perpetually Eloise at the Plaza

Waldorf Astoria Hotel, Thirty-Fourth Street an...

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by Madeline Laughs

I travel quite a bit. I’ve stayed in just about every kind of hotel and every hotel chain there is. I can talk about hotels for hours and still come up with new information to share with you. So today, that’s exactly what I plan to do. I’m going to tell you all about hotels.

The first important distinction you need to make is the difference between hotels and motels. A hotel means the room to your door will open on the inside of the hotel. It’s housed, therefore the word; hotel. A motel means you’ll be driving up to your door. The doors all open to the outside. Thus the word; motel, for motor. (I did not make up those word origins, but it did make it easy for me to remember, so I’m passing it along to you.) 

I do not stay in motels anymore.

Being female and traveling alone means you like to feel safe when you settle in for the night. I remember staying at a Red Roof Inn back in the day. The Red Roof Inn is a motel. As soon as I threw my valise on the bed, my phone started ringing. It was the truck driver staying two doors down. “I saw you check in and just wanted to tell a purdy lady goodnight.” I picked up my valise, went back to the front desk and checked out. One of my male colleagues told me that once at an Econo Lodge someone jimmied his door open in the wee hours. It was loud enough to wake him. He said he felt fortunate to have put the door chain in place only to see a set of bolt cutters poke through the crack in the door seconds later. He jumped out of bed and slammed the door on the intruders hand. Then he called the police.

Some of the finest hotels I’ve stayed in are the Mandarin Oriental, The Watergate Hotel and The Sofitel in Washington, DC.

The Mandarin is a five star hotel and it is fabulous! My room had a view of the Washington Monument from the soaking tub. The entire hotel is elegant and beautiful. I couldn’t wait to finish to finish my meetings so I could go back and spend time in my room! How often can you say that about a hotel room?

The Watergate Hotel was one that my husband and I spent many New Years Eves in. The room we rented was a suite with a living room, a great big bed, plush robes and dinner served at your own dining table. Ding dong! Every room has it’s very own doorbell too. It was always decadent!

The Sofitel was very nice and very hip. I didn’t have a view, but my room was furnished in modern chic and they have mid size Roger and Gallet bath products as amenities. Downstairs was an awesome illy coffee shop too.

I have also stayed in some dives!

The worst was a LaQuinta in Killeen, TX. When local people found out we were staying there they were shocked, but it was the only place that had rooms for all of us. I linked to it above, but trust me, these pictures of the place in no way convey just how skeevy this hotel really is. Gross! It’s also well known for shooting fatalities.

I have spent many nights at really nice LaQuintas though. One I stayed in for 7 weeks on assignment. It was in the Medical Parkway area of San Antonio. The hotel was brand new and not your usual LaQuinta. Every morning they had a hot breakfast buffet and served omelets to order, migas and huevos rancheros. Good stuff! I also had both of my cats with me the whole time.

Two hotels that stand out in my mind when I think of Texas are The Hotel Galvez and the Sandpiper Inn. They are at opposite ends of the spectrum and they are both in Galveston, TX.!

The Hotel Galvez is a four star hotel right on the ocean side. The rooms are very small, but the amenities are top shelf. You get the feeling you’re staying in a tiny resort. The grounds are surrounded by palm trees and the outdoor pool and hot tub are scrumptious.

You can tell from the reviews here that the Sandpiper is not well liked, but I found it to be quaint and kitschy! Whenever we booked a room there I brought my own towels, sheets and blankets. I also brought toilet paper soap and shampoo. And we always brought the cats! Each room has a small balcony and this was how we introduced our kittens, Spike and Hattie, to the great big Gulf of Mexico. If you know you’re going to a dive, make the most of it!

One of my most favorite hotels was the Waldorf Astoria. The room was very tiny, but the windows opened so I could fall asleep to the sound of the city below me. The bathroom had one of those old tubs. In order to drain the tub you had to access this tube sticking out of the floor next to the tub.Like this one…it’s called a compression drain.

Yes, my description of the Waldorf doesn’t make it sound very elegant, but trust me, it is. The lobby is amazing and the Sunday Brunch is out of this world epicurean. You have to realize that the rooms were built in a time when space was economized. I’m sure if I had mega bucks I could have afforded one of the suites on the top floor though.

When I travel for work I depend on Holiday Inn Express and Marriott. You can never go wrong with one of them. I’m a stickler for nice amenities and both of these chains provide some good ones. Holiday Inn Express has a full line with the scent of cinnamon and Marriott has the Bath and Bodyworks Mandarin Orange line.

If I have to be someplace for weeks at a time I like Residence Inn. They’re like small apartments and each unit has a full kitchen. Residence Inn has a manager’s night almost every night and they serve small dinners. Embassy Suites is another great choice for an extended stay. At Embassy Suites they have a manager’s happy hour everyday from 5PM to 7PM and they serve free drinks and appetizers. In the mornings they have a full breakfast buffet with an omelet bar. Each of these hotels have a lot of small perks for the extended stay traveler.

The most surprising hotel I ever stayed in was the Hampton Inn in Chesapeake, VA. That is an awesome hotel. I walked into my room and flipped. It was Huge! And it was beautiful and lush. It was a surprise, but it is part of the Hilton line, so could you expect any less? I don’t think so.

To check for bedbugs, I like the Bed Bug Registry.  It’s up to date and accurate. I check it before I ever make a reservation. Sleep tight! Don’t let the bedbugs bite!

So there you have it. Check out time is at noon. Don’t forget to look carefully to make sure you haven’t left any of your personal belongings behind. Have a safe trip home, or wherever you’ll be resting your head tonight.

About Madeline Scribes

A writer with a sense of humor. If anyone can laugh at life, it's me.
This entry was posted in All kinds of Advice and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to perpetually Eloise at the Plaza

  1. Regyna Longlank says:

    omg. there is a bedbug registry? I clicked on that and now I am afraid of all those red dots Madeline! ew! ew! ew!

    My favorite hotel right now is the Bijou because you get a free movie made in the San Francisco area screened in their adorable private theater, two showings a night, and it’s cheap and cheery. Please do not tell me if it has bedbugs because I have already stayed there and if it does I may never sleep again.

    did I mention ew! : )


  2. Regyna Longlank says:

    Ok that is just nasty. Apparently someone thinks the Bijou has bedbugs. None of the hostels I have stayed at appear to have been reported. I have never seen bites but when anyone talks about bugs my skin crawls for like three months LOL so it’s hard to say. I’m sure if I had bedbugs I would know it by now. Right? yikes! Sorry to stick on this one small point in your fabulous post but EW! Sleep tight my ass.


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