Hotel: A Love Story

Over the weekend we went to Tabor, a small town in South Bohemia. It’s an hour from Prague, but offered a nice respite from our humdrum autumn. Besides, we got to stay in a hotel. Which was the main draw.

We talked about the hotel for the last week. When you cook and clean for yourself every day, a weekend at a hotel means (in our minds) being spoiled and looked after. It means a shower better than yours, a toilet that should warm your cheeks upon sitting, and a team of people ready to pamper you from arrival to departure.

A day into our stay we admitted over trout filets that the hotel was fine. It was fine with no other attempts to qualify that word. It was just fine followed by an almost audible period and then a conspicuous period of quiet in which no further words were used to explicate.

The hotel was nicer on the outside than on the inside. It seems as though they spent all their money making it pretty, but forgot to put it into things like making the interior look like a hotel in the 21st century. Its carpets came straight out of my grandmother’s house. The dining room was so much like a high school cafeteria that I expected a bell to urge us back to class. The lights in the broad stairwells blinked off and on, like something in a horror movie setting. The room was also fine and was mostly taken up by the bed, which was also fine, but as the bed was harder than the floor it was less fine. The shower was good (fine) but there was no soap. The wellness center was marked by a neon sign that gave it a brothel sort of feel. The staff was fine. But there’s a pervading sense that the staff does one huge, permanent, continuous eyeroll whose meaning is “Fuck. Guests.”

It’s on Saturday evening that our discussion goes to the Hotel Arial. We stayed at the Hotel Arial in Rimini on our visit to Italy over the summer. The Hotel Arial was one superb surprise after another, from the cheerful and helpful concierge who called and made us a reservation at a local restaurant to the swimming pool/bar on the roof. Everything in between was brilliant. The smart TV, the broad balcony, the bed that was so soft and comfortable that sleeping in it was like lying in a cloud. The shower that came at you from seven different directions. The bartender who gave us their extra sandwiches for free. And the hotel breakfast, which left its family on Krypton. Never has a relationship with a buffet been so dramatic in altering my quality of life. There were three tables filled with sweets and cakes and pancakes and waffles. Another table with breads and rolls and baguettes. A table of juices and waters. A table of eggs and meats and cheeses.   

We discuss the Hotel Arial in the wistful way of a first or lasting love. And it’s only then that we realize how unfair we are being to our current hotel. It’s as though we are comparing our current girlfriend with our last girlfriend, who was so much better but who left us for someone better than us, in a purely hypothetical case.

When we returned that evening we decided to give the old girl the benefit of the doubt. But then the lights blinked off and on, the bed gave us spina bifida, and the sausage was all gone before we got there. We miss the Hotel Arial!     

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