The gloominess of the airport hotel

Because my visit to Palo Alto coincides with moving-in week at Stanford, every hotel is booked out or ridiculously expensive. So I got a couple of nights at the Westin at the airport, which works out to be 20% of the cost of a hotel in Palo Alto.

Unfortunately, unlike Singapore or Hong Kong where the airport hotel is attached to a terminal building so you can walk straight to it, everything in America seems to be a long way from everything else, which in turn entails a shuttle bus ride. And everyone else on the shuttle was either a man sitting with his legs as wide apart as possible (usually wearing implausibly tight trousers, because… no, I can’t make sense of it. If your groin contains some delicate thing that can’t bear the pressure of contact with your thighs, it is pretty inconsistent to shrink wrap it in near-transparent Spandex), or a woman singing along to the radio. And then deciding she liked the song so much that she’d play it on her phone and sing along some more.

And me, glowering. But sitting as demurely as I can.

After a rather long time, we got to the Westin, which has a very grand, though quite dimly lit, entrance and I went to check in.

I have done a fair amount of business travel in the last three years, so I know the drill – photo ID, swipe the credit card, then get the room key and go to the lift. I’m also used to the super cheerful staff at the Westin in Bangkok.

Sadly the Westin at SFO is not the Westin in Bangkok. I arrive, proffer my passport, and then have the lady on the desk ask for my photo ID. Which I am holding for her to take. Her general tone was a combination of boredom and irritation, and she gestured vaguely when I asked where the room was. But I suppose everyone has their bad days. Given how insanely cheerful Californians usually are, this did feel doubly down.

The Westin itself seems to be having a bad day. The carpet is very gloomy and the room itself is dark. The bed is nice (it’s a Westin) but I hadn’t realised that while the Westin in Bangkok has all the lighting controlled from a single panel by your bed, that’s not normal and instead I had to stagger around in the dark trying to find light switches.

Does that make me spoiled? Or is it rational to expect that you can find your bed, get comfortable and then turn all the lights off without having to get up again? I will muse on this tonight, then potentially wake at 4am,enlightened. Or just wake at 4am.

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