It was when the hotel was a “salesmen’s hotel” and there was free parking in the lot which is now used for valet, it was when the waitresses from across the lobby would solicit the men in the dark, kidney shaped lounge for more than just drinks and tips. When smoking in hats was second nature and deals were wheeled as hands were shook and glasses clinked.
All that was long before the hotel was sold to an umbrella corporation under another umbrella with more names than one could remember. Before that it was a no-frills, no nonsense hotel where if you were privy to the town, you’d know it was the best deal around.
When it was bought by corporate execs much of the old staff was shooed away to make room for newer and younger faces, the paint was ornately renovated along with the rooms and lobby. It became a boutique, a quaint theme attached to it’s quiet legacy and the hotel was transformed into a beautiful little place frozen in time. The bar was untouched by the overhaul and still flourishes with curious travelers and elegant locals but the restaurant across the lobby lies vast and eerily vacant. It’s 20 foot ceilings and sprawling dining room with Romanesque columns and gold flake moldings where everything is set for a crowd sits weirdly motionless and genrerally ignored.
It’s not uncommon to have the hotel management remind its waitstaff to smile and stand up straight when barely 4 people come into its restaurant on any given night. But as you learn to understand how hotels work, you realize what makes the money gets the attention and what doesn’t make money is merely decoration.
And if you’ve ever seen my face, an ornament, I am not.