The holidays have become so controversial. Have you noticed? There’s a war on Christmas and it seems that each of us has got to choose a side. Yuck! I don’t know about you all, but it makes me miss my childhood. Everything seemed so simple then. The holidays were a time for extended family, special food, special clothes and twinkly lights all over the place, plus a hint of the possibility of magic. Maybe it was called Hanukkah in your house, or Kwanzaa, or Festivus. It doesn’t matter what name you use, we’re all celebrating the winter solstice, and we all stole it from the pagans. Now, though, the whole season has been politicized and commercialized and it’s hard to know if it’s our duty as Americans to spend lots of money in the next weeks and give businesses the holiday revenues they so desperately need, or if we should rise above capitalist pressures and act as if nothing special at all were happening at this time of year.
Well, we here at this hotel want only to be in love with the holidays. We come from so many different cultural, religious and economic places, and for each of us this is a special time of year, even if we’ll choose to express it in different ways. You, our guests, only complicate the variety. And it’s so great! We’re so grateful to live in a time and a place where we can be surrounded by such a diversity of experience. To be working in a hotel that receives guests from around the world, in the Bay Area, in the 21st century, gives all of us a special privilege. We are all wealthier and stronger for the ways that we meet each other here and, on the occasion of this holiday season, we would like to take a moment to acknowledge it. We’ve said it before and here it is again: This hotel is a community and we are so pleased that you are a part of it. Happy Holidays!
Filling out comment cards can, at least to me, feel like voting. It’s good to express my opinion, but what power, really, do I have to influence the world around me? Well this month, as proof that the people do have the power, I’m introducing you to our brand new linen re-use program. Some of you are wondering what that has to do with democracy, I know, but lots and lots of you are reading this and understanding that we read your comments and changed our hotel at your suggestion.
It’s the right thing to do, of course. A daily washing of every sheet and towel that makes even the briefest of human contact is as wasteful as you all told us it was. Almost none of you are doing this much laundry at home and we are all going to be intrinsically better people for our participation in this new program. Plus it’s going to save us money, which is itself kind of amazing. So often the pressure to “go green” involves adding to one’s cost of living, making it seem more like fashion for the privileged than a genuine bid to save the world. But I digress, as they say. The point is that, in spite of all the evidence of it being the obvious thing to do, this humble little hotel wasn’t making that change until you told us to. Inertia, habit, laziness and preoccupation with the failing economy are not even all the reasons why not. We just hadn’t gotten there yet. So, thank you! And please come back soon to enjoy this hotel that is now slightly better and slightly more your own.
This morning I head on the radio that studies have shown that a certain percentage of women are overweight because they spend so much time and money getting their hair styled and then they don’t want to mess it up by working out. I wonder how much university funding went into the surgeon general officially saying what I’ve known since the day my mom explained to me that she doesn’t work out because sweating is “gross”.
Similarly, in the last year science has discovered that it’s bad for your long-term health to get hit in the head repeatedly. A career in professional football, it turns out, might be hazardous and those who have played might suffer consequences in later life. Maybe I’m wrong, but I thought we all pretty much instinctively understood that getting hit in the head is not good. I would go, even, a step further and say that what we like about watching professional athletes is their willingness to use their bodies in ways that we are, well, unwilling to because it’s too dangerous. And now we’re supposed to act surprised and horrified to learn that these men leave football broken? Not that it isn’t sad and not that these men don’t deserve care and recognition, but did that really, truly need to be studied?
In any case, football season has arrived. For those of you who haven’t turned away since you learned that it’s violent, we’ll be, as always, serving all your favorite stadium food, hamburgers and hotdogs that is, every Monday night until 8, all season long. Complimentary, of course, cuz that’s how we roll.
This month we are using this space to remind you that there are things you can rent a room in a hotel for besides sleeping. Maybe, from time to time, you have other needs. Perhaps you’ve wondered whether or not we could accommodate those desires. Well, the answer is that we have rooms that offer a wide range of possibilities, and have no problem helping you to host even a pretty large group. We are very experienced and quite flexible. That’s right, I’m talking about the meeting rooms!
We have large meeting rooms and small meeting rooms. We can set your meeting up classroom style, with whiteboards and rulers for rapping knuckles. Or we can open the room up and run a buffet along the wall. Speaking of the buffet, we have a nice range of menus from you to choose from when you book one of our meeting rooms. From contemporary California cuisine to home style Mexican to random recipes from the kitchen of our general manager, you’ll find something to suit the tone of your event. And if you don’t, then complain and we’ll figure it out!
I’ll say this: If you’re reading this, chances are you already love spending the night with us. And if you love going to bed with us, I’m pretty sure you’ll love us in the daytime too.
The day after Osama bin Laden was killed, I saw a comedian do a sketch, on The Daily Show, in an airport. He had a Big Gulp and a machete and he said he was ready to get on an airplane. He appeared crestfallen when Jon Stewart told him that airport security is here to stay. Maybe the machete was a bit much, but I think all of us who travel can relate to that. We wish the terrorists would go away and flying could get back to pre-911 mode.
Toiletries are the worst. The rules about liquids are fuzzy and seem to vary slightly from airport to airport. For sure you can’t just transfer what’s already in your shower into your bag and go. The decision is, do you want to reduce your supply of lotions, shampoos and other essentials down to what will fit into a sandwich bag? Or do will you choose to take as much as you want and pay the hefty new baggage checking fees?
Why do we travel with toiletries at all, though? Every hotel in the world comes with basically everything you need right there in the room. The answer, which we all know, is that what comes in most hotel rooms mostly, for lack of a better word, sucks. Not here, not anymore! From now on, when you’re flying to this hotel, you can leave those cumbersome toiletries behind and rest assured that your hair and skin will be soft, and have the gentle smell of fresh citrus. We’ve got new toiletries!
I’ve been walking around lately with a Christmas song in my head. Do you know the one that goes, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year”? That line spins round and round in my head each day as I feel the sun warmer and warmer on my face. I’m sorry that whoever wrote those lyrics was so turned around, but I’m thankful to have a tune to welcome summer back with. Summer is coming everyone! This, truly, is “the most wonderful time of the year”!
And if summer is back that means that Wednesday night poolside BBQs are back too! That’s right, for all the months that the sun stays high and the air stays warm, we do the only thing that makes sense: Fire up the grill. You’re invited to join us every Wednesday night this summer for dinner by the pool. We’ll be cooking steak and chicken, baked potatoes and corn. A variety of salads and deserts round out a meal even a vegetarian can love. And, of course, the bar will be open throughout the night. Plus, a night in at the Inn is the perfect opportunity to try out one of our many board games. Maybe you can get to know a coworker, or even to make a new acquaintance or two. If you’ve never joined us for a Wednesday night BBQ before, you’re in for a treat. It’s one of our favorite traditions and we’re excited that its time has come yet again.
As this country ekes its way out of recession, we here at the Cupertino Inn want to be a bit frank with you. The last couple of years have been rough! Maybe you noticed that the breakfast buffet was sparsely populated. Maybe, on checking in, you were asked if you might not want a second room to keep your luggage in. Maybe you never noticed at all; hotels are transient places, and, anyway, you probably had your head in your own recession woes. The point is, in recent times you could pretty much just saunter in here at any old time and get yourself a room. More and more, though, these days, as we are proud, relieved and just the slightest bit sorry to say, it’s seeming like it’s officially time to announce, once again, that you’d better make a reservation if you want to stay at the Cupertino Inn.
And, actually, in the glow of our newfound bounty, there may even be a time when you call to make your reservation and find that we are already booked. In that case, our reservations manager might suggest that you stay someplace called The Grand Hotel, in some faraway land called Sunnyvale, instead. This could be disconcerting, we know, so we’d like to take a moment to explain ourselves a little bit.
First point of clarification is that the Silicon Valley is actually a massive suburban web that meanders along, changing names every so often, perhaps just for sport. Thus you could, for example, start out in Santa Clara, walk a few blocks, cross a street and be in Sunnyvale and a few blocks later you’d cross another street and end up in Cupertino. Though the idea of staying in a whole other city sounds like it will be disorienting and make you late for work, actually the Grand Hotel is a five minute drive from the Cupertino Inn. No worries.
Next, and more important, while the two hotels try very hard to maintain their separate characters, the Cupertino Inn thinking of itself as homey and down-to-earth, and the Grand Hotel maintaining a more dignified elegance, they are, essentially, the same. Same ownership, same management. The staff trades back and forth, sometimes within a single day. Sammy serves breakfast at the Grand Hotel and cocktails at the Cupertino Inn, for example. Adam, infamous taker of any shift anytime no matter what, will happily start his day at the Cupertino Inn, pop over for a quick 8 hours at the Grand, then hop back for a graveyard in Cupertino, if we don’t watch him closely enough. And, oh-so-importantly, they have identical happy hours and breakfast buffets. If you like the Cupertino Inn, you’ll like the Grand Hotel and vice versa. That’s a promise!
Our rooms are pretty steadily booked up these days. At night our bar is full of smiling faces. We get pretty favorable comment cards. Some of you even claim to read this newsletter. It kinda seems like you like us, maybe. The thing is, we’re just not sure if you’re really, truly our friends. Real friends, you know, willing to admit to the whole world that you’re with us. Like on facebook, for example.
The thing is, actually, I have to admit we’re not very popular on Facebook, and we’re feeling kind of self-conscious about it. It’s like we’re the school nerd who no one wants to sit with at lunch. And, so, in the spirit of Sixteen Candles, Can’t Buy Me Love and who knows how many other cinematic gems of teen angst, we’re offering to pay for popularity! For every hundred new friends we get on facebook, we’ll keep happy hour going at the bar for an extra hour. And how will you know about these super happy days, you ask? Well, by checking in with us on facebook, of course!
This is shameless bribery, for sure. Forgive us. We didn’t choose this modern world, but here we are in it. In the good old days, like two years ago, a hotel could know she was doing well by having rooms full of familiar faces. Now, though, we have to wonder why, though you continue to stay with us, you won’t proclaim your affection to the world. Are you ashamed of us? Are we comfortable, but not cool? Oh, please, help! Be our friends! This social network anxiety is killing us!
Not to be a bummer, but isn’t this the worst time of the year? The holidays are gone, New Year’s resolutions have already been broken, it’s cold outside and the days are still short. We’re supposed to get cheered up, I guess, by things like Valentine’s Day and President’s Day, but, really, who cares? This time of year, in my opinion, cannot pass fast enough. I’m sick of movies, sick of fires, sick of hot cocoa! What can we do?
Well, ok, maybe it’s not really so desperate. There are always things to do to cheer yourself up. One of the best blues beating choices around here is Rooster T Feathers, friendly neighborhood comedy club. The therapeutic qualities of laughter are pretty undisputed, so it’s kind of like going to a health club. Plus, though the hit-or-miss nature of some comedy clubs can make venturing into one a little scary, I swear to you that Rooster T’s lineup is almost unwavering in its quality. And, to top it all off, as some of you already know, our guests get in free! That’s right, what we’re offering is free therapy! It’s times like this that I can look people in the eye and say that I work for the best hotel on the planet!
My first car was a hand-me-down. And, not only was it a hand-me-down, but my mother bought it from a car rental agency, drove it for five or six years and then handed it down to me. It always ran perfectly, for some reason, but superficially it was kind of a mess. A new piece would fall off of something at least once a week and every time I had a new passenger I would have to reassure them that it was not their fault when the center console suddenly plopped down into their lap. There was neither heat nor air-conditioning and the windows didn’t work, so in the summer I would have someone permanently fix them down, then reverse it for winter. I loved that car! Its death was premature and unnatural; a drunk driver smashed into it one night as it sat, innocently parked in front of my house. I know it wouldn’t have lasted forever, but if any car ever deserved to go until its very end, it was that one.
Our old limos, on the other hand, got to drive into their graves. Only five years old, they each had over 200,000 miles on them. And, no, it’s not because other people are special and get to ride in them to San Francisco when you’re told “no”. They racked it all up on trips that averaged around 4 miles each. I wonder if any of you noticed how they had started sputtering around? Certainly you could not have missed that, like my beloved red car, some of the not-so-vital pieces had started to go cockeyed. I guess you probably didn’t know that we had our fingers crossed everyday, hoping it wasn’t yet time for a guest to get stranded en route to the airport. Now that we’ve got our shiny brand new limos and are safe for another five years, I can tell you how close we shaved it: One of the old workhorses died about 25 miles into its drive away from home. The transmission just gave up.
The new ones are great, all sparkly and perfect. Still, I have to confess, I’ll like them better once someone has opened a door into one and a bellman has clipped a pole with the other. You know, once they’ve built a little character.