I recently read this piece on BudgetTravelOnline called “Confessions Of... A Front Desk Clerk.” I was going to say that I’m sure our desk clerks here at the Chelsea have much better confessions to relate, but actually, this piece is mis-titled. These are just bitchings of a front desk clerk, or, at best, pet peeves. So, for instance, this particular desk clerk, Anne Szeker, doesn’t like it when guests try to get out of paying for pay-cable movies they’ve ordered, or when they get drunk and try to pick her up. (Hey, she should be flattered!)
A true confession would be, for instance, something like: “I blew Richard Gere in the coatroom of the hotel bar.” Or really, Anne, you don’t even have to incriminate yourself; just give us the dirt on the celebrities. Barring that, you could give useful advice, like the hotel’s policy on recommending callgirl services to lonely businessmen. Or, what’s the best place in town to score some smack?
Also, the piece seems to have a hidden corporate agenda: to let people know that they’ll get shitty service if they book their rooms through Internet booking engines such as Priceline or Expedia. So take note travelers: if you try to get a deal you’ll be treated like second class citizens.
Hey, hotel people, your rooms are overpriced, OK? If they weren’t then you could probably fill the place up without Expedia or Priceline. But as it is, you need these services. (And, you need the people who aren’t willing to pay full price.) So why are you damning them?
The sole piece of interesting information in the article is that they’ll write you up in their hotel log if you misbehave. Bitch out a desk clerk and it goes on your permanent record!
To get back to the Chelsea, our rooms are expensive here too. (Though I must admit, I’ve been in a couple of transient rooms lately and they have been fixing them up.) People are always writing in asking how they can get a cheap room, and the only answer I have is to negotiate with Stanley Bard—a daunting prospect indeed. I don’t know if you can get a cheap room here through Expedia or Priceline, but I do know enough to know that they’re not going to tell me at the front desk. So, if anyone knows the answer to this question, please let us know. We would love to hear from someone who’s actually rented a room here this way. (Or anybody else who’s ever stayed here, for that matter. Write in and share your impressions, good or bad.)
So what do you think? I’m sure to be written up for this article, aren’t I? --Ed Hamilton.