Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Best Guest Estimate

Washington D.C. - I slide the printed reservation across the counter surface and into the hands of the clerk manning the business side of the front desk.

After giving me the once over he starts to quiz me with a curious look on his face. "What's the guest's name?" He queries.

Somewhere in the heart of Washington D.C.
It's an odd way to phrase the question, I think to myself, but then assume it's his way of being polite and I just give him my name.

After checking my name against the hotel's guest list he tells me, "Go ahead and put the bags on the luggage dolly for the bellhop to bring up to the room. The suitcases will be there when the guest arrives."

I tell him, "I am the guest." 

"Oh, I'm sorry. I thought you were the baggage delivery man." He replies, not all that apologetically.

Not knowing exactly what to say, I simply utter, "Oh," while nodding my noggin up and down like one of the mindless Washington Nationals bobblehead dolls I later almost buy in the lobby gift shop. I guess it's my sartorial style, maybe the baseball cap, that fools him. I don't know for sure. I never ask him for clarification.

He then offers: "Would you like the bellhop to carry your bags up to your room?" 

I wave off the courtesy and tell him I can carry them up myself. After all I guess I'm somehow suited for the job.


  1. Suggest you share this at Trip Advisor to warn potential visitors of the bizarre reception desk...

    1. That’s how I found the hotel in the first place!!! I actually enjoyed my stay there. It was a swanky (I think that’s the word they used to describe it when it was first built) old hotel steeped in history and lugging the bags up to the room provided a great workout. Somehow I find the fact that they gave me such a hard time getting in the place kind of praiseworthy. Like Groucho Marx told the Friar’s Club, “I don’t want to belong to any club that will accept people like me as a member.”

  2. Now you have me really curious which hotel it was. Am a historic hotel fan...Stayed at the Algonquin in NYC because of its literary history; but because it's no longer family-run, and instead operated by people without a real connection or interest in it, except for profit, it was a bit disappointing, over-priced. Also didn't care for the Biltmore in LA. Stayed at the Churchill in Dupont Circle which was lovely - wondering if this might be the one you were at. The man at the desk sounds a lot like Basil Fawlty; did you see him hitting and yelling at employees?

    1. It was the Omni Shoreham in NW Wash. D.C. (overlooking Rock Creek Park). Built ca. 1930, FDR had his inaugural ball there. I think there is a haunted suite there as well with a related story that is a lot sadder than mine.

  3. It sounds like a v. historic, large, and spooky place. The Churchill doesn't have ghosts. Didn't realize how many historic hotels are still open in D.C. That area is the prettiest in DC.