|naobim via Pixabay|
I couldn't wait. Last year, I'd been impressed by the facility, falling in love most with a spacious and well-appointed lobby that promised to be perfect for writing sessions after hours and between workshops.
The first day, all was well. I checked in early in the evening and had a pleasant first night. The next morning, things were a tad noisy outside my room, but I didn't give it much thought. A placard on the nightstand warned that the hotel was doing some remodeling and there would be some mild disturbances between 8 AM and 5 PM. I got ready for my sessions and headed out. All was quiet in the meeting rooms -- construction-wise, that is.
About mid-afternoon, I went back to the room, hoping to take some down time (and maybe even a nap) before the reception and book signing that night.
The drilling overhead was so loud that I had to leave the room.
As the parent of a college-age young adult, I've spent a fair amount of time in hotels over the past few years. From the college search time when she was still in high school to the campus visits to our trip to join her during her semester in Ireland, I've seen the insides of a lot of hotel rooms of various sizes and qualities, but I've never had to leave the room because it was too noisy for me to hear myself think.
One of the perks of staying at a hotel when I go to a conference is being able to seek time all to myself at any point in the day, whether to write, to nap, to read, to relax or even watch bad television. This benefit is one of the things I'm paying for, and I don't take it lightly. I've done some of my best writing in hotels (and on trains) and I love knowing that's an option when I go away. And, when it's not, I become somewhat cranky.
There are other amenities I look for in a hotel -- features that make me want to book again, even if the price is a little higher than other places. The rooms have to be clean, of course, and I've come to expect a mini-fridge (although they're not standard); my favorite hotel even has a little microwave in its suites. Feather bedding options might be upscale, but they're a disappointment to me. Allergies mean I need to call the front desk, ask for non-feather options and hope that's what I actually get.
I don't care about the mini toiletries -- if they're nice, that's a bonus but (allergies again) I pack the ones I like from home. I do care about the shower, though. More than once, I've been sad to check out of a hotel because their shower was better than ours at home.
Traveling with a teen, we've gotten into the habit of booking suites, which means we have room to spread out. While my husband is happy to camp out on the bed with his iPad, I prefer to read on the (usually pull-out) sofa or work on my laptop at the desk. I've also been known to hang out in the lobby if it's nice. I vividly remember working out a scene in the forthcoming Marita/Angel/Charli book in the lobby of a hotel in Connecticut. It was summer, but the stone fireplace was really pretty and there were lots of comfy places to sit. The change in scenery added something to the writing experience.
|Lobby of the Eden Resort Inn|
In those open spaces, it's always nice to have knowledgeable and courteous staff. I don't remember ever running into problems here; most of those in the hospitality business do hospitable quite well. It's also nice if there's a restaurant on-site -- preferably one that doesn't break the bank. Wifi is also a must, preferably in the lobby and in the room. And a decent place to make/take a phone call matters, too. "Can you hear me now?" is not my idea of good phone service.
Picky? Maybe. Or maybe I just know what I like, and what I'm willing to pay for.
Not long ago, I learned that another of my favorite writing conferences will no longer be held at my favorite hotel. I was disappointed enough to consider skipping the conference, or even staying at my preferred hotel and driving across town to the hotel where the conference will be held.
I have almost a year to make up my mind. And, it's likely that my daughter's graduation will be held that same weekend, so I won't be going to the conference anyway for reasons completely unrelated to the venue.
This is good. It gives the conference planners two years to come to their senses and choose the right location next time around.
Hey. I'm from Jersey. I know what I like.