Friday, May 6, 2011

Hotel what with the what now?!

   When I decided that I would tack on a couple of extra days to enjoy all that SF has to offer following my business meetings, I knew I wanted to stay in the city, but I didn't know where. After scanning Google maps and TripAdvisor I landed on the website of this absolutely spectacular hotel, Hotel Union Square, which was built in 1913 and said to be a favorite haunt of Dashiell Hammett (author of The Maltese Falcon). The hotel went through a major renovation in recent years and was restored to its original beauty. I couldn't stop looking at their site. I HAD to stay here. It was more than I wanted to spend, but how could I pass this up?
   I arrived at the hotel, checked in, skipped up the steps to the third floor (despite my heavy bags, laden with product samples)... I was so excited! I slid my key in the door, and stepped in to...
Cue the sad trombone!
   Okay, granted. It wasn't "bad." But it also wasn't the luxurious 1920s-era designer dream that they sold me on their website. I got suckered by the loveliness they presented into paying way too much for a REGULAR hotel room. And that, my friends, is the value of hiring expert designers and photographers for your project.
   When I checked my room against the site again it actually had all of the same furniture—just none of the lighting and color that set it off. They didn't lie exactly... okay, maybe a little. Hmm.
   Other than that, and the fact that I have stayed in rooms this same size in Tokyo (which also cost less), my stay was pleasant. The one other exception: they had thoughtfully installed motion-detector switches in the bathroom, as this was a "green" hotel. Love it. I recycle, I compost—I support the planet. These were the same switches we have at work, so I'm very accustomed to them. The problem was that mine didn't work.
   So when I rushed back from hiking and returning the car, already late to my dinner reservation and not wanting to be late for Diddy, I needed to shower—FAST. I hopped in, and 30 seconds later, the light went out. I opened the shower door and clicked the switch again so it would stay on. It didn't. 30 seconds later it went out again. I got out of the shower & clicked it again, this time sure that I had got it. I hadn't. It went out again. I'm totally not exaggerating about the 30 seconds. The bathroom was very, VERY dark without that light, so I basically had to shower as if I were in a cave and blind as a bat. And when I got out, the floor was soaked from my frequent exits & re-entries.I slipped on the wet tile and bruised my arm on the wall. Grrrrrr...
   I will say that the front desk staff did get an electrician in quickly to change the switch, but not until after my dark & unpleasant shower the next morning. But I don't understand how this was never mentioned to them before.
   The location of the hotel was fantastic, just blocks from my concert, and with easy access to public transportation. If they have a super-duper sale I would definitely stay there again. But not at the current price tag. Live and learn!