February 2006


Elizabethtown & Brown Hotel

Yesterday, while cruising along at 38,000 feet over the North Atlantic, I watched Elizabethtown, a slightly disjointed and odd movie featured on nwa’s AVOD this month.

I watched it because it was set in Louisville, Kentucky—and I was quite surprised when the main character checked into the Brown Hotel, for I too was headed to the Brown Hotel.

The Brown Hotel is a four star / four diamond hotel located in downtown Louisville. I don’t know if it is the heart of Louisville yet because my plane touched down just before midnight and it was 12:30 before I was at the check-in desk.

The movie had not given the Brown Hotel the best image: they stuck our hero, whose father had just died, on the same floor as a noisy week-long wedding party. I thought this was in poor taste and most unkind to the hero (although it ended up being a good thing—but of course it would, this is Hollywood).

I, of course, have never really stayed in a four star fancy hotel, so I had fairly high expectations—only to discover that my room for the night was a parlor.

Yes, a parlor complete with a big sofa, a dining room table, a bar, a lamp with shoddy wiring, and an alarm clock that was still set to daylight savings time (for the Europeans: summertime). For those of you who are observant, you’ll notice that a minor, yet critical item is missing from my list.

I ended up sleeping on a sofa bed rollaway bed (they couldn’t find sheets for the sofa bed).

The guy at the check-in desk has decided to comp me my first night’s stay, which as I pointed out, really doesn’t compensate me since my employer is paying for the hotel room. I think my compensation will come tonight when I am “upgraded” to the Camberley Club complete with all of its amenities:

Two floors of the hotel have been designated as The Camberley Club. The Club offers a private lounge with a complimentary, upscale continental breakfast, afternoon snacks, hors d’oeuvres, and complimentary wine and beer in the evening. Rooms feature specially designed bedding with triple sheeting, 310-thread count sheets, a duvet cover and down comforter, and six down pillows. In addition to special amenities like terry cloth robes and fresh flowers, a dedicated concierge is available mornings and evenings to answer questions, make dinner reservations, and assist you with any details to make your stay more enjoyable.

That is, of course, assuming the hotel follows through on its promises. Time will tell on that point.

I might point out that this is the second time I’ve ever received what I would consider a substandard room from what I expected. I once had the misfortune of spending the night at the InterCityHotel Frankfurt Airport on a sofa bed. I never complained about the experience but it did leave a lasting impression for the entire chain: whenever confronted with a choice between the InterCityHotel and a competitor, I choose the competitor—and that’s cost the chain at least two different nights—when I’ve stayed at more expensive hotels.

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