Thursday, February 25, 2010

Hicks at the Hilton

Paul found rooms for us at the Hilton DeSoto in the historical district. A 25th anniversary calls for rooms at the Hilton, I think, although Paul got them via Priceline so it wasn't that much of a splurge.

It is very interesting, staying at the Hilton. The main lobby is huge, all columns and swooping furniture and enormous crystal chandeliers and gracious concierges. Our room on the sixth floor is nice, elegant but not opulent.

The best part of the hotel is the location, as we can walk almost anywhere we want to go.

But we're concluding that on a normal basis a fancy hotel actually doesn't work as well for us as a mid-range chain motel. For instance--breakfast. A lot of Super-8 type places will serve a free breakfast including waffles, fruit, muffins, whatever, with free coffee any time. Thankfully there's a coffeepot with little packets of coffee in our room, but the coffee in the lobby is all Starbucks, and the breakfast buffet starts at $11.95.

We decided to find a grocery store and buy breakfast and lunch food, so out toward Tybee Island we found a Publix and bought fruit, cheese, and so on. Then we had the dilemma of walking through the Hilton lobby and up the elevator with both rattly grocery bags and dignity, and it was obviously going to be one or the other.

So I took off my coat and draped it over my arm and the bags, and Paul did something similar, and everyone was happy.

We arrived at 2:00 in the morning on Monday and were sound asleep at 10:30 when there was a loud knock at the door and a sharp announcement--"Housekeeping!" I staggered to the door and opened it and squinted at the maid standing there. "Do you need anything?" she asked. No we didn't, we had barely arrived. Ok, fine, and she left. Then I wondered, what exactly does Housekeeping do? Come in and make the bed while you're brushing your teeth? Since then I've learned that "Housekeeping" replaces any towels and cups you want replaced, but not much else.

If you live in the country you always forget that in cities you have to pay for parking, and Paul was appalled to find out that that convenient parking in the parking garage cost $13 a day. So he has this elaborate system worked out where every night he parks close by, since you don't have to feed the meters from 5 pm to 8 am, and then a few minutes before 8 each morning he rushes out and moves the car a few blocks away where he can park for free. Rushing out at 7:50 isn't exactly what makes for a relaxing vacation activity, but it beats paying for parking. When he drops me off and goes to re-park the car, the young valets always come running. No no, thanks anyway, we won't need your services. Smile. Especially since valet parking is a shocking $17 a day.

Then there's laundry. There are no facilities on site, and all they offer is send-out dry cleaning. If you've been gone from home a little too long and need to wash socks, it's either do a load in the bathtub or drive out of the historical district a long way and find a laundromat.

Which is what we did. But first we had the dignity dilemma again. I had a full laundry bag the size of a pillowcase that I needed to transport out and in. "Put it in a suitcase," said Paul, so I did. And we looked like two ordinary tourists rolling our suitcase through the lobby.

So yes, sometimes I feel like a hick at the Hilton, and sometimes I feel like Eloise, zipping up and down the elevator and marching past the concierge like I'm right at home. This experience is kind of like mocha cheesecake, where a small amount once in a while is just perfect, but too much too often would not be a good idea.

And I really really hope we got the room cheaply enough that we're not making Paris Hilton any richer by staying here.

Quote of the Day:
"We at the Hilton Savannah DeSoto are committed to serving you in every way possible. We think you will agree that our extensive services and facilities, coupled with a friendly dedicated staff, will truly make you feel at home."
--the welcome letter in the Hilton brochure


  1. "And I really really hope we got the room cheaply enough that we're not making Paris Hilton any richer by staying here."

    LOL this made me laugh out loud!

  2. I can sure identify with your mixed emotions. When my husband and I travel on our dime we stay in moderately priced motels where we are not expected to pay others to park our car, or carry our bags, and a empty refrigerator awaits our grocery store purchases. The first time I traveled with him to a hotel arranged by his employer I was very surprised to find the refrigerator completely filled with liquor and expensive snacks. Occasional luxury seems like a nice idea, but I always feel like a fish out of water.

  3. Your post convinced me that I will always be a Motel 6 / Super 8 gal! :-)

  4. This whole post made me laugh because it sounds so much like us. :)

  5. Oh, my! Your title almost had me gulping! (Your attitude toward southerners... I consider you to be fairly open-minded and generous, you know.) Then I realized who you considered the hicks to be! :) Loved your post! -PC in VA

  6. lol this rings so true to my own personal experience in expensive hotels. Sometimes it feels like the more you pay the less you get.