Checkout Time at the Holiday Inn
I've always wondered what the rule for checking out of a hotel is. Do you have to be out of the room and standing in front of the checkout desk at the checkout time? Can you checkout on time, leave one person in the room, and then just chill out until the maids kick you out? Can you checkout 2 hours after checkout time if the maids haven't come, since you only authorized one night's stay? Is it ever really necessary to phone the front desk for a "late checkout"?
These are questions I will continue to make up my own answers to.
Except when Nate attempts to answer them for me:
I'll bet, with your sleep schedule, that you're the guy who causes the day manager to mutter to himself, "Should I charge him for another full day? He's still there? Have we done all the other rooms yet? How can this fuck sleep so long? That's it. I'm charging him for a full day—oh, Mr. Sullivan how was everything? Hope you got enough rest—cough, cough—loser!"
True story: I once paid $275 for a one-night stay in a super high-end boutique hotel in NYC. Yes, that's way too much to do again for at least the next 7 years, but the point is, this was normally a $500+ per night hotel (thanks TravelZoo.com!). Anyway, I showed up on a weekday afternoon in shorts, sandals and a t-shirt to the dismay of every employee inside, only to find out my room was not ready yet. You know what they do in places like this when there's any sort of inconvenience? They give you free martinis, a back massage, and a manicure in the Studio 54-looking lobby bar as "compensation." Clearly, I was out of my league.
After my 25-minute EXASPERATINGLY RELAXING delay, my personal bellhop informed me that my luggage was already waiting for me IN THE ROOM. Nevertheless, he followed me into the elevator. We made small talk as I wondered what the hell he could possibly help me with at that point.
When the elevator opened on my floor, I half-expected him to carry me down the hall into my room, or at least pull out a rickshaw from a utility closet. Neither happened. I might've felt exactly like Borat had the movie come out a year earlier.
He led me to my door and opened it for me. The room was in immaculate condition; minimalist and refined, but adorned with trendy-looking accessories which seemed to blend into the walls.
"Alright, this is awesome!" I said, with a finality to my tone, indicating I was safe to be left alone.
The bellhop paused, half admiring the room himself, half smirking at his nuisance.
"Over here you have your mini-fridge," he offered, carefully opening the door to reveal a dozen items I wouldn't dare touch. "And feel free to use the TV; the remote is over here and the Pay-Per-View movies can be accessed from channel 2."
I assumed by this he meant porn, as it was clear that, despite the lack of plastic-lettered road signage outside, HBO and Showtime were free. I always hated struggling to watch scrambled Real Sex, as it gave an ironically unrealistic color and contortion to sex.
The bellhop continued to point out obvious objects and functions in the room, and I continued to give more and more hasty, uninspired "OKs" and "get the fuck out of here already" looks.
By this time I was pretty sure he might actually sleep in the room with me, or at least offer to draw me a hot bath. For a moment I thought maybe he was just so bored downstairs that hanging out in the room explaining things was the only way he could entertain himself. Or worse, maybe he was gay...
Then, finally, he stopped abruptly and turned to me with a smug grin of servitude. "So that's everything. Is there anything I can get you?"
OH MY GOD HE'S GAY!!
"Nope, I think I got everything I need!"
No WAY he's giving me a blowjob! Not even if I close my eyes!
"Sir, is there anything I can help you with?" His eyes squinted a bit, somewhere between a wink and a cheating tell to your partner in Spades. His body language told me he wasn't going anywhere until we were both on the same page. Then he put his hands in his pockets and raised his chin with a "you know" look.
Jesus Christ, I thought. How was I supposed to know "boutique" meant "gay" or "m4m"? Clearly, this was a horrible decision. Worse yet, I had paid dearly for it.
I stood my ground, glancing twice back and forth around the room in confusion, confident I could find something obvious he needed to "help" me with that didn't involve my body.
Suddenly, it hit me. Tip your bellhop, dude!
"OH, right!" I said, blindly overjoyed at the desexualization of the situation. Then I pulled out my wallet, grabbed a bill, and yelled, "Here ya go!" with as much enthusiasm as possible.
The bellhop looked down at George's face, then back at mine--one green face, and one red face staring me down, both gathering steam. It was not Christmas in that room, and it was definitely no Holiday Inn.
* * *
Later that night, I got so drunk I passed out in the lobby dining room and had to be woken up by the concierge staff in an effort to uphold the reputation of the hotel.
I promptly went up to bed, passed out, and woke up at 2pm to a maid in my face.
Still in a drunken stupor, all I could think of was more sleep, so I immediately went downstairs to the desk and asked to extend my stay by a night, "even for $500."
I was declined.
And that, my dear readers, is the answer to that.