of their web site appears to have been authored by the same writer who scripted the English-As-A-Second-Language exit sign at the Sheraton Crystal City. (See post below). Here's what it says, copied and pasted verbatim from the hotel's "In Room Amenities" page: "On top of that, you'll enjoy these thoughtful amenities for a more comfort stay:"

I'm all for a more comfort stay.

Thanks to Casey "on the road again and I'm still angry" Ingle for the photo

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

The Sheraton Crystal City

Welcome to Washington, D.C. It needs lots of hotel rooms for all those people hungering after government lucre. The hotels can't fit in the city proper, so many of them are congregated in Crystal City, Virginia. Crystal City isn't a city, by the way, it's an "unincorporated area". I guess Sheraton Unincorporated Area doesn't summon up the kind of luxury images that would get you cough up the steep rates the hotel charges. But anyway, I had a reservation and when I got the to the hotel, I was was pleasantly surpised by being given a room on the CLUB LEVEL.

You know this is a good, luxury thing, because of the giant script "L". If it had been in the same font & size as the c,l,u,b and e,v,e,l, it wouldn't be as nice. Here's the weird thing. I couldn't find anything that distinguishes the Club Level from the non Club Level. Nothing looked, felt, or smelled like a Club Level. I don't think this nice strip of Duct Tape (r) (PHOTO ONE) makes it club level-ish. Nor do the dual holes in the carpet(PHOTO TWO). Maybe the ice machine is what gives the club level its special achievement of clubness (PHOTO THREE).

There was an interesting sign on the exit door, which I think was either a sad commentary on the hotel's expected popularity or it was written by a recent graduate of an English as a Second Language course. I see that this door cannot be re-entered by the guest. (Why didn't they just go ahead and capitalize "be" along with every other word?)

But here's a cheery note. I think I've spotted a design trend. The Sheraton Unincorporated Area/Crystal City has The Same Pattern Interruptus carpet scheme as the Doubletree in Santa Monica. (See Prior Post). Was this some kind of hotel interior design trend from 1989? Patterned carpet, strip of brown, patterned carpet. Who thought this looked good? (The stringy thing is carpet backing)

For a grand finale, The Sheraton Crystal City (or Sheraton CC as us insiders call it) has a very mysterious elevator button. Maybe you can tell me what it really means. My guess is that it means you should push it when you realize help is on the way, but not before.