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Annals of Lodging: Part I

Hail to the Chief



“What do you mean you don’t have a reservation in my name,” I said, as calmly as possible through the fog of total confusion and exhaustion that made my upper body slump over the check-in counter like so much melting Silly Putty. “That’s impossible!”

Actually it was very possible.

The reputed reservation had been made over a month ago by a very capable PR person at Vail Resorts. She’d not only made the reservation at the Vail Marriott Mountain Resort & Spa, she’d gone way above and beyond by making a reservation at the Golden Leaf Spa at the Marriott for my Perfect Partner. Vail cares.

But the reservation had vanished like a fart in the breeze and my brain was way too messed up by sleep deprivation, skiing at altitude and other abuses to comprehend the best way to proceed. Calling would have been a good idea but voice mail is so unresponsive and I’d inadvertently tossed the cellphone number.

I gave passing thought to just leaving. It was a bad idea; I knew it was a bad idea but it was screaming in my head. Instead, I booked a $200 walk-up room on my severely abused credit card and hoped everything would workout somehow. I tore my briefcase apart looking for the slip of paper with the badly needed number; no luck. Then, I happened to notice the wadded up fast food bag on the floor of the back seat. Sure enough, the number was in it… long story. I called.

“It’s booked in my wife’s name?” I responded, dazed.

And so it was.

When Little Frida from Argentina found the reservation her eyes grew wide. “Oh,” she exclaimed, drawing in a breath, “This is a muuuucccch nicer room.”

And so it was. It was the Presidential Suite. Hail to the Chief, dude.

While PP accompanied the bellman up to the suite with a month’s worth of luggage and ski gear, I rode along with the valet to see where he was going to park the car, which was going to be Zippy the Dog’s suite for the stay since, First Dog or not, there were no pets allowed.

When I got up to the room, my Perfect Partner was still in shock. “You’re not going to believe this,” was all I could get out of her.

I believed it. It was larger than many places I’ve lived and several orders of magnitude more, shall we say, graciously decorated. I didn’t know whether to bounce on the Ruler for Life bed — way bigger than king — or fill the tub and crank on the dozen or so jets surrounding its interior.

I’d peeled down to my base layer when a knock rapped on the door. “Jiggers,” I exclaimed. “It must be the Fraud Squad.”

It wasn’t. It was, however, two diminutive women bearing a tray with fruit, cheese, wine and assorted goodies.

“For me?” I asked.

“Hee, hee,” the Japanese woman said, “Yes, for you… hee, hee.”

I caught her giving me the once over and remembered how I was dressed. “Thank you,” I said with as much grace as possible, “You can bring my dry cleaning up later.”

I figured either someone was going to get fired or I was going to get the boot so I jumped in the Jacuzzi, opened the wine, ate the cheese and acted as presidential as possible under the circumstances.

Every now and then, the stars align just right. Every now and then… but not very often.

Gracias Vail. Gracias Marriott. Arrigato, my sniggering Japanese friend.



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