My New Favorite Hotel

I’m fickle. I know that. I now have a new favorite hotel for business travel.

We were due to teach a class in Albany, Oregon, the day after teaching a class in Vancouver, Washington, the day after teaching a class in Portland, Oregon. I suggested that we finish our class in Vancouver, drive to Albany, spend the night there, then be right there in town, ready to teach the next day. Maximum efficiency. She agreed.

In Monday’s class they asked us where we were staying. We told them The Phoenix Inn in Tigard, but that we would be driving to Albany after Tuesday’s class and staying there. Raised eyebrows greeted us, followed by incredulous comments, “You’re staying in Albany? Are you sure? Where?”

“The Comfort Inn.”

“Oh. You don’t want to stay there. That’s in between an adult book store and a truck stop. Plus, it smells.”

I glanced at my colleague. She shrugged. Neither of us had ever been to Albany.

“Don’t stay at The Comfort Inn. There’s a cute bed and breakfast downtown. The Trainhouse. If you must stay in Albany, at least stay there.”

I conferred with my colleague. The cancellation policy for The Comfort Inn was by 4pm day of arrival. We decided to try the bed and breakfast.

She called information for the Trainhouse. No such listing in the directory. “That can’t be,” I said. “I’ll find it.” Monday night I googled the Trainhouse. And found a rudimentary, but somewhat over informative website. How long the owners had been married. Where they went to school. The names and decor of the rooms. What to do in downtown Albany. Quaint. Very quaint. Three rooms total. But it could be interesting. I wrote down the phone number, figuring that Sheila could make reservations at the Trainhouse and cancel reservations at The Comfort Inn during as I drove to Vancouver the next day.

First, the phone call to make reservations. Don’t cancel before you have a sure thing.

“Hi, do you have two rooms available for tonight?” she asked. She waited. A few pleasantries exchanged.

She related later that the woman on the phone suddenly switched her tone and demanded, “Who is this????”

Sheila explained who she was and that she wanted two rooms for the evening.

“Oh, I thought you were my sister, making a prank call.” Whatever.

One reservation for the Trainhouse Inn, one cancellation for The Comfort Inn.

After Tuesday’s class, the participants wanted to know where we were staying. “Albany – at a bed and breakfast.”

Again, incredulous looks. “Don’t stay there. Oh. So don’t stay there. Stay in Portland. Drive down there tomorrow morning.”

We again exchanged glances.

“It smells. Seriously. It smells in Albany. You simply must stay in Portland. Then drive to Albany in the morning. Here, I’ll have my admin make the arrangements for you.”

Moments later we had reservations at the Westin in Portland and had left a message for the Trainhouse saying we weren’t coming.

We drove to Portland, valeted the car, and checked into our rooms. The first thing I noticed was that the bed, meticulously made, had pressed sateen sheets and multiple pillows, one of which said, “Oui.” What could you not like about a bed that beckoned you with the word “yes” in a foreign language?

I prepared for bed. I finished email, pressed my clothes for the next day, took a long hot bath (in the bathroom with marble floors and a separate shower and bath), then slid into bed. Into bed? Or into clouds, merely masquerading as a bed? I sank down. My head rested comfortably in the down pillows. Within moments, I was sound asleep.

“Good morning, Miss McLeese. This is your 5:50 wake up call. Would you like another?”

Ohhhhhhh…. morning. But, the chance to sleep longer. “Yes…. 10 more minutes, please.”

I drifted back to sleep. Ahhhhh, comfort. Softness all around. The weight of the comforter against my bare skin. Bliss.

Ring. Ring. “Good morning, Miss McLeese. This is your 6:00 wake up call. Would you like another?”

“No. No. I’m up. Thank you,” I replied groggily.

“Today’s weather will be 94 degrees. Have a great day.”

I couldn’t believe they had actual people dialing the wake up calls. Not an automated service, real people. That talked to you then told you the weather. That’s service.

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