Kids, I just got back from vacation and boy are my arms tired.
Wait, I don’t think I told that one right.
Anyway, I experienced a lot of things in the last week or so and felt it prudent to share those experiences with you, my blog family. But those experiences really feel like too much to put into one blog post. So I’m gonna break it up a bit. Not sure how many posts this will actually become. But let’s try to have some fun with it, okay?
Let’s start with my hotel stays. That will be the subject of this particular post.
First, I need to state that I did not go anywhere exotic for my vacation. I went to Richmond and Virginia Beach. That’s it. I was never more than a few hours’ drive away from my home. But I ask that you not judge my choice in vacation. I accomplished what I set out to accomplish. That is, I relaxed. I came back feeling rested and refreshed. That’s the first time I’ve been able to say that after a vacation. Ever.
Now, I will allow judgment for the places I stayed. They weren’t the best. But that’s because I don’t like to spend a lot of money on frivolities. Some may use the word “cheap” to describe me. I prefer frugal. Would I like to stay in a four star resort? Or course I would. Would I like to walk into my room and find that they have provided me with my very own bathrobe? Absolutely. Would I like a view of the ocean from my 15th floor window? Probably. The jury’s out. I’ve got a thing with heights. Have I ever experienced any of these things? No, I have not.
Before I describe my hotel rooms, I’ll allow you to judge me for staying in hotels at all. I have friends in Richmond who offered for me to stay with them. I declined their generosity, however. To me, for it to really feel like a vacation, I need to not crash on someone’s couch. There’s just something about staying in a place where someone comes in and makes your bed for you that just screams, “vacation” to me. Also, in a hotel room, I have the freedom to turn the air conditioning all the way down to 60 degrees. Staying at someone’s house means I’m a slave to their room temperature comfort levels.
My first hotel was a Clarion Inn in Richmond. It’s the kind of place that you know was a really nice hotel in the 80s. I remember, as a kid, seeing ads for Clarion, Quality, Comfort, and Sleep, and knowing that they were all owned by the same parent company. And it seemed to me that Clarion was the one that was the nicest and probably most expensive of the four. That is no longer the case.
This Clarion was directly next to the interstate. And it was loud. But if you close your eyes, it kind of sounded like a rushing river. With lots of fast moving cars driving in it. If you’ll direct your attention to the images to the right, you’ll see that the wall outlet where the refrigerator was plugged in was hanging out of the wall. In the second image, you‘ll notice a hole in the frame of the window which led directly to the world outside. There was nothing to be done about that. And next to the air conditioner, in the third image, I can only assume a piece of the wall was never completed. They have plywood there, and someone applied glue for a planned facade to look like the rest of the walls in the room, but then they just didn’t finish it. Yeah, I thought it was a little odd, too. Not pictured: the toilet wasn’t incredibly secured to the floor. Few things cause more anxiety than a toilet that may or may not tip over while one is sitting on it.
When booking my hotels for the week, I went ahead and booked the Clarion for later in the week, when I planned to return to Richmond from the beach. After a night there, I decided to make other arrangements. But I’ll get to that little change of plans in a moment. First let’s discuss the Wingate by Wyndham, where I stayed in the Virginia Beach/Norfolk area.
I can honestly say that it was a step up from the Clarion. But it, too, had its shortcomings. For example, my view. I was on the second floor. Which is nothing to complain about. But I was just above the hotel’s indoor pool. So I had a lovely view of the pool’s roof. And you know how every room is supposed to be equipped with a fully functioning smoke detector? I didn’t test the one that’s pictured, but the fact that it was hanging off the wall could not have been a great sign. Finally, I was a good 12 miles away from the ocean. I know, I got what I paid for. Someday, when I’m all grown up, I’d like to be the kind of adult who’s willing to shell out that little bit extra for an ocean view. Though that really was a beautiful roof.
So that was two nights at the Clarion and two nights at the Wingate. What could be next? What could possibly top all that? My next four nights would be spent at a Sleep Inn back in Richmond. And despite my room missing a refrigerator (which the other two had), it was the best of the three.
Look, I really can’t complain about any part of my hotel stays. I got what I paid for, which was exactly what I needed. All I needed was a comfortable bed in a very cool, highly air conditioned place. And for that, I didn’t mind paying less for a less than four star resort.
There’s just one thing I don’t get. It was something that was the same in all three hotels and I feel like this is a change since the times I’ve stayed in hotels years ago. Instead of having two standard sized pillows on the beds, they all had five smaller pillows. They weren’t much larger than what you’d find as a throw pillow on someone’s sofa. And they had no firmness to them whatsoever. Next time I do the hotel thing, I’m tempted to bring my own pillows from home.