I am introducing a new series of posts entitled, a day in the life of…
These posts will be stories I have gathered from whomever about working in the hospitality industry.

This post is from a small hotel/inn manager.

This day started off very much on the quiet side.
Knowing there was a full house of guests ready to descend at any moment, it was the kind of quiet that makes you just a bit nervous.
But regardless, I savored my slow morning with a nice, warm latte and waited for the rush to begin.
And when it began, it came full force!

The first phone call was a guest… “I can’t get the wireless to work. What do I do?”
“No problem. Try this, this or that.” I say brightly.
“Ok. Thanks.” Click.

My next phone call is also from a guest.
“Um. There is water streaming down from the light fixture in my bathroom.”
“Oh…hello. How lovely. What room are you in?”
“Ah…I don’t know. 105…no, the one with the apples i think. Um…”
“Ok. No problem. Welcome, by the way. This sounds like it may be your first morning with us…
I’ll be right up.”
I heard the water streaming down from his bathroom before I even knocked on the door…
As I head up, I manage to call the room above.
“Um. good morning. This is the manager. Might your toilet be overflowing?”
The receiver says, “Why yes, actually it is. But my partner is taking a shower, and I thought we’d wait and call you when he was done.”

“Oh. I can see how you would want him to finish taking his shower, but there’s water streaming down the ceiling of the room below you. So I’m going to go ahead and come on up now.”
“Right, well, I’ll just tell my partner to get out of the shower.”
“Great. Thank you.”

Sure enough the toilet was passionately overflowing. I unclogged the toilet and turned off the water. (Why it is that the Brits never think to plunge?!) Then began the running up and down the stairs with heaps of old towels mopping up the water so no more would fall through to the room below. (All this on just half a latte.)

One man wraps in a towel. The other man thinks it just dandy to stroll around in boxers. Going back to the other room, towel man decides to start dressing as well. And yet, somehow this all seems natural.
Crisis is averted. Guests seem pleased.

All said and done, I called the owner. No answer.
I text the owner. No answer.
I email… I get an answer!
“Thanks for the toilet notice.”

After the toilet incident, everyone (all remaining guests) decide to come down to breakfast at once.
Go figure.
What a morning! Can I go home now?
Or at least give me a moment to finish my latte.


day by day

May 18, 2010

In my new place of employment I can count on one hand the phrases I will most certainly hear each week:

1. Any plans for the weekend?
2. How was your weekend?
3. I can’t wait for Friday.
4. Thank God it’s Friday.
5. I can’t believe it’s only x. (x = Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday)

Now, I really like where I work. I’m very happy for my job, and I intend to stay that way for some time. And so, my question is, why can’t we enjoy our entire week? Every week. (Note: I did not say everyday.)

Routine is a part of life. It happens. We can not live chaotic, shifting lives 24/7. We’d die by the time we were 25. (Although arguably we don’t even start to appreciate routine till around then.)

I know in the hospitality industry you are at the whim of the consumer, customer, guest. I may very well want to take a nap at 2:00, but there’s a check-in, and it’s 1:30. And I need to go and buy bananas now or I won’t have them tomorrow for breakfast. So off I go, and guess what? The check-in doesn’t come until 4:00. (Jerks.)

It’s a hard skill, to relax while in the midst of anxiety. I think I am beginning to see what a life like this looks like though. (Others may disagree.)

But, my point — enough already with the just trying to get through the day.
Let’s celebrate each day.

I know it’s an odd thought, but each day has something to offer. I’m sure of it. Today I received an unexpected mini cinnamon bun (thanks Martin) and a free lunch. Not bad. Tomorrow I’ll meet with friends for dinner. I’ve been meeting with them for dinner on Tuesdays for the last four years.
(I really like Tuesdays.)

Think of all the missed opportunities if you only live for the weekend. Assuming you have a 9 – 5 job, and spend your Monday — Thursday waiting for Friday, that’s 30 hours* of wasted time thinking about what you’re not doing instead of concentrating on what’s around you that you could be doing.

I know for many facebook provides great opportunities for us to enjoy each moment. If you’re looking for a couple other bits to sprinkle throughout the day, perhaps you may like:

THXTHXTHX (a thank you letter, post-it style, for everyday.)
Cool Huntings (They post multiple times a day. I am always inspired by something when I check this blog.)
Lovely Morning (Just one that I enjoy. And it usually has pretty pictures.)

*Assumes the hours of 5 – 11, Monday – Thursday. A bit of an exaggeration I know, but it helps emphasize my point.

It’s time to talk about Seattle part II — the food.

How ’bout this to greet you in the morning?
Bam! You just say, “Calories don’t count today. Calories don’t count today. Calories don’t count today.” Repeat ten times and then run (don’t walk) to enjoy the above here. It’s a Tom Douglas restaurant. And apparently he’s a big deal in Seattle.
We don’t really care either way. The food speaks for itself.

But don’t you worry, we didn’t stop there.
odd fellows
Even more meat and good bar tender conversation enjoyed at this Capital Hill jaunt.

And yes, there’s more.
We were tempted by the line from the previous day at this Russian bakery.
Another breakfast enjoyed by Elliot Bay.

We also had a fabulous dinner here.
I highly recommend the octopus salad.

And drinks here. Twice.
It’s not the most sophisicated of places. But they sure do serve up a mean sazerac.

Food is why we travel. Well, one of the most important reasons why we travel.
And Seattle has a lot to offer. Yum. Yum. Yum.

The best part about all of this — Seattle is one hill after another.
So as long as you walk from place to place, there’s no guilt involved.

hotel vintage park

May 11, 2010

We (B + I) went to Seattle this past weekend.

It was the first time for both of us. And we already can’t wait to come back. In some ways, it’s comparable to Boston. I tend to describe Boston as the type of place that is as big as you want you it to be. You can live within any one neighborhood and keep occupied, but when you’re ready, there’s a whole lot more to explore. You can make your Boston bigger neighborhood by neighborhood.

Seattle, I come to find, has many neighborhoods as well. And while I can not begin to give them justice, I can begin to see they have a lot to offer.

There are various hotels and accommodations scattered throughout the downtown “proper” area. But we didn’t stay in them all. We stayed in one. The Hotel Vintage Park. And being that one day I will own an accommodation myself, I thought it high time to review one.

So, on we go.

The Hotel Vintage Park is approachable.
(Side note: The architecture in this city is down right wacky. I’d love to learn more about it. The buildings are as different as night and day. But they way they all fit together is kind of amazing.)
hotel vintage park

I will admit, you may have some hotel envy once you walk around Seattle and see all the alternative inns and hotels this fine city offers. But you can rest assured this little hotel is a wise decision, and, most likely would make the top ten.

It’s quiet. (Although don’t forget it is a city. You can not eliminate street noise.) It’s thoughtful. It’s the right amount of elegant, and it is affordable. There are some other perks as well: Fine crown molding to admire in the rooms, the windows open for fresh Seattle air, an one hour wine reception each evening. (And if you miss the reception, you can ask the adjoining four-star restaurant for a complimentary glass from the tasting.)  It’s also pet-friendly.  If you happen to love traveling with your four-legged friend.

I give it a solid three and a half starts. I’ll post some pictures soon.

number 1

May 5, 2010

of 5.

That’s right. It’s time to talk location, location, location. I am making my top 5 list of WHERE I would like to open my bed and breakfast. Drum roll please.

Number 1 on the list:
newark, new jersey

Yes, it’s the largest city in New Jersey.
Yes, I said New Jersey. (It surprised me too.)
Yes, it’s known as the armpit state. (Meaning, sometimes it may omit a slight, unpleasant odor.)
It’s also known as the Garden state.
Yes, one fine day in March 2010 was the first time since 1966 there were no recorded murders.

This is Newark, New Jersey my fine friends.
And this is number 1 on my list.
Trust me on this one.

There will be 4 alternative locations.
But for now, it’s all about Newark.