Saturday, December 29, 2007
I have returned from Kentucky with the following items:
1. 12 Ferraro Rocher truffles.
2. A $200 Costco gift card.
3. A new sister in-law.
4. 128 photos, 13 of which aren’t blurry.
5. Showerhead-induced microdermabrasion.
6. New insight into hotel quality ratings.
The natural thing to do would be to write about our travel nightmares (lost luggage and riding in the trunk of a car), the wedding (perfectly beautiful)… or the Louisville experience (they eat spaghetti with chili on it). But since it’s me, and since I am clearly not interested in writing about things people are interested in…I’m going to share my thoughts on hotel quality ratings.
If you’ve ever looked for a hotel online, you know about the different rating methods for hotel quality. You can select a hotel based on a star rating (ranging from 1-5) or on anecdotal customer reviews. If you’ve ever actually BOOKED a hotel through one of these sites, you know that the ratings aren’t always accurate. A hotel that received a combined rating of 3.5/”We’ll certainly be back”… turned out to be more of a 2.0/”I got crabs.”
I think I’ve come up with a more reliable rating system. No stars. No reviews. Just showerheads. I can think of six showerhead configurations that perfectly communicate hotel quality. I think you’ll recognize some of them.
1. Ring of Fire
This configuration is easily distinguished by its ability to completely soak one’s hairline, ears and neck, while leaving the entire face bone dry. Facial wetting is accomplished through a series of circular motions and periodic bobbing. Thorough rinsing is nearly impossible.
2. Rock Tunneler
The original “power shower,” this configuration is inexplicably popular and uncommonly painful. Based on the assumption that More is More when it comes to water pressure, the Rock Tunneler is one ridiculously powerful blast of water capable of removing dirt, debris and nipples.
While I totally respect the concept of a select-your-own showerhead configuration, it is almost never successful. To wit:
Hey! An adjustable showerhead!
Oooh, a massage setting… YEEE OUCH.
How ‘bout the fine mist setting…okay, that stings.
Ah well, I guess the original setting was the best one.
Like the Select-A-Stream, I appreciate the thoughtfulness that goes into installing a self-service showerhead… but my shower frustrations don’t often stem from the inability to remove the showerhead from the wall. The problem with D.I.Y. is: there is almost always a pesky cord that is almost always twisted, causing the water to shoot off at a wonky angle. So I end up needing to remove the showerhead from the wall.
5. Normal Showerhead
An unremarkable configuration. It expels water and you don’t notice anything about it at all. Rarest of the configurations.
This configuration is most often seen in fancy hotels and home design magazines. It is the size of a trash can lid, uses one million gallons of water per second and feels like bathing in angel tears.
I don’t think travel websites would need to do much of anything else to describe the hotel. I imagine the ad would look something like this: