07 August 2007

Insider this

I got a satisfaction survey emailed to me from the W Chicago Lakeshore Hotel.

I was eager to fill it out because:
1. I am a major survey junkie
2. I had some big issues with the W and felt like they of course needed MY valuable input because, as we all know, I am right about everything.

Hidden among the other survey questions was this gem:
Did you feel you were given insider access to the W Lifestyle?

Huh???

I read the question once. Then I read it again. I read it with my head cocked to one side like Nipper the RCA Records dog, thinking THAT might help.

Insider access to the W Lifestyle? Like I need a special pass to enjoy modern furniture and loud music?

Here’s a question back for Starwood Hotels, the W's parent company: did you feel like you were given insider access to the Suebob lifestyle? Or the Oh, the Joys lifestyle? Or the PunditMom lifestyle? Oh, you didn’t? Too bad. You really should try it sometime.

I can guarantee you that no matter how interesting-looking your building is, no matter how carefully you select the elevator music or how great the view is, our "lifestyles" will always be more interesting than the W Hotel.

Given the choice between spending an all-expenses paid day at the W with full "insider access" (whatever that is) and spending an hour having a cup of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee while chatting with ByJane on a park bench, I’d choose the blogger every time. But maybe I just don't understand the importance and magnificence of a lifestyle built on $8 waters and pretty lampshades. But I think I do.

My opinion is that the W does a good job of creating a nice artificial reef for all the pretty people to gather 'round. It is amusing in its way. But it's not a life, nor a lifestyle. It is, after all is said and done, just a place to eat and sleep and pay a lot for the privilege.

If you google "insider access to the W Lifestyle," you’ll see that Starwood Hotels marketing geniuses are all into the idea. They even offer "curated events" like small, intimate concerts, dinners with famous chefs, etc, so those with the means (cash, moola, ducats, bank, green) can make a special memory (after dropping a bale of money, of course).

Some of us are too busy doing what we do to need curated events. The best event I have been to in the past few weeks was an afternoon watching six of my nieces' kids run around on the lawn like maniacs. It was heart-stoppingly beautiful and perfectly memorable. The second best event lately was meeting about 300 great women at BlogHer.

Both required substantial input from me to make happen. No one curated them. I don't have a life concierge. That’s the way I like it. Me. My life where I create my own "insider access" because I am the true insider, the one who knows my insides.

I have met some famous people in my time, usually at work. And I have met plenty of non-famous people, too. Guess what? They’re pretty much the same to hang out with. There is no magic dust that the rich or famous sprinkle around to make life more special or interesting.

My sister used to say "We can have more fun with $5 than most people can have with $1000." She wasn’t exaggerating, either (though it may have gone up to $10 by now). That’s just part of the fabulous Bob Lifestyle, to which insider access is highly restricted and available only to a select few.

24 comments:

BetteJo said...

Oh I LOVE your perspective! Did you really fill out the survey?

I know you weren't concentrating on the actual physical aspects of the hotel, but I am pretty stuck on the idea of those bathrooms with the shuttered windows into the bedrooms. Maybe some new age form of communication I'm missing out on? Just wondering if you mentioned that part. And I wasn't even there!

VenturaMom from said...

A life concierge...maybe that's what I need. Thanks for the wit, SueBob!

ktjrdn said...

I just noticed an unexplained charge on my credit card fro the W. I'm about to call and see what it is they think they charged me for. I really wasn't impressed at all.

ps. For some reason, google reader can't find your feed, so I have to come here and click on it and copy the address over. weird. Hi. We met at BlogHer

SUEB0B said...

Hey ktjrdn - EVERYONE I spoke to was charged for internet access, even though they didn't use it. And I remember you! Kari was goofing behind you in your photo.

The googlereader thing is a pain and I am trying to get them to fix it.

Grace said...

Amen and hallelujah. You have no idea how much better about my W issues it makes me feel to read that you had all the same ones!

To be totally fair, though, I am still enjoying the Bliss shampoo and conditioner...

Oh, The Joys said...

I'm going to fill out my survey to complain and complain about the lack of free coffee. What kind of hotel forces you to pay $3.75 for a cup of bad Joe in the morning. That is not a lifestyle I want any part of, Starwood. I'll meet you at the Dunkin Donuts anytime.

Amy U. said...

I heard someone was charged $4 for a cup of coffee. If that's the lifestyle they're referring to, no thanks.

super des said...

The City Center wasn't great either, but it's lifestyle may have been better than the W's, from what I've heard.

mar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mar said...

i would much rather have access to the 'bob lifestyle' than anything to do with w (the hotel or any other)

Jane said...

My, what a shallow and expensive lifestyle the W represents! However, my niece loved the Ugly Doll I bought her at their gift shop (for pretty much the going rate), so I guess they did win me over there.

wordgirl said...

What a great way to look at things! I want to party with you, SubBob.

Christina said...

Now I want to know if the text box to answer that question was large enough for this post?

mayberry said...

Sing it. You created more fun with that red stapler than anything the W came up with, no?

Although I will say that when I picked up my car from the valet, it was stocked with an apple and two bottles of water. A nice touch; until you remember that the parking cost $43 a night. OY!

claire said...

ah ha! i got your feed to work in my google reader. ee!

That W question sounds like such a pretentious thing to ask. I hope you told them exactly what you say here. They deserve to know.


man, i've got a lot to catch up on here...

claire said...

Wait, rather than "That W question sounds like such a pretentious thing to ask," I should say, "Holy crap, what an f-ing pretentious thing for them to ask".

I didn't feel my first comment had enough weight. Ok, fixed.

SJ said...

You are so much lulz. I don't think I got that question! I feel ripped off.

leahpeah said...

i love this post, sue. love. i'm ready to go get a cup of coffee with you and byjane any time. you are two of my favorite people.

mothergoosemouse said...

If I hadn't already told you that I love you, this would have pushed me over the edge. The only difference between the W Hotel and Vegas is the Vegas KNOWS it's kitschy.

moosh in indy. said...

...a nice artificial reef for all the pretty people to gather 'round..."
This is perfection.

lildb said...

meanwhile, my personal life concierge would most certainly present me with a bathroom that includes AN ACTUAL DOOR, and maybe not a window back into the room that gives my roommate an all-access pass to my gastronomic results.

whee.

awesome post, sis. feel the burn, W. feel. it.

BOSSY said...

Bossy was given Insider Access alright. Inside the sick minds of those who designed an entire hotel chain around the concept of Rave clubs and Ecstasy.

Good thing you filled out their survey, though. Next thing you know the W will be giving Red Stapler a free Lifetime Membership and rental car.

Elizabeth said...

I stayed at the W, but I didn't reserve the room, so I guess they don't want my opinion. After I went to the City Center for Speaker Training, I wished I had chosen that one instead. They had a coffee shop in the lobby that sold sandwiches and drinks at regular prices, not that bizarre Wave crap. Did you look at the room service menu at the W? There was a pet menu, including a $24.00 ten ounce steak! For a DOG.

I'm really sorry now that I didn't take you up on your offer to get photographed with the stapler in the men's room at the Navy Pier. Next year, I'll do whatever you ask, I just want to be in a photo with the stapler! Thought of you today, by the way, when I saw this:
http://www.thinkgeek.com/tshirts/generic/9644/

Suzanne said...

Husband and I were just discussing W Hotels yesterday, as he has racked up enormous amounts of Starwood points through work travel and is using them to get us a free vacation. I asked him what he thought of the W, and he laughed and laughed. "It's the biggest scam," he commented. And this is why I married the man. He loves his luxury, but he is no fool.

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