The Logical Philosopher

Saturday, March 24, 2007

An Expensive Bathroom

"You can't be serious" he snapped.

"I am sir. That's the price, even with the manager's discount."

"It better have a nice view for that fee."

"It does sir. Best in the city in fact. Taking up most of the top floor of our hotel the Prime Minister Suite will offer spectacular views for you and your guests."

I was in Vancouver this week and while downtown all day drinking Coke slurpees I suddenly found I had to go to the bathroom. Not wanting to chance the public bathrooms in the downtown core I did what any normal person would do. I looked for the most luxurious and expensive bathroom to use. And for those readers that know downtown Vancouver, you also know what a crap shoot finding a clean bathroom in the downtown core can be.

As I was in the downtown core this gave me plenty of options, but I wanted the best of the best. This would be no day for a trip to the loo at a Starbucks or Chapters. I was going all out. I was going into the Fairmont Hotel. Soaring, floor-to-ceiling dark wood walls; marble counter tops with a plethora of complementary toiletries to use; luxurious fluffy white linen hand towels... It could be written up in Architectural Digest and come off sounding like a retreat in the middle of the city. Suffice to say that the bathroom at the Fairmont Vancouver is, in some ways, nicer than my house.

After a serious case of bathroom jealousy had set in I headed out, but paused by the front desk to tie my shoe. An older man was arguing with the front desk clerk about the price of the room he wanted to book for the next nine days. He was more Philip Stuckey than he was Edward Lewis.

"And how much is it again?"

"Twelve hundred a night sir, which brings the total, with taxes, to just over $13,000 for your stay."

"And you say that is with the discount?"

I stood up and looked over at the man, thinking, So let me get this straight. You're about to drop $13,000 on a hotel room for nine days and you are complaining about not getting a discount? For the price of the TAX on your hotel room, you could stay in a very nice suite in the same hotel.

As I walked out of the hotel into the spring rain I thought about the old man and shook my head. He was so wrapped in his world of wanting the best, but still felt the need to bargain for the penthouse suite at a five star hotel. Perception. For some people they find humour and tragedy in a situation relative to where they are in life. To him he wasn't getting a deal at $1200 a night. To me I was happy I got to use some fluffy white towels in the bathroom while travelling for a few days.