Gaylord National Resort Update

I woke up this morning thinking that the bed was comfortable, and maybe I’d been too harsh in my opinion. Then I walked to the bathroom.

Gaylord National Resort charges a mandatory $15/day “Resort Fee” on top of the outrageous rate. The fee gives access to the gym and two ‘free’ bottles of water. Apparently I’m supposed to use the $7.50/bottle Dasani to brush my teeth, because there are no water glasses in the room. (Courtyard had 4, plus two coffee mugs.) I eventually found two paper cups with the coffee maker. (Again, the not-so fancy hotel gave us real, ceramic coffee mugs.) I suppose I did get to spit in a nice marble sink, but that doesn’t offset the annoyance of searching for a cup with a mouthful of toothpaste.

My friends know I’m not usually so critical. Perhaps it’s the bad first impression from the valet; perhaps I’m just grumpy this week. I just know I really don’t like the Gaylord National Resort, and I want the whole world to know.

East Hill Mafia / Gaylord National “Resort”

DSCN0077We arrived at the hotel in DC today for the Council on Foundations conference. Taylor and Johnny showed up in matching suits looking like our own enforcers. You know those charity guys, sometimes it takes a little muscle to keep them in line. 🙂

I’ve been to these before, and there is always a lot of good stuff to see and do. I intend to get the most out of them all, however this one is off to a poor start. (The CoF will be hearing from me.) We don’t want to be seen as a bunch of rich folks giving away money to assuage some sort of guilt (we aren’t), yet the Council scheduled this year’s conference at the Gaylord National Resort and Conference Center in DC. Ostentatious waste of money. This place is twice as expensive as any other hotel around, and so far the service is pitiful.

It’s a beautiful hotel, located right on the harbor with a huge atrium facing toward Washington. Yet the room is smaller than the one we had at Courtyard by Marriott last night, and it has less useful furniture. (Fancier, pretty, but not useful. ) We have two beds and a desk chair. No other sitting surfaces, and no floor lamp for my wife to read in bed. All for twice as much money. Did I mention they want $32 for the buffet dinner? And there is nowhere else around here to eat?

Then there’s the service. The valet copped an attitude when I asked to park my own car. I had to practically argue with him to allow me to unload my bags at the front door without handing over my keys. (Keys to the rental which no one else is allowed to drive.)

The piece de resistance: we called at 7:00PM to order some extra pillows for Beth. They make her more comfortable and keep her from rolling out of bed. It’s now 9:30, I’ve made 4 more phone calls, and STILL NO PILLOWS.

Gaylord National Resort: we’re fancy because we say we are. That’s all. One star from me, tops. If you come to the National Harbor area, save your money and stay at the Hampton Inn across the street.

Now I need to go activate my AdSense account. Maybe I can get them to pay me for my opinion.

Update: The pillows finally arrived at 9:35. They were personally brought by the Customer Service representative because even she couldn’t get the bell staff to do it. Thank you, Gaddiel, and boo to the rest of the staff. My opinion still stands.

Steam season is back!

We had the first Monday Night Steamup of the season today at Larry Mosher’s. Larry pointed out that the days are as long now as they will be in August, and the weather finally got nice enough to run.

http://picasaweb.google.com/s/c/bin/slideshow.swf

Larry ran his K28 with a good string of stock, Jessie brought Ruby and tried out some loaded ore cars for ballast, and I had a great run with Ericka’s Accucraft S-12. #1249 pulled a short string of PFE refers and proved she could run well at both slow and express speeds.

Larry’s just finished re-doing the layout for better steam operation. It’s now all one level, with large steaming bays. The landscaping allows the trains to duck in and out of sight as they run. The relatively cool weather this evening made for some nice plumes.

19 years. . .

As I was searching for a topic to start this blog, it occurred to me that last month marked 19 years on the fire department for me. In that time I’ve seen 3 chiefs, and only 2 full-time firefighters. I’ve seen 3 engines come, and 3 go. I’m on my third ladder truck.

I’ve saved a few lives, and I’ve lost (or at least been too late to save) a few others. I’ve seen one big mill fire a few years ago; one to tell the grandkids about. I’ve won commendations, and I’ve seen lots of people come and go.

I’ve seen my small suburban volunteer FD evolve from 100 runs per year to a combination department doing over 600. EMS has taken over half of what we do. We now have the technology to do things we only saw on TV years ago.

No idea where this is going, but sometimes it’s interesting to look back