We celebrated our 25th anniversary last weekend. (No, I was NOT a child bride. I really am that old.) We had to postpone it from October, but as Cirque de Soleil was in town, this was not a bad thing. J got tickets. Not tapis rouge, but ok seats. I wanted tapis rouge, naturally, but they would have cost another $500 or some such nonsense. You get to meet the troupe and wear this cool red card around your neck and sit down front and they do stuff to you. Tant pis.
Then the idea builds that as this is a replacement for a weekend in NYC, we should stay downtown for the night at a hotel and E will have her 'big sister' babysitter for the night. It's getting expensive, but you only have a 25th once, one hopes. There's a Grand Hyatt across the street from the show. But of course, it was sold out for that night by the time I got around to actually making the reservation, less than one week in advance. (Queen of procrastination, see previous post.) So I poke around on Travelocity and find another hotel, a French one, Sofitel, about 6 blocks away. I go to their website to compare pricing and book a room. I book a nicer one with a marble bath. We're splurging after all. And here's the kicker. They had a place for 'special requests or concerns' on the form. So I put in that it was our 25th wedding anniversary, a very special night.
It takes us extra time to get started on Saturday (see previous post). I needed to exercise and nag E and pack. These things take time. We get downtown shortly after dark and drive in circles of one-way streets trying to find the hotel. J is not a city driver, but he's driving as it's his car. I've left mine for the babysitter to use. We finally find the front door on the one-way street and get inside. Our room is not ready. They buy us a drink in the bar. It's very nice, they are very nice.
Ten minutes later, the desk clerk in charge comes into the bar. Sorry for the delay, she says. Our system has been down all day. But I'm pleased to tell you that as it's a special occasion, I spoke to my manager and we have upgraded you to The Presidential Suite. Oh my. The list price on that suite is $6,000 a night on the back of the door, but I'm sure you can get it for half that on Travelocity.
Dazed and confused, we take the elevator up to the suite floor. We go in our door and promptly get lost for several minutes trying to find the bedroom. There is an office, there is a fireplace, there are two sitting rooms, there is a dining room. There is a hidden door. There are 2 TVs. There are 2 bathrooms. One is a half bath for visitors. The other has a marble bath and a fancy shower stall. And the bedroom is a European featherbed in a king with a daybed in the room. All appointed in rich reds and blacks and beige. And the coolest part is the shelves of the furniture are filled with books. There are books on the coffee tables. Most are travel books on France, but still. Books. In a high-end suite. This is a marvel.
We have been warned not to touch the mini-bar or we will be charged for whatever we touch. I am tempted to find out what a Presidential Suite bag of M&M Peanuts or a Snickers will run me. I refrain. The alcohol is full bottles of cognac, whiskey, vodka, etc., no tiny bottles here. Again, we refrain. (I know, we're no fun at all.)
We look at each other and at the same time try to decide if it's worth going to Cirque de Soleil after all. We would much rather stay in the suite and play. I've never been in a hotel room that I would rather stay in. Hotel rooms are generally just places to crash. Our yankee sensibilities finally kicked in and we went to the show. It was a nice walk. We left at intermission. In the grand scheme of things, we had done justice to Cirque (no tapis rouge tickets, remember?) and we just wanted to order room service and light the candles surrounding the marble tub.
And we didn't check out until 11 am. Late enough to enjoy the morning, but not pushing the deadline of noon TOO hard. But what went on in that suite stays in that suite. We just wished we had packed a digital camera!
I was glad the same desk clerk was on duty when we left so I was able to shake her hand and thank her personally. I will also write a letter to the hotel on her behalf. It was the most amazing, decadent, once-in-a-lifetime experience.
It almost beats wearing a red card around my neck and sitting down front...oh well. Cirque will be back in 3 years. A night in The Presidential Suite will probably never happen again.