Monday, December 11, 2017


That's kind of a brilliant wreath, I think. Makes me want to make a wreath out of some of my bendable Christmas figures. This was on display in the lounge of the Hotel Ella. We just finished spending two nights there (Saturday and Sunday). We buy local hotel stays in charity auctions. I suppose we should use them for out-of-town guests, but you have to be flexible about dates so we use them to explore local hotels. This one is partly housed in an old mansion on MLK Boulevard. They added a parking garage with an event space on top and a separate building with rooms where we stayed.

I really enjoyed the whimsical wreaths on display there. Others were less 'Christmasy' in their theme like this food one:
We enjoy going around to hotels to look at decoration. Staying in the hotel allows one to review hotel things. How is the shower? Bath amenities and towels? Bed and linens? The comfort of sitting or desk area? Accessible outlets? Wifi? TV and channel choices? Coffee maker or coffee available near the room in morning? Ostensibly we do this because we are thinking about putting up visitors in the hotel. But really we are just critics at heart. 

One fun thing about the outing was that we walked back and forth to the hotel with our backpacks and a roller bag. The hotel is about seventeen blocks away. We've walked to other hotel staycations as well (The Four Seasons and the JW Marriott), but they've been a bit closer. I can't remember if we walked to the Van Zandt (near Rainey Street), but we may have done. We also walked back to the apartment yesterday morning to get our Sunday papers and let FFP eat his ritual oatmeal. Sidewalks aren't great between here and there but we managed. We also walked over to Bates Recital Hall on the east campus on Saturday to hear a symphony and choral concert the UT students put on. Getting in the exercise was great. (It's been clear and cool all weekend so that was pleasant walking.) 

We ate dinner both nights at the hotel, one in the bar and one in the dining room and had brunch there, too. The food was pretty good. We saw people we knew both on staff and dining guests. We had drinks as well. The package we bought had a coupon for the dining room as well. 

Staycations change one's perspective briefly and concentrate one's attention apart from the distractions of the apartment. But it's good to be at home with our coffee maker, computers, etc. It's not like 'real' travel when one will be gone for enough days to have to think hard about what to pack and all that. I figure the hotel gets some attention from us (and a bit of money in the dining room or bar), the charity gets cash and we get a tiny adventure. When I was a kid, I loved the idea of staying in a hotel or motel. We didn't get to do it much, however, because we usually camped on vacations. When I started working and had some money for personal travel and then had lots of business travel, I found out a lot about hotel and motel stays. Not all of it was pleasant. But it was always part of an adventure. Maybe I'll write more about those adventures in subsequent days of Holidailies.

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