United: We Never Stop Fucking You; also, Hilton Hates You Too

Apparently, there is now only one daily from the Naples area back to Houston, so despite being done early I’m still waiting until 5:12 PM to fly home.

This is my fifth — and final, it turns out — year attending this conference here in Naples. Each year, the flight options have gotten worse. United reducing service (because fuck you) is just one more reason I’m glad I won’t have to come back here, or to this hotel either.

You: The hotel? What’s wrong with the hotel?

I’m glad you asked! It’s called the “Waldorf Naples,” but this is a goddamn lie. At some point, Hilton bought the real Waldorf, and immediately set about ruining that venerable hotel name by applying it willy-nilly to garden variety “full service” properties in pseudo-lux destinations like Naples. It’s not a Waldorf. It’s a run-down Hilton with delusions of grandeur. The rooms are shabby, the carpet’s worn, and they’re too snooty to have vending so you have to use their shop or coffeebar if you want a Diet Coke. Before 8, it’s just the coffeebar — where a 12 ounce bottle of DC goes for $2.85. Because, again, fuck you.

Every time I’ve stayed in a hotel since 2009, I’ve mentally compared it to the Hyatt Place hotel I used in Overland Park. Absolutely no hotel emerges from such a comparison looking good. Hyatt’s created a line with everything you need and nothing you don’t, and with a brandwide culture of “yes” when guests ask for things. It’s not fancy, but it’s done very well. There’s no full service restaurant, but you can get sandwiches and whatnot made to order 24 x 7. The wifi works well, and is included. The free breakfast is full of fresh fruit and good cereal options. I love some high-end stuff in my life, but I’ve become increasingly convinced that the whole IDEA of “high end hotel” is being executed very, very poorly; I haven’t seen a single so-called fancy hotel in the last 4 years I’d choose over a Hyatt Place, if given the option.

One thought on “United: We Never Stop Fucking You; also, Hilton Hates You Too

  1. We had the Southern Independent Booksellers’ Alliance (SIBA) show there last September. I guess we had one of the swankier rooms (got a free upgrade because I always stay in Hampton Inns and have a lot of Hilton points), but it was one of my least favorite SIBA trips. Hard to get there, so hardly any booksellers showed up. (Thank god it’s going to be in New Orleans this year.) Couldn’t fly into the Naples airport from Charlotte, but fortunately they had a shuttle from the Fort Myers airport. Both the airport and Naples were ghost towns because of hurricane season. I hate South Florida.