I am working on a post to recap my recent trip to Vancouver and Seattle. While on the trip, it occurred to me that I am a rather unapologetic hotel snob. If at all possible, I prefer to stay in boutique or more upscale, branded hotels. I like nice beds with high thread count sheets. I prefer hotels with sleek, modern architecture and appointments. Irrespective of reputation, I’m not really fond of hotels with frilly decorations and furniture.
Funnily enough, while I was thinking about my hotel snobbery, I started thinking to myself about how hotels have shifted. Specifically, do you remember when staying at the Holiday Inn was something special? Well, I do.
In much the same way that I occasionally wax nostalgic about how people used to dress up when flying, I took a few moments to recall really great memories from my childhood connected to hotels in my hometown. I distinctly remember going to the Howard Johnson’s, at the corner of Maple and South Westnedge in Kalamazoo, for dinner. I would always order the fried clams and French fries. I don’t think we would orders sodas, but I remember sucking down the water with the fancy cubed ice while I figured out the puzzles and games on my place mat. My parents would frequently tell me to slow down on the water so I wouldn’t ruin my appetite. The meal wouldn’t be complete without a hot fudge sundae. Every now and then, I was allowed to get some salt water taffy that was stacked up by the cashier’s station.
Probably the most fond memory from my childhood, connected to a hotel, was when my parents took me to the Holiday Inn West for my birthday. We would pack up and spend the night. We would usually go to the hotel’s restaurant to order dinner, and then we would hit the indoor pool and jacuzzi. We would hit the pool again in the morning before getting some breakfast. I’m sure that gifts were present, but, quite honestly, the excitement about staying at the hotel was the highlight and the real gift.
Again, all this hit me as I patted myself on the back for the hotels I chose for our nights in Vancouver and Seattle. For a moment, I wondered whether I was making too much out of the quality of the hotel; but then I snapped out of my little nostalgia bubble. I won’t go that far. Interestingly, though, if you looked at the quality of (most) Holiday Inns back in the late 60s and early 70s, they would probably be considered on par with a Marriott or Hilton today.
Irrespective of the star-ratings of the hotel or the thread count of the linens, the memories that my parents created for me are special and lasting. For that, I thank them dearly!