Do Not Disturb by Michael Matthews for 2007
December 20: HOTEL HUGS AND BRICKBATS FOR 2007
This is the last column for 2007, surely an ideal time for me to recap the highs and lows, along with the hugs and brickbats, of my hotel adventures for this past year. I've got details of who was naughty and who was nice in the hotel world this year.
November 29: LAST ORDERS FOR THE SAVOY
The Savoy's portals will be locked on December 15 for as long as two years while it is modernized and brought into the 21st century--or so trumpets a press release announcing a $200 million renovation. I shudder to think of the end result. If it is in keeping with previous attempts at modernization, it will be ghastly. And the 120-year tradition of The Savoy of London will have gone the way of the dodo.
November 8: THE POLITICS OF DIRTY TOILETS
Michael Matthews, himself a legal immigrant to the United States, knows that we need controls on illegal immigration. But during his recent turn as general manager at one of the best resorts in America he found that just eight of his 175 staffers were American. He wonders who's going to clean the toilets, make the beds and cook the food if some of the more draconian immigration measures become law.
July 19: I'M ALL TIED UP
For reasons that seem to be lost in the silks of time, Hermes is the tie of hoteliers in the know. It's what you give to a helpful general manager as a thank you for extraordinary services rendered. So why do guests give me pistachio nuts?
May 31: BACK IN THE SADDLE (AND HERMES TIE) AGAIN
It's been more than a decade since he actually held the reins of an operating hotel and was the guy in the Hermes tie standing on the front steps. Well, Michael Matthews is back at it for now and, to be truthful, he did not know--or didn't remember--what he was letting himself in for.
May 10: MY SEARCH FOR A GRAND (HOTEL) FINALE
A Grand Hotel is where I want to be when it's time to go, when it's time for the final check-out. But will that be possible? Is there such a thing as a Grand Hotel in these days of Ikea furniture and minimalist design?
April 12: THE MAIN THING IS THAT MAINE IS NICE
For some reason, I am always nervous about staying with friends. Perhaps it's because I suspect how much trouble I will be to my host. You know, big-time hotelier shows up at your home with white gloves looking for dust… But when old friends invited me to Maine for lobsters and sailing, well...
February 22: IT'S A DOG'S LIFE IN THE HOTEL BUSINESS
One of the ways I gauge a hotel, be it a grand dame or a roadside inn, is the price that I'm paying per square foot per night. I generally pay anywhere from a dollar--that's for a 400-square-foot room selling for $400 a night--to more than $2 a square foot. But I don't like being screwed. So you can understand my ire at paying a whopping $5.71 per square foot for a room that had no bathroom, no turndown service and no coffeemaker.
January 25: SHOPPING FOR HOTEL RATES? MY NEW BEST ADVICE
So much advice is available on the Web about how to obtain the best room rates at a hotel that I generally ignore it all and follow my own advice. And my advice has always been: Call the general manager's office and book your room through him. Now I'm not so sure. A recent booking experience has led me to rethink my best advice and make some important adjustments.
January 11: WHERE HAVE ALL THE FLOWERS GONE?
There are so many lodging items now vanished for which I pine. Common courtesy would be high on the list. Where have all the keys gone? What ever happened to hotel elevator and telephone operators? Where did the armoires, blankets, big bathtubs and sufficient room lighting go? What ever happened to showmanship and snappy uniforms in the dining room? And where have all the flowers gone? Or am I just getting old?
These columns originally appeared at joesentme.com.
Copyright © 1993-2007 by Michael Matthews. All rights reserved.