I'm an extreme creature of habit, part of the reason for my current Shake Things Up in '08 Tour. so when I decided to take a side trip to Portland, I pretty much resigned myself to staying where The BF and I stayed last year, the ultra-groovy Jupiter Hotel, with its Hipster Seal of Approvalâ„¢.
I say "resigned" because as a certified Cranky Old Lady, I had a few problems with the Jupiter the first time we stayed there. Like the room that was so small, I could touch the door and the window/wall from the bed by pointing my toes and stretching. Like the party vibe, college dorm fraternizing vibe and noise levels. To be fair, they warn that it's a "high energy" hotel, but until you have to be peeled off the ceiling at 3am by your boyfriend because a drunk, albeit friendly hipster with a 12-pack of PBRs who doesn't realize that the party is not, in fact, in your room or that his very loud knock mere millimeters from your head sounded like a home invasion, you have no idea. Really.
Still, in true Adult Child of an Alcoholic fashion, the devil you know is better than the devil you don't. Plus, I was going to be having dinner with my former shrink/astrologer at the awesome Le Pigeon (foie gras profiteroles! lamb heart flatbread!), right across the street. Plus, I knew how to get there from the freeway. Er, sort of.
So I logged onto their website and booked me an expensive, fancy motel room. And then, stung a bit by sticker shock (it was definitely cheaper when we booked last year, by a lot), I made the fatal mistake of searching for better rates on a few travel sites, and discovered one for NINE DOLLARS LESS!
I do not take these things lying down anymore, so I immediately dashed off a sweet plea to Whom It May Concern at Jupiter:
I just booked through your site and then saw on Kayak.com that I could have saved a whopping NINE BUCKS on the room. Which ain't the end of the world and you're nice and all, but really, these are hard times and nine bucks is nine bucks.
So do you think you could just throw in parking for that one night, and we'll call it even? (Happy to give you the extra buck.) Seems much easier than cancelling the reso and rebooking.
P.S. Stayed here last year, if that gets me anything. Probably not, but what the hell.
Imagine my surprise when, just a few minutes later, I received this lovely, accommodating email from on Al Munguia, the Actual General Manager of the Joint!
you got it.. free parking.. and i'll throw in a bottle of voss water as well.
Figuring I might as well go for the Full Monty and leverage my incredible popularity as a Blogger of Creative Nonfiction, I fired off one more email:
Upgrade this old bag to a room that the drunk hipsters will steer clear of and there's a sweet blog post in it for you. (We had an, um, interesting 3am visitor last time. It was like getting the EMT paddles, boy howdy.)
Unfortunately, I did not hear back from my pal, Al, so I started girding my loins for the inevitable 3am visit from one of my Higher Energy fellow hotel guests, figuring that was that.
How delighted was I, then, upon my arrival to find that not only had my parking been comped, but that I'd been upgraded to a bigger room! This one had a desk, a closet area and a sleeping area all in different quadrants, and there was an actual walk from the bed to the door. SCORE!
I'd never had an issue with the taste level of the place or the niceness level of the employees. They are all super-great, and the place is about ninety times cooler than any home of mine will ever be. They have groovy amenities like free apples and coffee, if you are old and cranky, and the ultra-fab Doug Fir Lounge, host to many hipster musical acts, if you are not. The beds are extra-comfy with good mattresses and nice bedding: I slept like a log in my Bed that Was A Walk From the Door, although I took the preventive measure of (free) earplugs this time, too; you can see them, here, in the desk drawer, alongside the in-room copy of The Four Agreements, which I call the world's most genius hipster replacement for the Gideon bible.
For all I like to knock the noise, the Jupiter puts the same level of care and attention to detail into your experience as the Four Seasons does, albeit with funkier style and at a (much) lower price point. Eco-cool toiletries, great copy on everything from the website to the guest feedback card, Muppet-skin slipcover on the bolster.
So it's kind of baffling when they hand you your impeccably designed Windshield Parking Pass that they don't explain the tiny garage will most likely be full, and that you can park in an overflow lot across the street from it. (The nice girl explained that part to me when I checked out.) Or that, since there were no spots, you tell them, and you parked on the street, they offered to take the parking charge off your bill which had been comped when you checked in. (Huh?)
Or, for that matter, the lack of a TV remote. Looked up and down for that sucker; maybe hipsters like their TV old skool.
But I quibble. If you're 30 or under and aren't from the Bible Belt (on purpose, anyway), you'll probably love it. A young 30 to 40? Ditto.
40+? Well, The BF loved it. He is a young almost-46. I was an old 26, so I'm probably not the best judge.
I am, despite all signs that I might not be, a fan. Al, I'll be back.
Although next time, I really, really want one of those parking spaces...