You don’t know me from a hole in the wall, so you have no way of knowing it’s been a surprisingly stressful few months, starting in October. I promise not to bore you with the details, but I DO want to talk about my fantasy-stress reliever. Room Service.
YES, you heard me right. This is not to say I’ve done anything more than fantasize about this idea. But WHY am I thinking about it?
I don’t know. Since I was a child I loved going to hotels. They weren’t just hotels to me, either. They were HOTELS. There is something about leaving everything behind, going to a place with a cool-looking lobby and a king-sized pool (and bed) that seems guaranteed to take you, like Calgon is supposed to, away.
Then there are those old movies my friend Eloise introduced me to when we were in college. Movies starring Fred Astaire and Sinatra and Audrey Hepburn or Lauren Bacall where couples order room service at hotels and wind up never eating a bite.
It’s not that what’s on the trays in their rooms aren’t good; they don’t eat because they’re too sophisticated. They bicker and dance and fall in love or out of love instead. But they order room service anyway, just to be extra cool.
I love the idea of someone rolling in a cart with a silver decanter of coffee and rolls with real butter and bite-sized scones. I love the idea of pouring coffee and later in the day, champagne. I love the idea of being with someone I love and being utterly, completely lazy and having no one know where I am except ROOM SERVICE.
Maybe you dial up some old movies or maybe you just have a romantic evening and leave the room service in the corner. It’s mostly symbolic, anyway, right? Those impossibly tiny coffee cups and snowy white napkins are made for movies, not the real-life morning-joe routines most of us possess.
I also decided you can’t just have a fuzzy role and slippers in hotels. You need long silk dressing gowns or smoking jackets. You also need a pool and Jacuzzi, which isn’t exactly an old-movies thing, but I need it, anyway. And a really big bathroom and all the other stuff you have to pay buckets for in hotels that you never get in real life.
I also grew up knowing vaguely there was a Marx Brothers film made in 1938 called Room Service, and inexplicably, I’ve never seen it. I think it’s my natural resistance to anyone poking fun at my fantasy (and that’s of course what the Marx Bros do best).
I guess this fantasy has gone far enough for one day. I’m sharing this post with my husband, who agrees that if we feel really stressed out (or just one of us does) on a February evening, he’ll take me to a cool hotel around here. Even if it’s just to hang out in the lobby watching other people go in and out and pretending we’re them and we too can order room service.
I’m going to hold him to that.
And if you happen to have seen that Marx Brothers film—can you at least let me know if you liked it?
Hotel Photos (The Berkeley Club): Peter Budd