We were out on a mini-vacation this past weekend, doing a little exploring in western Colorado, visiting some old haunts. And had booked a room online. At the time it seemed slightly overpriced for Grand Junction – I mean, it’s not like we were trying to get a room in downtown Manhattan on New Year’s Eve. Still, I figured, maybe things are just getting more expensive. And, of course, the rooms all looked pretty similar on my laptop. But in person…
I don’t know what the Grand Vista hotel was in its previous life, but it’s obvious the place was recently given a new name and a new coat of paint (and little else) in an attempt to stay relevant. And about that name – maybe some of the guests were treated to a view of the spectacular red bluffs and canyons of Colorado National Monument across the way, but our grand vista was of the Marriott next door. The room was, well, tired. Not run down, necessarily, but a long way from shining like a new dime. A rickety luggage stand (only one), a closet door swinging free, a shower head that hit me at chest level and meant I had to get on my knees in the bathtub to wash my hair. There was this large, empty corner in the room, obviously where a small table and a couple of chairs had lived, a place to sit and eat at one time. But now, what? A tiny dance floor? A calisthenics area? The room came with a microwave and mini-fridge, promising the opportunity to keep and prepare some sort of edible, but offered nowhere to enjoy it.
On one trip in the elevator we were joined by an unidentified visitor – my first guess was that someone had dropped a couple of small pieces of breaded chicken as they were smuggling a meal back from the buffet (maybe they had a dining table), but when we considered the fact that the hotel was full of young kids running through the halls in swimsuits (there was a soccer tournament in town and a pool in the building), we decided not to inspect further and simply gave our companion a wide berth.
The internet connection appeared to be powered by a poorly-staffed hamster wheel. And the final indignation was the complimentary ‘coffee,’ though I hesitate to label the swill that dribbled into that thimble-sized carafe as such. Even the strictly-rationed additives were unable to rescue it – two packs of sugar and that packet of powdered ‘cream’ disappeared into the lukewarm contents of my brown paper cup without a trace. A quick stir, a tentative sip and, as it always does, the hotel coffee wound up tasting like…disappointment.