I recently stayed at a Fairfield Inn & Suites in Washington, DC’s Chinatown. I checked in around midnight and couldn’t have received a warmer greeting. My room was spacious and spotless. The next morning, however, didn’t go so well.
On the desk in my room was a large placard touting the hotel and instructing me to speak up if my experience wasn’t a “9 or a 10.” A similar sign at the reception desk encouraged me to do the same.
So when I checked out the next morning and mentioned that when I took a shower at 11 am I only had cold water, I expected attention would be paid. Instead, the desk clerk shrugged it off by saying, “Maybe a lot of people were taking showers at the same time.”
Well, maybe, but that’s not quite the right answer. Frankly, I’m not sure what is—I’d booked my room through Hotel Tonight which bills me directly, so I don’t think the hotel could have knocked $50 off my bill then and there. But I think I’ll write a polite letter to Marriott—Fairfield is part of Marriott’s collection of brands—and I will suggest a cold shower ain’t a 9 or a 10.
When it comes to complaining, I always advise you say exactly what you want. This time, let’s see if Marriott offers anything more than a form letter.
“Uber alles” is a phrase from an 1841 German poem which means “more than anything else,” which may be why the car service called Uber chose that as its name. But for today’s “Travel Minute,” I’m modifying the phrase slightly to “uber ober alles,” meaning Uber OVER anything else, especially compared to its alternative, which is called “taking a taxi.”
On a bitterly cold night in Washington, DC, recently I leapt out of an Uber car to dash through a fierce wind to cross the street for a seven o’clock restaurant reservation. Four hours later, I remembered I’d left my carry-on suitcase with my two laptops, an iPad, and my clothes in the trunk of that car.
Because I’d ordered the car using the Uber app on my phone, I was able to text Uber and explain the situation. Within ten minutes I received an email with my driver’s cell phone number. I called him, and he was kind enough to bring my suitcase—which he didn’t know was still in his trunk–to my hotel just after midnight.
If I’d taken a cab, I don’t know that I’d have enjoyed that kind of accountability and instant communications. Consider this a heartfelt plug for Uber’s worldwide car service.
You’d think that with the number of hotel concepts in the world, there’d be no more ideas. From luxury to basic, from all-suite hotels to boutique properties, companies like Hilton and Marriott offer brands they hope will accommodate anyone’s taste in rooms.
But, wait—there’s more.
Marriott has 17 different hotel brands from Fairfield Inns & Suites to Ritz-Carltons. It’s now launching what it calls a lifestyle brand called Moxy. There’s already one in Milan, and Marriott is about to build out eight in major US cities. It hopes Moxy, along with the boutique brand called Edition it began with Ian Schrager, will make millennials not regard Marriott as their father’s hotel company.
Then there are a couple of hotel execs on Cape Cod who think the traditional concept of a B&B needs an overhaul. They want you to stop feeling as if you’re staying in someone’s home by adding touches normally the province of luxury hotels. Like breakfast in bed. And high-end bathroom amenities and soft goods.
The young chain is called Salt, and there will be three such B&Bs on Cape Cod this summer with plans on the boards to open one in Manhattan and elsewhere down the road.
Whatever your taste, there’ll be a hotel bed perfect for you.
When a rash of kids got measles whose germs were tracked to Disneyland last month, all that nonsense about how vaccinating kids puts them at risk for autism went out the window.
It’s about time, medical professionals say, but I find it interesting that it took a Southern California amusement park to alert parents to the fact that we’d just about eradicated measles until the anti-vaccination folks stated beating drums a few years ago.
It appears it took Disneyland to end the debate.
In 2014, an Amish missionary spread measles when he returned to his community in Ohio after a stint in the Philippines. That helped kick off 644 measles cases in the US last year, the most in two decades. But, of course, how much attention does the American media pay to an Amish missionary from Ohio?
Disneyland won that race in a walk. It’s known that someone can contract measles if they just walk in a room within two days of someone with measles having been there. Let’s hope the word is out now. Thanks, Mickey.
I was as excited as many other Americans when the President relaxed rules regarding Americans visiting Cuba. But yesterday and last Friday I offered some words of caution. While Americans will only have to assert they are going to Cuba to attend a cultural or sporting event or a number of other easy-to-say reasons, tourism is not one of them. You must get a visa, which could take weeks or months. And there are very few hotel rooms available.
And there’s another thing: restaurants. According to John Kavulich, who has visited Cuba many times and is an adviser at a non-profit that assists companies interested in doing business in Cuba, there are really only three or four restaurants in Havana.
Imagine, he says, a couple of mega-cruise ships stopping in Havana and disgorging 4,000 tourists for the day. Where, he asks, will they eat lunch? Even with some Cubans taking in tourists and preparing meals in their apartments to make some US dollars, there simply aren’t enough seats at tables to serve a major onslaught of American visitors.
So the opening of Cuba will proceed slowly. I would not recommend visiting without a hotel room reserved. And get there before the cruises ships do!