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Sleep and hotels

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I should note that, overall, the trip so far is going fine. I've been reasonably productive at work, and have participated somewhat usefully in the meetings that I'm here to participate in. I've gotten to see two old friends over the past two days. I've spent some time thinking about cities in general and New York in particular.

But in a couple of respects, the trip isn't going so well.

The first is sleep. Last week, I got about 5 hours a night. Not enough. I think it was Friday night when I got about 7, which was good but not enough to make up the debt. Sunday night it was 4. Monday night I took a NyQuil gelcap before going to bed (and half-choked on it, but that's another story), and I suspect I would've gotten a decent amount of sleep if not for someone knocking loudly on my door at 7:20 in the morning, five or six hours after I went to sleep (I forget which).

I didn't bother to answer; a little later, unable to sleep, I called the front desk to ask what was up, and they said, oh, sorry, the guy went to the wrong room number. To their credit, they offered me a free breakfast (value $15) to make up for it, but I had food in my room and was too groggy to cope so I said no.

Which brings me to the hotel. The hotel is a reasonably nice hotel (oddly squoze in between nondescript buildings on a nondescript block, and set back from the street just enough that you can't see it until you're in front of it), but my customer service demon appears to have caught up with me here.

First it was the "room-darkening" blind on the window: it didn't go down all the way. I tried to fix it for a few minutes my first night, but decided it would be okay. Which resulted in a bright spot of sunlight right in my eyes in the morning. Monday morning, I very politely asked the front desk person to fix it; she (in a nice/friendly way) said they would. Monday night: no change. I spent maybe 20 minutes trying to fix it myself, but couldn't. Finally called the front desk, and to their credit they sent "an engineer" right up, and after messing with it for a couple minutes, he fixed it. (It was not a fix I would've figured out--it involved standing on the window ledge and lifting the shade out of its socket and rotating it in some non-obvious-even-to-the-guy way.)

I also asked them if they had any thin pillows, and it turned out they didn't. This is not something I can reasonably hold against them; most hotels these days fail to provide thin pillows. I guess I'm the only hotel guest who ever wants them, because hotel people seem kind of shocked and baffled by the concept. "You want 'think pillows'?" said one clerk, not hearing me right. Then the engineer guy offered a couple of times to bring me more bolsters, which aren't actually any thinner than the pillows on the beds. Luckily, I travel with my own little pillow, so I can sleep. But it does bug me a bit.

Monday evening, Rob and I asked the front desk person for a restaurant recommendation in the area. The first place she recommended--which she strongly implied was within a three-block radius--was ten short blocks and three long blocks away. This wasn't a problem per se--we figured it out, and we could've gone somewhere else--but just another minor annoyance.

When I got back to my room on Monday night, it took me a while to find my slippers. I had left them out on the floor; housekeeping had tucked them invisibly away on the floor under the overhanging bedspread of the second, unused bed. There was no visible sign of them.

When I got back to my room on Tuesday night, I couldn't find my water bottle (which I had left out on the desk), even after a thorough search of the room. Granted, it had probably been over half-empty, but there was still a significant amount of water in it; I assume housekeeping decided I was done with it and threw it away.

Housekeeping also, each day, folds the hand towel and the washcloth into a weird knotted form that takes me ten or twenty seconds to untangle with wet hands. I'm sure this is a hotel policy, not housekeeping's fault, and I'm sure many guests would find it charming, but I find it annoying, especially when it's done every day.

And unlike nearly every other hotel I've stayed at in recent years, they don't seem to have a "don't wash all my linens every day" option. It's possible that option is the default, but various things lead me to think it isn't.

I called the front desk last night and asked them to not send housekeeping to my room for the duration of my stay. They said that would be fine, and told me to just leave my "Do Not Disturb" sign on the door. I doubt it'll work, but I'll try it.

Anyway. All of the above are tiny little things (except for the knock on the door, and even that is the kind of thing that's an easy mistake to make--though after there was no answer to the first knock, given the Do Not Disturb sign, I'd think they'd have verified the room number before knocking again), and if I read a hotel review with complaints like this, I would probably roll my eyes. I realize I'm being whiny here. And probably if I were getting anything resembling enough sleep (and weren't grumpy about my computer problems), I would be a lot more flexible about it.

And as my customer service demon goes, these are all bush-league things, especially compared to stuff like getting locked out of my room.

(Also, there are good things about the hotel. I've had no trouble at all with their wired and wireless Net access, for example.)

Okay, enough. I gotta go try to get an appointment at the Apple Store even though the earliest available appointment is Friday.

I continue to be effectively off email. If you need to reach me, try cell phone or text message or my Gmail address (my middle name @ gmail), which I'll try and check more often than usual today (I normally don't check it at all, so don't put it in your address books longterm). I'll try and figure out a way to send SH autoresponses tonight, but don't know if that'll be possible.

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