Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Marriott Blues

4:30am on Saturday morning, two girls and a guy come back from the clubs. They have drinks in hand and two mostly full bottles of vodka. Here are some tidbits from our conversation.

"Hello. We've been drinking." ~ O rly?

"One time I passed out in the lobby at the Marriott and they threw a blanket over me. Would you throw a blanket over me if I passed out in your lobby?" ~ That or a bucket of water.

"We're going to go drink more in our room." ~ Great.

"Hey, would you call my room first if you are going to call the cops about the noise? The Marriott didn't call me before they called the police." ~ Those unscrupulous curs!

"Don't worry. I have a key to the minibar." ~ Double great.

"You guys are nice. You are a nice hotel. That's good because I can't go to the Marriott any more...." ~ Actually, you are starting to grow on me now. You get a blanket.

"Ok sweetie, we're going to go back to drinking now. Have a goodnight and don't call the cops without telling us." ~ Goodnight! Please pass out soon!

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Pale DeskClerk

I have finally got around to see Christopher Nolan's next Batman flick entitled That Joker Be Crazy! I waited so long cause these shifts are hard on movie goers, plus I knew I was going to love it anyway, so what was the hurry. Anyway, it was awesome. Batman is always cool, but he was only a secondary character to the Joker, Harvey Dent, and the city of Chicago itself. Plus his Batman voice is really annoying.

They filmed tons of the movie within blocks of the hotel. It is clear that eighty percent of Gotham City is on the river. I didn't get to see the filming of too many scenes, which is sad because all of the best car explodey scenes had to have been filmed so very close. There is a scene from Bruce Wayne's loft where if you look to the bottom left of the screen and squint toward street level, I am near positive you can make out another hero of the night being berated by a random bar slut for not letting her use the private bathrooms.

Daywalker Jamie captures the Gotham flag during filming.

This time around, I only saw a couple GPD cars and having them film for six hours a scene where a cop walks into a building (screen time: 1.3 seconds). For Batman Begins, I was tortured at my old job trying to check people in while the friggin' Batmobile was revving up to race down the wrong way of Jackson Blvd. Totally, not fair. My only other encounter with the filming last year was when one of my guests tried to describe to me in detail all the naughty things she planned to do to the stars at the cast party. I later found out that she was the one who came back looking for the cute night guy in glasses. So in no particular order of studliness; Christian Bale, Gary Oldman, and me. Sounds right.

So no surprise, the movie is awesome. I am excited to see at again, this time at IMAX. Though, I am a little concerned about the next one. I am afraid they might be hard pressed for a worthy villain. If you see Mr. Nolan, you may want to suggest another creature of the night who prowls the dark streets of Gotham/Chicago.

Who was that man in purple? Stay tuned for The Night Auditor: Year One.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Secret Pleasures

Some of my favorite guest interactions happen at 5am. This when the morning people are checking out to go to work and the night crowd starts stumbling in after closing a 4am bar. The risers come down groggy and quiet while the drunks are banging on the window because they can't figure out how to put their key in the night door. After I buzz them in, they stumble over and loudly slur at the morning crowd to watch out for the crackhead outside. I then get to assure them that they are just our usual homeless crowd and they are harmless. The only thing that the early bird is worried about is their highly inebriated Samaritan. It's kind of fun to try to do a peaceful check out while a drunk yells the word crackhead fifteen times in a row. The morning person will start to grow uncomfortable and try to timidly assure the boozer that they will be careful and quietly say something to me like, "to be young again..."

Nothing to worry about day walker. They are the same age as you.


We have a pretty diverse range of guests who stay here, but sometimes certain groups stick out. Like tonight, for example. There were several groups of women who were separate from each other, but something made me think they had something in common. I wasn't really thinking about it when I suddenly remember someone saying that someone was playing a concert at the Chicago Theater tonight. Hmmm, who was that again? Oh, Melissa Etheridge! That explains everything.

Another group we have in house is about twenty Chinese gamblers. The Horseshoe Casino in Indiana has put them up for a couple nights, I assume as comp rooms in appreciation of handing over mass amounts of unwanted cash to the card tables. The casino is also paying for $250 per night of restaurant and room service charges for four of the rooms. Those rooms must house the worst of the gamblers.

At first sight, I figured what to expect. Casinos are open all night if not super late, so I figured they would be bouncing around the hotel all night as well. Also, they are coming in from Indiana, never a good sign. And there was a most excellent communication barrier. It can be frustrating for both ends of the conversation, but it's kind of fun too. Like figuring out a crossword puzzle that is in two different languages. At my old job, I took secret pleasure in having my Antiguan coworker who had a very thick island dialect call in to order Thai food. They both always ended up getting very frustrated with each other as the conversation grew louder and louder. Oh, the silent belly laughs I had... But I digress.

We have a very limited room service menu, so on a busy night we might send up maybe five or six sandwiches or salads, each with one pop or water. The fun began when the four rooms with the comped food started ordering room service at 2am. We don't serve booze that late (phew!) so it was all in bottled water, Diet Cokes, cranberry juice, and other nonalcoholic beverages. Fortunately, the restaurant manager was still there and helped us find more goods. I don't think anything ordered was actual food food at all. It was great fun for me to see the look of panic in my night porters eyes, who also has a heavy accent, as he was trying to figure out how he could supply one room with sixteen diet cokes, twenty four bottled waters, and a pack of "oral mints". To those four rooms, I think we sent up fifty bottles of water, thirty Diet Cokes, and I really wish he kept those receipts so I could have copied them. Anyway, this ended up costing over $800. And with gratuity, I think that puts about $150 in tips in my porter's pocket (sorry folks, nothing for our poor hero here).

You may have to trust me that this is all pretty damn funny. Even though things can be pretty unpredictable working late night in a hotel, it's kind of awesome when things like this throw you for a complete loop. Just hope they know not to clean out the mini bar. That's not included in their freebies...

Friday, August 1, 2008


Great news for music fans, bad news for Loop hotel employees; Lollapaloolza is back in town! Oh brother. It's cool that Chicago has these sort of things, but they can be a pain in the ass. Taste of Chicago, Looptopia, and now this. Just means more drunks buzzing my doorbell all night. But maybe some more blog entries!

Thursday night was the eve of the three day music fest and given me a glimpse of the check ins that are to come. The hipsters are all back after finding cheap rates on Orbitz, but I can't really complain about them too much. They are for the most part really nice since they are not used to staying in a nice hotel and probably feel intimidated into being calm. I guess hipsters aren't supposed to get worked up very easily anyway. They just go outside every five minutes for smoke breaks and pile on top of eight friends when it is time to squeeze back into their room.

I had one odd conversation with a guest. It was one of those hip dads with breads and ponytails who knows and likes all the same bands as their seventeen year old daughters. One dad came up to me and asked where they could go watch the fireflies.

"Is that a band?" I am not as hip as some dads.

"Nope. The light up bugs."

"Oh. Not too many of those in the metropolitan area. Maybe in the suburbs. We got pigeons?"