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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Fancy Schmancy

I spend more nights in hotels than most people I know. The majority of them are middle range to the better of the lower range types - my current favorites are Hampton Inns and Comfort Suites. Occasionally, I stay at nicer places - I am writing this from the Hilton Waterfront Resort on the beach in Huntington Beach, California. I have stayed at a lot of Hyatt Regency, Westin, etc type places as well. I have some observations and comparisons from these stays. First, it amazes me, but is proven out over and over again - the more the room costs - the more they nickel and dime you to death (I use that as an expression only - it is really ten and twenty dollar you!!) For example, I am writing this while sipping on a $2.69 (pre-tax) 20oz Diet Coke. I have my computer hooked in to the Hilton wireless network at $12,95 a day. This morning I had a $20 breakfast. Now before you think I went wild and ordered the steak and egg extravaganza, let me clarify. I had the fruit plate. It was a pretty large plate with a pretty small amount of fruit on it. Now, it was good. It was fresh. It was nicely presented. But, it was NOT worth $20. However, I had no real choice. They had a granola and yogurt deal for about the same, but everything else was more. I did get an orange juice which may have been half the price ( I am not sure I ever saw the individual price for orange juice), but still.... I go to my Sleep Inn or Comfort Suites, or Hampton, etc. I get goodies. The last stay (a Hampton I think) I was offered a freshly baked cookie (or 2) at check-in. I took a free apple and a banana from a nice display they had set up. If I had been so inclined, they had a popcorn machine in the lobby with freshly popped corn and bags ready to go. I went to my room and signed on to free wireless, high speed internet. The next morning, I went down and had my free breakfast. I am not talking about a danish and a cup of coffee either. It was breakfast. I could have had waffles, bagels, danish, muffins, hard boiled eggs, toast (various), various cereals (which I did), and several selections of fruit. They also had sausage links. Again, this was FREE (actually, it was included in the price - but the price was less than $100 - this place is over $200 a night!) The more you pay, the worse it gets. This place charges for phone calls - even local ones. There are bottles of water sitting in two areas that have signs that try to get me to open and drink one for only $3.69 a liter. I am not impressed. I have been able to resist the water and I use my cellphone for calls. I have paid $25 for internet so far; and will pay another $25 or $37 prior to leaving; but I need that for working and entertainment. I have bought a diet coke for $2.69 + tax. I did buy a $4.99 bag of trail mix. (which would not get you very far down any respectable trail - it was not very large) I have had a $20 breakfast and a $24 lunch (a chicken sandwich). They have made their money on me. Just more ramblings from an ever-aging guy that likes and respects free stuff.