#main #menu { position: absolute; right: 21px; }

You Know You're Staying in the Wrong Part of Town....

Tuesday, May 17, 2005
....when a homeless man tries to pick you up in front of your hotel room.

This is one of the bits of wisdom I've added to my ever-growing list of tips to share with other authors who are hitting the book tour circuit for the very first time.

But, believe it or not, being hit on by a homeless man (something that happened to me this weekend in Edmonton) doesn't rank as one of my worst or weirdest hotel experiences ever.

Oh, no, no, no!

I'd say the worst experience I ever had was checking into a hotel that was on the wrong side of downtown in Vancouver. (It had been booked for me by a newbie publicist who clearly hadn't done her homework.) There was vomit in the foyer when I arrived -- generally not a sign that you're staying at a four-star establishment.

And then there was the time I checked into a hotel in Hamilton and was given a room with what can best be described as a minimalist decor. We're talking about a ladder and a bucket of drywall compound. When I went back downstairs, they found me a room with a bed (I was ever-so-grateful), but I was kind of weirded out by the experience.

But the single most disgusting hotel experience -- the experience that will always stand out in my mind when I think hotel-from-hell -- was the hotel I stayed in last fall in a small town in southwestern Ontario while doing a speaking gig in a nearby community. The hotel's plumbing had seen better days. In fact, after coming to fix my non-flushing toilet in the early evening, the hotel's proprietor told me that I probably only had "one flush" to hold me over until morning. I took her advice and saved it for when I really needed it.

Fortunately, my hotel-from-hell experiences tend to be few and far between. I generally get to stay at very nice hotels. (There must be a "pampered princess" clause in my book contracts or something. I'll have to go back and check.) I've had the chance to stay at some remarkably posh spots over the years -- places like The Royal York, Hotel Macdonald, Arc The Hotel, The Wedgewood Hotel, and The Opus Hotel. (Thought I should mention that in the interest of full disclosure!) :-)

So the life of the touring author isn't all vomit and drywall compound -- nor is it all Chardonnay and roses. It's a bit of both.

So how about the rest of you: Have you got any hotel-from-hell stories you want to share -- stories about the four-star hotel that wasn't, or that "quaint" holiday rental property that was so quaint that it didn't have working plumbing?

| posted by Ann D @ 12:17 PM