I was back out West last week, flying to Phoenix and visiting Scottsdale, Palm Springs and returning from Ontario, CA with a stop in Las Vegas. Five days, three hotels and a lot of conversations. I am still recovering from the Sky Mall bankruptcy, missing those most unique buying opportunities. Well, I can turn to skymall.com. It is still operational and anyone looking for a yard Yeti can get one right now. An extended, unscheduled, time in the Las Vegas airport lifted my spirits, not really. Watching oddly dressed humans with a background of slot machines and Frank Sinatra numbs the brain. The ongoing din is irregularly interrupted by the squeal that goes up when someone hits it “big” on one of the slots. Even the machines have interesting names, ranging from the expected Deuces Wild and Double Bonus Poker to the more creative Hell’s Bells, Fishing Bob, and Lobster Larry’s Lobstermania 2. (I assume that there was a Lobstermania 1.) Who thinks up the names? Why would Dolly Parton want to have her image and name on one of these? Most people come and go from these reverse ATMS, dropping their $10 or $20 down a hole and quickly catching their connecting flight. A few others seem to settle in for a longer stretch. I am watching some guy right now who has been at it for more than an hour. I hope that he doesn’t miss his flight and/or he hits it big—no squeal from him yet. I have been expecting to see an Elvis impersonator, but no luck so far.
Directly out the window I can see the Mandalay Bay hotel announcing/proclaiming Michael Jackson’s ON. I have seen a guy in handcuffs being escorted past Gate C23 by the airport police. All involved seemed to be having a very polite conversation. Whoa, there goes a large women in a moo moo carrying her combat boots. This place is a sociologist’s paradise.
My original scheduled less than one hour layover in Las Vegas became a nine hour visit due to mechanical difficulties in Ontario. The delay was just long enough to miss my connector to Omaha. SWA was way off its game today and for the first time ever on this airline I saw strong doses of southern efficiency and northern charm. I hope that today’s experience was an anomaly and the SWA has not decided to model itself after American Eagle. The scene at Ontario was one from the Three Stooges, four persons running around telling people to board, not to board, go to Gate 400, and come back. I was waiting for some to call out “wake up and go to sleep”. I was finally the next to last person in the aircraft on which I was originally scheduled (yes, our ride was miraculously healed). Larry, Moe, and Curly stayed behind. I did get a $200 dollar voucher for my trouble, a down payment on a chance to do this again.
This blog entry is titled The Room because I had a very interesting experience in Palm Springs. My reservation at the Renaissance Inn at Indian Wells (Palm Springs) indicated a 4:00 PM check-in time. I arrived at the desk to check in at 3:30 PM and was told I would need to wait about ten minutes before my room would be ready. I was early, had no reason to complain, and found a chair in an adjacent space. Less than ten minutes later, a very polite desk clerk came to fetch me. He apologized for the delay and told me that I would not be disappointed with my room. As I rode the elevator to the sixth floor of the hotel (it has seven floors), I wondered what he meant by “you won’t be disappointed.” Exiting the elevator, I began a rather lengthy walk with several turns and found myself in the southwest corner of the hotel. As I approached room 6033, I noticed that it had a double door. The hotel rooms I stay in do not have double doors. The adventure began. I was booked into the Governor’s Suite at $229 a night! I have included a few pictures of the interior, and from two of the main decks.
The main floor, yes main floor, had a family room and dining room along with a powder room and small kitchen-type space (no cooking). On the second level, seventh floor, was a very large bedroom, an incredible bathroom, complete with a shower that could accommodate a basketball team, a deck and another balcony! As I was checking out the next day, I asked about the room’s normal cost, around $1000 a night, and how I got it. Someone had reserved the room, registered at the hotel, and made the same elevator ride I described above. They entered the room(s), walked around, and started to complain that they were getting lost in the room(s). They secured another room, I walked into the hotel trying to get into a room a few minutes early, and timing and luck intervened. The luck scale was rebalanced on my way home by a nine hour layover in the Las Vegas Airport.