Jake and I got married in Las Vegas almost 17 years ago. We spent our first night as a naive married couple at Caesar’s Palace. Jake’s cousin worked there and had reserved us a fancy room complete with round bed and plush terrycloth robes we could take home with us. We felt like kings.
I chuckle now looking back at us. We were young, just 21 years old. And we really didn’t have a clue. We parked at the parking garage across the street from the hotel and carried our luggage (including my wedding dress) through the casino floor looking for our room. Fresh from the Temple of the Lord where we had just made covenants to each other for time and all eternity, we were now surrounded by the world. Smoke lingered in the air, people perched on stools in front of slot machines with a bucket of nickels in one hand and a drink in another. We felt awkward and out of place, but had no idea what else we could have done. We had no idea about valet parking.
We’ve learned a lot the last few years. We’ve traveled more than most and are fairly comfortable with the process.
Today we flew from Kodiak to Honolulu. We’re celebrating the last seventeen years with a trip, just Jake and I. Our children are safely tucked away at home. This trip is a big deal, we’ve been giddy about it for months. We splurged on first class tickets and we rented a jeep. Just call me Fancy Nancy. By the way, first class was worth every penny for the 6 hour flight. I felt like a queen and committed then and there on that flight to never fly coach again. Except for when Sam and I go to Sacramento next month. And when Josh and I fly to Washington D.C. And really… who am I kidding? A girl can dream can’t she?
During the planning stages, we debated back and forth as to where we should stay. We’re loyal Marriott enthusiasts. My sisters tease me, but Marriott has never steered us wrong. Except for the Courtyard in Sonoma, California. That was a disappointment. But we’d heard great things about the Hale Koa in Waikiki. A military hotel with beach access and reasonable rates, downtown within walking distance of first class shopping and dining. I made our reservations and that was that.
Until we arrived. Actually, the arrival was fine. No valet, but the bag staff held our bags while we parked and then brought them up to our room. When we walked into the room my heart sank. I swear my family stayed in a room just like it when we visited Hawaii in 1983. From the balcony (where I took the picture posted above) if we craned our neck all the way to the right we could see how they justified calling it a beach view. Shrugging our shoulders, we dropped our bags and went in search of sustenance.
We followed our nose toward the beach where we took off our shoes and played in the surf. We strolled hand in hand along the wet sand and reveled in each others company. Dinner at PF Changs was followed by browsing shops and more hand holding. Our minds and bodies tired from a full day of travel we headed back to the room. We unpacked our suitcases, brushed our teeth and got ready to climb into bed. Jake slid between the covers first. The look on his face said it all.
There should be a rule that says that the bed you sleep in on vacation should be cozier than the bed you sleep in at home. Our hotel bed felt like an army cot. The room was unappealing, wornout and dingy but the bed was the final straw. Jake said he felt like he was at the alert facility back home complete with sandpaper sheets and itchy comforter. This was not how we saw our week of pampering going.
Within moments I found us a reservation online for just $30 more per night… at a Marriott. It may have been midnight but we packed our bags and checked out. The hotel staff didn’t even blink. Customer service isn’t high on their radar I suppose. Although perhaps we just got an off room on an off night. I can’t say.
But I’m not 21 years old without a clue anymore. I’m typing from a king sized bed with luscious sheets and cozy pillows, in the lap of luxury. Now our vacation can begin.
*View from our balcony this morning… oh yeah, that’s the ocean behind those trees. Guess who is going swimming this morning?