Sunday, October 02, 2005

How I Spent Saturday

How I Spent Saturday Morning

I got up and checked out of the very nice hotel, went to the conference, and listened to a wonderful man who had preemie twins.  One died, and the other was in hospital for several months. She’s now in second grade.   It was really valuable to listen to his thoughts and reflections, and it helped me to refocus my approaches to my patients and their families.  I need these reality checks from time to time, and the distance that he has from the actual events validates even more his perspective.  

Having had that affirming experience, I went to ESPNZone to watch the Hokies play against West Virginia.

So here I was at 10 am in a bar, as predicted.  Drinking a Bloody Mary (seemed more appropriate than a beer, although the people sitting next to me watching the Red Sox vs Yankees were imbibing in the brew) and eating eggs and sausage.  Yum.  (in the interest of full disclosure, I switched to Diet Coke after the ‘Mary.)

The game was great. I met an Air Force nurse and her fighter pilot husband, and between touchdowns and home runs, we compared notes on the state of nursing in the world (that’s a whole ‘nother issue) and had a good ol’ time.

I returned to the conference, picked up a few more souvenirs for the troops back in the trenches, and headed south.  I took “the 5” (anyone ever notice how on the West Coast all the highway numbers are preceded by “the”?) down to Oceanside, then went to Mission San Luis Rey and then down 101 which runs along the Pacific.  I got down to LaJolla, where I lived as a small child, and walked in the ocean for a few minutes.  Wow.  I vaguely remember being at one of the beaches with my father and mother.  And when I think about how long ago that was, Wow.  What a life it’s been.

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Why I like Hampton Inns

I spent 4 nights at a very nice major chain high-end hotel near Disneyland.  The grounds were breathtaking.  The building was beautiful.  The room was huge.  It was convenient to the conference site.  I could see the Disneyland fireworks from the courtyard outside my room.  The housekeepers did a great job.  I should have been jumping up and down with joy.  So what’s the problem?
I’m spoiled by Hampton Inns.  (and they’re not paying me to say this.)  We have stayed at Hamptons consistently since The Son started college.  And I guess consistent is a really good word for all this.  We are consistently greeted by name, and at a new venue, we are asked if it’s our first time with them, at which point they give us the details of what’s where.  If we are returning, the desk clerks usually know (it pops up in the computer) and they welcome us back.  They ask if I’d like to charge the room to the credit card in the reservation system, and they may or may not ask to scan it. And they make sure we know where the complimentary breakfast is (which now always contains hot items—eggs, sausage, biscuits, fresh fruit, yogurt, cereal, pastries, and gallons of juice and coffee.) Then we go to our room, which is usually not super huge, but is spacious enough for us and our stuff.  There is always a refrigerator and microwave, coffee maker, free wireless internet access, and because we’re HHonors members, a little snack (cookies or chips) and a bottle of water.  (The latter probably costs the hotel a buck or so—but what a nice little gesture.)

Contrast:  I checked in to this other very nice hotel.  I walked up to the desk and gave my name—smiling broadly—and said I had a reservation.  The response of the clerk was “I need a photo ID and a credit card.”  Not “Welcome to (our hotel)”.  Not “We’re glad you’re here.”  Not “Hello.”  OK.  I went to my very nice room with its very nice everything except refrigerator, microwave and free internet access. I decided to limit my internet to 2 days, because it was an additional $9.95 per day.  I’m told this is not unusual.  But it’s unusual to me.  And one of my cohorts didn’t have wireless and needed an adaptor, of which there were 2 in the entire hotel, so she needed to get in line.  (now I don’t know if Hampton has adaptors for those who are not “wire-lessed”, but anyone who stays there consistently is equipped.)

There was in-room coffee, for which I was truly grateful (the Disneyland hotel doesn’t, according to my colleagues).  So I figured I’d go grab an egg or something for breakfast, figuring 5 or 6 dollars. Nope.  $12.95 (plus, of course, tax and gratuity).   Now, granted, this is for full breakfast, but I don’t eat pastries, pancakes, toast (French or any other kind), cereal, etc.   I had an Atkins bar instead.

My reservations at the very nice hotel were a bit hosed, (not their fault) and I wasn’t reserved for the last night of my stay.  Not a problem.  There are many hotels, and I had decided to rent a car and go down to San Diego.  I also decided to get something closer to the airport, because, you know how that goes.  I found a Hampton Inn close to the John Wayne airport, and made my reservations online.  There was an option for a King suite at an unbelievably low price.  I don’t know what I expected—basically a king sized bed in my standard happy Hampton Inn room.  Well, let me tell you.  I walked in to the room that has a very respectable sized bedroom with a tv, a large bathroom, a sitting room with a tv, and the entryway that has a wet bar with the requisite microwave and refrigerator, and a desk.  Holy cow.  I didn’t want to leave it to go get dinner.  Really.

So now I must again pack, and get ready for the journey home.  The only problem with being in California, is that it takes not only 6 actual flying hours to get to the East coast, but the 3-hour time difference makes it pretty much an all-day thing.  
Well, more time to knit!


The Unknown said...

So flying east you get 6 hours of knitting done?

Rossana said...

Have a safe flight home! We're quite fond of the Hilton chain, too. =)

Phyl said...

I heart Hampton Inns too. They are my first choice in hotels, followed by the DoubleTree. Being on the road most every week, I build up my HH points. And I am always happy to see the Happy Hampton Inn.
Have a safe trip home!

Kel said...

I luuuuuuuuuurve Hampton Inn, for just the reasons you described. I made P. stay in every one I could find on our vacation ;)