Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Comforts of Home



This morning I caught a story about a new service that the Holiday Inn Hotel chain is offering: human bed warmers (photo above). The idea is that you call the front desk five minutes before retiring for the evening and they will send up an employee wrapped in a specially-made warmer suit to lie in your bed for you until it has been verified to be 68 degrees. The service is free, but currently only being offered at a limited number of locations in the United Kingdom. While I find the service intriguing, it does raise a number of questions:
·         What is the appropriate tipping scale for a human bed warmer?
·         Can I request someone whose physical proportions match my own so that the bottoms of my legs are not cold?
·         What guarantee do I have that my bed warmer will not emit flatulence while under the covers (also known as the Dutch-oven effect)?
·         Is snuggling extra?
·         Will this service be extended to the toilet seat?
While this service may seem unnecessary and extravagant, it is positively pedestrian compared to some of the amenities profiled by Forbes magazine:
·         The Keswick Hall Hotel, located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, offers a “baby butler” service that will warm baby bottles and even provide someone to rock the child to sleep while the mother relaxes in the tub or goes down to the spa
·         Tired of the same old complimentary terry-cloth robes? The Ritz in Madrid, Spain will pre-monogram all of the bath robes in your room before arrival (in case you get soused and are unsure if you are vomiting in the correct restroom)
·         The JW Marriott in Beijing will pick you up from the airport in a Rolls Royce so that you do not have to ride in the courtesy shuttle like the other losers.
·         Jade Mountain in the Caribbean, will adorn your pillow with a hand-selected poem for you to read before bed. (Comfort Inn does this as well but they refer to it as a bill)
·         The Lowell Hotel in New York ensures that your dog enjoys his stay by providing “organic buffalo marrow bones” and “paw moisturizing treatments.”
·         The Taj Palace in India will greet you outside the lobby with camels and trained elephants.
After reading through this list, I have begun to realize that perhaps my expectations as a hotel guest are far too low.  I usually consider my stay successful if:
·         A cursory search of my bedding reveals no discarded body hair.
·         The complimentary breakfast has not been stripped of everything except stale Raisin Bran and apple juice by the time I arrive.
·         They remember to place a plastic liner in my ice bucket and the dispenser on my floor is operational.
·         I do not witness a narcotics transaction in the parking lot as I unload my luggage.
·         The Gideon Bible does not have a pentagram carved into it.
·         The staff does not remind me more than once that our room is equipped with a door chain.
·         The fire evacuation map contains no grammatical errors or misspellings.

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