Public Service Announcement to Hotels
Given all the dicey things I’ve eaten on this planet, I’m amazed that the only places where I’ve suffered any consequences—to put it delicately—are Boston, Seattle and Madrid. (I’ll spare you the details.) I didn’t have my self-medication-on-the-road kit with me those times; it didn’t occur to me (dumb, I know) that I’d be felled in these cities. Each time, I wondered why even the most luxurious hotels don’t have get-well packs full of basic over-the-counter remedies, ready to deliver to guests in need. Some of the Starwood hotels on the right track, with a “survival kit” in the mini bars. I’ve seen kits like those in other hotels too, but they’re not nearly ubiquitous enough. It also wouldn’t hurt if hotel kitchens could, at a moment’s notice, send up the right foods or drinks to nourish the weak, the dehydrated, the appetite-deprived but nutrient-starved. When you’re feeling fried, you don’t want to wait on the phone while the room-service staff tries to figure out if they can deliver yogurt or toast after official breakfast hours—and you’re usually in no shape to go to the store.
If you ever happen to be sleepless in Seattle (not for romantic reasons), you could pick a worse place than the new, high-tech Hotel 1000 downtown. The mini-bars aren’t stocked with survival kits—and the hotel doesn’t have an SOS plan for under-the-weather guests as far as I could tell—but when I was convalescing there last weekend, other amenities lessened my misery. The rooms have body-heat sensors; a light outside your room alerts staff when you’re inside, so no one knocks on your door unbidden when you’re trying to sleep, even if you forget to put on the Do Not Disturb sign. The bed and pillows are some of the most comfortable I’ve ever slept on. And the gorgeous views over the harbor and Mt. Rainier put up a good fight against the weekend’s wall-to-wall Anna Nicole Smith and astro-nut coverage on CNN.