It is interesting the wide variety of hotel levels I encounter in my job as a standup. As the years go by doing this, the less tolerant I get of being put in a flea-bag. I actually prefer to be put in the mid-range hotels like a Hampton or Holiday Inn Express because there is an abundance of free parking, free wireless, and a decent free breakfast. While it’s fun to get booked in a great downtown hotel, after dropping upwards of 40 bucks a night to park your car there, plus paying for internet and breakfast, it seems like less of a bonus.
A couple weeks back I stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel in Chicago and that was an exception to this rule. Sitting right on Michigan Avenue, the hotel is beautiful. I had the best check-in experience I’ve had in a long time, as the desk clerk, Violet, had a really cool energy to herself and she was really easy on the eyes. If all hotel’s could find someone of her quality to be your initial impression, the hospitality industry would be doing a LOT better. (Violet later came to my show with a friend and posed with me after the show, as you can see above. That was cool, but my review about her was cemented right from the moment I met her at the desk. I check-in to a different hotel room over 100 days a year, so it takes a lot for me to give someone the props I’m giving her here.)
The room I had looked down on Michigan Avenue and through the skyscrapers I could see Lake Michigan which is a few blocks away. Below is a view outside my window at night.
One of the really cool bonuses about staying at the Hard Rock is that they offer you a sweet guitar to check and bring to your room. Now since I don’t play guitar it doesn’t do much for me, but it’s a funky perk which fits nicely with the rest of the hotel’s vibe. On each floor there is memorabilia of great rock stars. I was on the Prince floor, which was perfect, since I’m a huge fan of his. In the room is pop art of David Bowie, another one of my all-time favs. It’s a lot better than the standard generic art that is hung on the walls of most high-class hotels.
Maybe other lodging places should follow the Hard Rock’s lead in making theme ideas work for them. For example, how about Days Inn have before photos of celebrities when they looked good and then have the after photos of the disrepair which is that same person. You know like how most Days Inns were nice Holiday Inns or Best Westerns at one-time, but since the owners didn’t want to update they became Days Inns or Americas Best Value Inns. Play up that theme. Have a photo of a young Nick Nolte, Kathleen Turner or Leif Garrett and then show the aftermath. Embrace your decay!
A couple weeks back, I stayed in one my favorite hotel rooms at the Turtle Creek Casino in Traverse City. The casino is beautiful and so is the room, but the thing I want to highlight the most is the bathroom. It is awesome. Great tile work and beautiful vanity. The shower is the nicest I’ve seen in any hotel I’ve stayed at. I don’t want to make this blog entry become to much an episode of some show from HGTV, but it’s a nice bonus to stay in a place so nice that it brightens your mood. I don’t need it every day, but a few times a year it makes me forget the constant economic turmoil I feel.