Wednesday, October 26, 2011

"Roughing It" at the world's finest hotels

            Camping? You’re kidding, right? My idea of “roughing it” is when the hotel I’m staying in doesn’t leave a mint on my pillow when they do turn-down service. I appreciate the finer things in life, OK?

My favorite hotel is the Lanesborough in London, where each room comes equipped with a personal butler. Walter unpacked and pressed my clothes, ran the water for my bath, and brought me ice and crystal goblets for my Diet Coke. It doesn’t get better than that.

Lest you conclude that I am independently wealthy, I must admit that my mom got a super travel-agent deal that allowed us to stay there on our annual girls’ trip. I’ve been back to London several times since then, and have had to stay in hotels I could actually afford. Needless to say, I have more than a nodding acquaintance with the Holiday Inn chain.

Recently, Affinia hotels decided to offer customers not just good service, but personalized good service.  Every employee has been trained to read body language. Tug at your ear while you’re checking in, and an employee will recognize that gesture as anxiety. He or she will then be able to do whatever is necessary to make you feel comfortable at the hotel. You might be given a fast-track pass to your room, or offered a yoga kit and a therapeutic pillow to help you relax. If you initiate eye contact with an Affinia employee, he or she will view that as an invitation to speak to you. Your service is personalized, custom-made just for you.

            I’d really like to see if this personalized service is all it’s cracked up to be. Will they be able to tell that I'm just not comfortable if there's no mint on the pillow?

            So Mom, how about arranging a trip for us to an Affinia hotel in New York, Chicago, or Washington?

            I’ll start packing.