Yesterday I had a day of meetings and then traveled all evening to return home to chilly weather and a house that's no doubt inferior to the lowliest maintenance shed on the Ritz-Carlton property.
I always find it interesting to get a glimpse of the life that wealthier people enjoy. The hotel was everything you might expect: beautiful decor, outstanding customer service and superb cuisine (I was especially impressed by the sorts of desserts I've only ever seen on television, garnished with gold leaf and thin squares of highly-patterned gourmet chocolate). In the lobby there was a gingerbread house covered with huge lollipops, thick candy canes and every bright-colored accent candy you can think of. It was large enough for Santa Claus to sit inside, and the smell of gingerbread permeated the lobby and mezzanine of the hotel.
The service level was particularly noticeable. As we moved from meeting to meeting, there were always hotel employees stationed at key areas to give directions to the next room. Every night someone filled the ice bucket, turned down the bed and left two chocolates and an orchid blossom on the pillow. Unlike most of the hotels I'm used to, there were no signs in the rooms attempting to guilt the guests into saving water and energy by reusing their towels.
On the other hand, when my friend and I strolled the beach sipping pina coladas during our afternoon of free time, we discovered that guests had to pay to sit underneath a beach umbrella. As we were not dressed for the beach and only planned to stay until we finished our drinks, we chose chairs in the sun and left as soon as our pasty, Midwestern skin began to look pink.
Also on our free afternoon, I enjoyed a spa pedicure - one of the "bonus activities" available to meeting-goers. It was lovely, but I couldn't help but think that it's a credit to my nail salon at home that their $20 pedicure is not substantially different than the $85 pedicure at the Ritz.
I'm back today for a brief dose of my regular life before heading to Las Vegas tomorrow for our anniversary celebration. Today's our 10th and I know my husband reads this, so: Happy Anniversary, Honey!