Monday, 5 March 2012


In my time as a musician I stayed in many hotels. motels, band houses, and service apartments. I’ve been billeted with the locals, and lodged at resort hotels. Much of my career revolved around travel accommodations. The two hours a night of performing was only a fraction of my day. About 1/12th, I suppose. The rest of my day would have been made up of traveling to and from hotels and venues, sleeping, eating, thinking about eating, and hanging around my hotel room. Sometimes there would be shopping or sight seeing if we had a day off, but most often there would be just enough time to drop off one’s bags and brush your teeth before going down to lobby call and running to soundcheck, radio spots or other such activities. 

Still, the hotel represented, in that crazy life, a constant. Even though it was a different city every night, hotels were/are, for the most part, pretty interchangeable. You have your bed, your bathroom and your “view”. But to me, it was the most comforting part of traveling. It represented quiet, privacy, a chance to poop, and clean sheets. Some of my favourite things. Except for privacy. I mean, you’ve probably kind of gathered that I’m not a super private person. Well, no. I am a selectively private person. I’m also a relentless Super Narcissist who believes fully that people NEED to know about me or their LIVES WILL BE MEANINGLESS.

Super-Narcissist ready to save the world from not knowing about her.

You’re welcome.

So having spent so much time in hotels, I have an opinion or two about them and I am totally about to share. I heart sharing, don't you?

Hotels generally never stock enough coffee whitener for their in-room coffee set ups. I had to stock pile it from hotel rooms we weren’t in long enough for me to need to use the in-room coffee. And it’s funny how hotel people think that one of those pathetic little coffee whitener packs in enough to make a cup of coffee taste great. No. You need to use at least 2 before it’s even remotely grey enough to be not black coffee. I got so frustrated by the lack of adequate coffee whitener supplies that I stole pens. 
I would only take pens that had the hotel name on it. No Bics for me. I’d come home off the road with bushels of pens, bundled together in a hair elastic. I always had pens for filling out customs forms and everyone thanked me later. My purse always weighed 40 pounds.
I always took the nicer free amenities. I wouldn’t have to buy shampoo for months at home.
Just a selection of the booty hauled from my last tour.
My mom stole an ashtray from the Four Seasons in Calgary. I guess that’s where I inherited my thieving ways. Mind you, she did ASK PERMISSION before she stole it. What a goodie goodie.

I know someone who stole art from a hotel. And no. I’m not telling.
I was always glad when hotels had a gym. Saved Mitch (our drummer and most frequently naked guy) and I from having to source out fitness facilities in strange cities. Of course, different hotels will have different ideas about what constitutes exercise equipment. A broken stationary bike from 1985 and one set of 65 pound dumb bells does not a fitness room make. Also, I know there must be a certain kind of logic in putting the fitness room near the hotel pool, but then the gym is SO HOT AND HUMID that you just want to cry and go back to your room and eat $4000 Pringles and watch Donahue. Are you hearing me Hampton Inns?

The more expensive the hotel the greater likelihood of a decent gym. Unfortunately, the price of the hotel was always in inverse proportion to the likelihood of free internet. Fancy hotels will charge you $12 a day to use their internet service which costs them, basically, nothing. Mid prices hotel chains almost invariably provide that service for free. God bless you Mid Priced Hotel Chains.
Free is good. Holiday Inn Express has free breakfasts. Ergo, Holiday Inn Express = Goodness.

They have those crazy waffle makers that you can never get near because some poor mother of 8 is making breakfast, lunch and dinner for her raucous brood. 

Unripe bananas. Toxic looking muffins. Two empty jugs of milk.

Plastic display cases full of weird looking “Sausage patties”. 

Fruit Loops. Mystery Flakes. Jars for clean/dirty spoons. Usually people aren't picky about which is which.

But it's free breakfast. So if they put out a plate full of thumb tacks and put a sign "Free Breakfast" on it, I'd eat it and thank them for it later.

I love Holiday Inn Express and would happily endorse their chain of hotels. There. I just did. And totally for free, too. See? Free IS good!
I endorse this unless I hear they invest in bad things or do bad things or are otherwise bad.

I actually prefered the less fancy hotels.

 I liked the bland predictability of the Holiday Inns,

Holiday Inn, Charlotte City Center.

 the Best Westerns,

Best Western Regency, Marshalltown Iowa.

 the Double Trees by Hilton (free cookies at check in!).

I’d rather be treated well in more humble surroundings than treated like an interloper at The W. I don’t need a turn-down service and anyone who does is just plain weird. I don’t need a super scratchy, over bleached bathrobe with a tracking device sewn into the hem. Even the in-room ammenities aren’t worth the price of admission at the posh places, Crabtree and Evelyn mini bottles would be the exception.  Holiday Inn has shampoo and conditioner that smells like margaritas. I always ask for extra bottles. I take them for the hotels that provide 2-in-1 shampoo conditioner. Two in one shampoo conditioner? Really? It is like putting on your pantihose over your shoes.
Of course, to say that I didn’t enjoy staying in swanky digs wouldn’t be totally honest. Sometimes it was a lot of fun and I felt like a folk-rock star. 

The Ritz in London 1992.

But mostly, I was more concerned with the lack of coffee whitener. And that particular failing knows no star rating. Sigh.
The Good Life.


  1. I have a least favorite hotel experience. Mmmmnhmmm I do. The hubs and I were settling in after driving for hours and hours. I go to use the loo and see a bug on the sink. Of course I suspect what it is. I get the hubs to look at the aforementioned creature and sure enough I was right.
    The hotel had bed bugs.
    We left.
    At least I got to use the loo.

  2. Lisa Wells said:

    I agree with you about the Holiday Inn Express Ellen. They're great. The last family trip we took, we were able to bring our dog; not some little carry-around either, a large dog. He totally enjoyed his stay, and he even got to ride in the elevator. Everyone was so good to him. He was treated like a celebrity! We, the people enjoyed our stay too.

    I have to say, 'terifcreations' brings up a big fear of mine. Because of recent newspaper articles, I have googled bed bugs and what to look for in hotel rooms. Even the 'nicest' hotels may have them. Providing them a food source is one gross reality, but they will climb into your luggage, crawl up your pant leg, and travel right along with you back to home sweet home. Ewwww..... They have becomme a big problem again in recent years. awesome!

  3. You may like to have a look at "The Havana Mob" by T J English it's about the American Mob in Cuba. Cheers Bangar still looking forward to the next album ;)