IMG_2417A cool, clean place where there are no chores and everything is provided. A daydream? Fairytale? No, a hotel! Whether it’s a weekend getaway, or a business trip, a hotel is a refuge. Of course they range in levels of pampering. At the high end you have a selection of dining rooms, room service, a spa and valets who will whisk your dirty clothes or shoes away and bring them back gleaming. There’s surely a fluffy robe in the closet and fully stocked mini-bar. At the low end are places that advertise TV and air conditioning as if they were recent inventions. Not a place you seek out, but one you might settle for when you need a driving break.

Most of the time we’ve chosen something in the “medium” range. Not too expensive, but clean and bright with a few amenities. Free breakfast included, a place to exercise, coffee in the room, a fancy shower head, pretty toiletry bottles, a neat folded stack of towels, and a big bed with lots of pillows. Paradise. Certainly more relaxing if enjoyed without kids, but even then, it can be fun to enjoy it from their point of view.

The first time we stayed with our kids in a big city hotel, their favorite feature was the elevator. It was a novelty, and it had all those cool buttons that would light up. Every trip was a race to see who could jump in first and push the button, and, perhaps whether all of the buttons could be pushed. No one wanted to get into the elevator with us. When we finally got them out of the elevator, the pool was a big hit, especially if it was indoors and available at night. Getting to swim between dinner and bedtime was a treat, alternating between the regular pool and the hot tub, and not having to put on sun screen.

There are lots of things to enjoy in our hotel. The popcorn cart in the lobby, wafting that movie-house smell, the small fitness center where the TV gets the Food Network, and the breakfast buffet. Yes, I’m aware of this food theme, but I’m on vacation. As I tucked into fluffy scrambled eggs and biscuits this morning, I heard a series of beeps in the corner of the dining room. Other guests were lined up to make their own waffles and the beeps were the timers announcing the waffles were done. These weren’t regular waffles – they were shaped like the great state of Texas. I immediately got in line to make my own.

We had a waffle iron once and while it worked well, it was a difficult to clean, so eventually we gave it up. But the chance to use a waffle iron that someone else has to keep clean? Oh, I’m in. Texas forever!


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