Photoessay: Staying in a hotel
12 September 2018
As an occasional experience, staying at a luxury hotel can be incredibly rejuvenating for our mind and body — even without a spa.
One of my favourite parts of traveling is staying in hotels. Nearly all hotels have their own charm, exquisite or otherwise, in part because of where they are and in part because of how they are. And whatever hotel you stay in they often become an integral part of how you feel about your travel.
Whether you are traveling for business or leisure staying in a hotel can often prove to be a refreshing experience, something you realise the moment you step in and recall fondly all the way back to your own sweet home.
A lot of my childhood memories revolve around travel and, consequently, around hotels. There are some commonalities but the general idea of being able to relax was at the centre of it — even on business trips, ironically.
Recently my fiancé and I stayed at a Radisson while I was attending a conference and it was there that I finally made up my mind (I have long thought of this but never did quite get down to it) to pen down some of my random thoughts about the experience of staying at an upscale hotel.
Getting a free pair of footwear and a bathrobe when you walk in is always nice. Not all hotels offer bathrobes without guests explicitly asking for them but walking in and finding it in your closet makes for a great start to any trip.
The usual laundry bag, sewing kit, stationery and envelopes (more on that later) make an impression that you can settle down comfortably with all the essentials in your reach.
On the one hand there are some stringent dos and don’ts one learns as a frequent traveler: at the top of that list are to try to reuse towels and maintain silence, and to never use the minibar and never forget to use the supplied door signs liberally.
On the other hand are some common (mal)practises of which I am as guilty as the next man; and on top of this list is stealing hotel supplies, especially shampoos, conditioners, toilet kits, and most stationery.
Speaking of toilets the most entertaining thing in hotel bathrooms, often hung on a wall next to the WC, is the so-called toilet phone — a holdover from the days before mobile phones were common when a key sign of wealth was, apparently, having a phone in your toilet. The reason it can still be found in hotel bathrooms is that the AAA rating for four- and five-star hotels still requires it for no reason.
Perhaps this affinity to phones in toilets is not simply a modern bastardisation of ourselves and ought not be blamed on mobiles. The practice has long been something we have enjoyed. Is it any wonder anymore that nearly 90% of people use their mobile phones while on the toilet?
Room service is another big part of staying in a hotel. And like most other services hotels offer this can weigh down on your wallet but, like most other services hotels offer, this is more about paying to enjoy an experience and relax than anything else. Upscale hotels are not for the miserly.
I think one of the reasons we enjoy hotels is because we silently compare it to our homes and in a completely positive sense too. For instance I pride myself on having a better bed than that in any hotel I have been to. At the same time I have always wanted (but never needed and therefore never bought) a magnifying shaving mirror. Radisson did not have it but it is one of my favourite parts of a hotel bathroom.
It is for the same reason that we steal shampoos and such, and all the stationery we are given although I can never recall having ever used any of it while actually staying in my hotel room except for quickly jotting things down. Hotels go so far in making our rooms feel like a house and guests take it the rest of the way, literally carrying supplies back home with them.
Lastly sharing a room with someone who enjoys your little habits is of paramount importance: just try staying with someone who does not appreciate the hotel shampoo or the laundry bag or the extraneous pillows.
I am thankful that my fiancé (pictured above, looking gorgeous as always) and I both love to share a lot of these small pleasures. It is like I have always said: never have anything to do with someone you cannot enjoy traveling with. Right from our first road trip on my wartime motorbike to this, our most recent stay at a hotel, having my fiancé with me has made one thing clear: your experience at a hotel is often shaped by something external — your travel partner. And I happen to have the best one.