Once again I couldn’t get into my favourite hotel here. Dunno what is up at The Grand, but whatever it is, it’s very rude. My room at the Novotel this time is nicer than last time, but it is still essentially a box without a loft. *sigh*
Having said that, it’s clear from today’s link that either of these hotels have some stiff competition on the international stage.
Fine Dining in Mexico.
Balcony with Hammock and Parrot.
Inside the Tank.
Closer to Home.
I Laugh at your Tree House!
I now know my motivation for becoming Influential. It’s all starting to fit together into some grand scheme!
Travel is a Zen-like state now.
I realised as I was walking to the gate in Sydney today that I’ve got my routine so well practiced now that I’m not even thinking about travel anymore. I just listen to my podcast or read my book and go through the motions on auto-pilot.
Clearly I’ve arrived at station unconscious-competence.
Or maybe conscious-unconscious-competence? … How meta can I get?
I pack my bag so that I can easily get to my ticket and booking papers. I keep all my electronics within easy reach for the X-Ray scanner. I sit at the gate so that I can easily get close to the front of the check-in-line when they call the tickets.
On Virgin, I usually book towards the back of the plane. I saw a row with only the window-seat taken one row from the back. By taking the aisle seat I was almost certain to have a free spot next to me, unless the plane ends up fully booked. Tip: single travellers rarely pick a middle seat between two full spots if they have any other options left.
By getting to the front of the queue I have an excellent chance of getting my luggage right over my head. Which isn’t important for anything other than being the first person off the plane at the other end. Tip: this only works if you know the airline is likely to use the rear exit. Also… only if you don’t have checked luggage, otherwise you’ll be waiting at the carousel anyway.
Every step of my journey is a well-practiced juggling routine.
There is something terrifyingly beautiful about bushfire.
I’d seen it on TV and video before of course. But at the tail-end of this trip I was surprised by an in-person view of a grass fire creeping over the hills. As we were coming in for the landing it still looked very cloudy around the hills of northern Melbourne. It looked like fog, so I didn’t think anything else of it.
But then it became clear the fog was attached to tendrils that were attached to fire.
On the one hand I was sympathising with anyone down there near any of the fires. On the other hand I was wishing my flight was a few hours later, because the thin fire-caterpillars in the grass would have looked all the better for it. Fire is beautifully terrifying.
I’m looking forward to seeing how well my new laptop-bag/pack will work out when used in anger.
I took it to Wet’n’Wild today where it did an excellent job at concealing many food-items inconspicuously. It’s a little too bulky to sit nice and upright in the locker, but flat on its back works well. It isn’t as large as it looks; that might just be the eye-popping orange.
Tomorrow morning I’ll take it in to work with my laptop and some shower stuff.
But then tomorrow evening it’ll get a quick re-pack for its first trip to Melbourne. If this works well it means one less bag to lug around, because it’d replace the messenger bag for my laptop on these trips. Maybe I’ll be less in need of a massage on my return. But to be safe I’ll make another booking for Friday anyway. Although I’m afraid she might try to relax my ITB again, which… isn’t relaxing.
I’ve also spent a chunk of this evening preparing for another Melbourne trip. One for personal reasons. One for reasons of PAX. I’ve never been to a proper Con of this nature, and I cannot wait to see what it’s like. Although I do have a lingering fear that this will inevitably lead to holidays to the US in the future. It’s still 9 months away, but the hotels may need sorting out sooner rather than later; it’s right before Melbourne Cup Day, which has a high likelihood of disrupting everything around the city. Best to be gone before that storm hits.
Apparently the hotel is fully booked. I checked. I assumed it had something to do with the fact that they have been renovating, but apparently that is on halt over the holiday season as well. So that means all the rooms are actually full. With people. In all of them.
Some part of me wants to go down the hallway and check, but I think I’ll be polite and not disturb the other guests.
I was also told that part of the halt has something to do with the owners being unsure about the renovation. The original décor features lots of rich red carpeting and a certain Victorian sense of style. The renovation has been re-doing rooms in a modern collection of greys and browns, smaller tables, simpler kitchens. Apparently the owners prefer the more traditional look.
I’m not sure I agree either way; I think they should go even further and put different décor in every room. The rooms are already eclectically different in layout. Make it a feature. Make every room special and distinct. But that’s just me.
So today I find myself on level 6 at the top of the hotel with my donuts and Tonic. I have no internal balcony; I have an external one again. It’s a tall large room, but broken up with some separator walls. Last time I was on level 6 I had one big cave-like room which made the bed feel a lot less cozy than it could be.
I had enough light this morning to get some good shots of the room that I am in. Some culling was necessary because I had of course not considered all the various mirrors and reflective surfaces in the room, and I doubt anyone out there is waiting for needless shirtless-Jerry pictures.
I think I have mentioned before how this may not be the most modern hotel, but it has an unmistakably interesting atmosphere. It suits me perfectly.
Upon arrival it isn’t entirely clear what you could expect from the hotel. The fountain at the front, and the look of the building try to breathe luxury and atmosphere. The international flags over the entrance scream out tacky and cheesy.
Once inside it luckily leans more towards classy, but in a slightly different era. From the rich red carpets running everywhere, through the solid furniture to the lighting in the hallways could all come out of an Agatha Christie novel if you ask me. Even the occasional sound of screeching trams curving through their iron tracks adds to the illusion.
But then you enter the rooms. And they have clearly been re-purposed from an earlier high-ceilinged life into new hotel-room duties. From the entrance there is a single step down to where the breakfast nook and kitchen are.
But straight ahead there are also four steps up to an intermediate level where the work desk, the coffee table and some comfortable seats are.
And once ready for bed, I need to avail myself of a whole other set of stairs leading to the bedroom/bathroom loft.
Yes, my room has 2 sets of internal stairs.
And then once you fall onto that bed, tired from a hard day worked, you’ll find yourself wondering who decided on the scalloped corrugated iron ceiling pattern. There is a floor right above, and it cannot possibly serve an actual purpose. But it’s the oddest architectural highlight to add to a room.
Still, it all adds to an odd kind of charm.
And a room that is needlessly luxurious for a single traveller.