Drag Strip Courage
I was a shameless child with drag strip courage and an imagination that would often mistake clouds for mountains. I liked to move. My parents tell a story too often about them leaving me in the crib for a nap and when they came back to wake me up the crib was on the other side of the room due to my shaking and dancing about. Because of all this motion I tended to wear through clothing fast. A new pair of shoes would last about a month and jeans would have scrapped knees in about a week.
As I grew, so did my thighs, and all the motion caused havoc on the crotches of my pants. I understood the comedy of it early-on and have grown used to the issue. Some people have bad gums, I have thighs that eat my pants. And it is compounded in warm climates. So when recently I had to spend 10 days consulting for Thai Tourism on their luxury travel products in country, I found quickly that most of my pants would not last longer than a single wear. These were older pants grant you, but I was running out of pants fast, and in a land where the average body frame is a bit smaller, it was hard to find a good pair of slacks that would fit. (36″ waist by the way, a bit tight, but 36 for sure).
As a big fan of making lemonade with lemons I realized this was a perfect litmus test for luxury hotels and how they could help me with my particular situation. So off I went to every hotel I was staying in on this trip, to the front concierge desks of the top world-class hotels of Thailand, asking for advice on what I could do with crumbling garments in short time frames. “Here are my crotchless pants, help, I have cocktails and dinner with the General Manager at 7, what am I to do?”
I felt like a character in Downton Abbey or Poirot. Each hotel responded differently, in ways which often matched my expectation based on the broader criteria by which I had been evaluating them.
I will spare you a rundown of each hotel, and will just say that the two hotels who responded the best (and in similar fashion) exemplify what makes great service such a wonderful experience. They both were hotels that are known for design and which photo beautifully, but it’s the ethos and philosophy behind the instagram shots that really matters. To be able to have that philosophy or idea permeate through an entire staff, from concierge, to housekeeping, to waiter, the idea needs to be universal and true.
Usually it just boils down to the simple but effective yet difficult to instil: “Be nice to people.” That’s it, it really is that simple. If a hotel treats people like people then all is rockin’. I came to the staff of these hotels with an embarrassing problem, and they took me in and treated me like family, I was no longer embarrassed and they helped me figure out what to do to fix the problem. I made it to cocktail hour on time, relaxed, happy, and not wearing crotchless pants.
Tyler’s quite unique take on the travel industry involves being at once the Voice of Reason and the Voice of Unreason, which gives him a singular perspective from which to survey the landscape. For more of his unusual poetry, ping him directly here.