I have been fortunate to have traveled a little, and have stayed in all sorts of hotels. I have stopped at roadside motels which have dirty towels hanging on the back of the bathroom door, and I have stayed in hotels where the bedding is spun from actual angel hair.
Now, look. I know there are fancier hotels in the world than the ones I’ve seen, with amenities that I would never even have thought I’d need nor imagine. This is why I am not a hotel manager; I do not think that people might need something like a Rolls Royce with their room, nor a private butler.
But fancy hotels are different than the average nicer hotel you might stay in on vacation with your spouse or on a girls’ weekend, and much different than the suite-style hotel I stayed in earlier this month with my family, which was lovely and convenient but lacked certain luxuries, like not seeing cockroaches in the kitchen area.
And the following items are the differences.
1) In fancy hotels, the toiletries are fancy. I’ve stayed at places where the toiletries gave me feelings of such bliss that, once home, I promptly went online to order a bottle of the same stuff, only to find that there is no way I can afford to sustain this habit. My husband recently returned from a business trip with three hotel-sized bottles of L’Occitane toiletries (one of my favorites) and joked with me that he found out, on his last night there, how coveted they were among the ladies who were also staying there that they had hoarded their own supply so they could bring home a sizeable stash of the stuff. One of the bottles he brought to me was half used up. I was not amused.
2) Beds are better. The beds in fancy hotels are designed to make you want to stay there forever. There is something to say about a place that will actually sell you their own bedding so you can replicate the experience at home, for several thousand dollars. And the beds are made out of actual massage therapists.
3) Clientele is snobby, even if they shop alongside you at Target. One of the better things about staying in fancy hotels for me is the people watching. I’ve seen fancy people with fancy dogs and fancy children get out of fancy cars and stand in line with me at the fancy front desk to check into their fancy hotel rooms. Then I’ve seen regular people acting fancy just because they’re staying there. This is actually an easy trap to fall into, but don’t do it. You do not have a British accent. Remember that you bought most of your vacation clothing at Target.
4) You will be treated like royalty. When you arrive at your fancy hotel, a large team of people will swarm your vehicle to help you open the door, remove your luggage, take care of your car, and usher you into the lobby, where another team of people is waiting to show you the front desk, provide you with a pen, remove your sunglasses, and take all your money that is surely weighing you down. All of them will be asking you how you are doing and will wish you a marvelous stay and will be at your disposal for anything at all. You will feel like a queen in your shorts from Target.
5) You might sleep there, but you can’t afford to also eat there. Hamburgers are $30, breakfast is $60, and a day at the pool drinking margaritas will blow your food budget for the rest of the trip, during which you will convince yourself that you can live on one meal a day and will regret that you took that box of granola bars out of your carry-on right before you left home.
6) You will not be allowed to carry your own baggage. Though you packed it yourself and likely dragged it through an airport and into the trunk of a rental car, when you arrive at a fancy hotel, give up the right to carry your own bags. You might think this is similar to #4, but it isn’t. When you walk through the door, assume that you’ve lost all ability to lift anything other than your own arms. It’s easier than telling fifteen smiling men in uniforms that you really don’t need help carrying your overnight bag that contains pajamas, a dress, and a couple pairs of underwear.
7) Bring small bills. All the personal attention means All. The. Tipping.
8) You might be staying in the hotel with famous people. This does not mean that you are famous. Beyoncé might be staying there with you, but she is not really staying there with you. She is just in the building. You may not ride the elevator for hours hoping to catch her on the way to the pool. Likely her room has a pool in it, and you are not invited to her pool party.
9) You cannot hide in the hotel after checkout, hoping to get an extra day for free. Fancy hotels are remarkably open structures. There are very few places in which you will not be found. Do not joke loudly about hiding in a fancy hotel to get an extra day for free. Trust.
10) It is not reality. Look. This is vacation. You are not actually the queen. When you come home, you will be wondering for a time why no one is waiting on you, why no one is smiling or wishing you a marvelous day. Make it easy on your family and do all your crying in the shower. Take some time upon returning to take to your (lumpy, neck-wrenching) bed for a few days. I recommend a week for deprogramming.