A couple of years back I found myself working overseas and living in a hotel. It was one of those fancy places in the Middle East where everything is made of gold, you can smoke cigars in the lobby, and the staff greet you by name.
Truth be told, the hotel was one of the reasons I took the job. The chance to live it up in a 5 Star Hotel on the other side of the world seemed like a wonderful dream. And for the first month or two it was. My laundry would be waiting for me when I arrived home in the afternoons, I had free run of the buffet, and was chauffeured to work.
But hotel life can get real old, real fast, especially if you travel for work. So if you find yourself jetting off for foreign cities and strange hotels on a regular basis, you're going to need some copying mechanism. We asked the experts for their tips.
The concierge is your new best friend. They're also your personal assistant, tour guide, and sometimes moral compass. As Nico, a twenty year hotel veteran from Paris explains, "I had one elderly guest who was forever getting arrested. He was a Marxist burdened by inherited wealth, and it drove him to drink. I had to bail him out of jail on several occasions, but he had great stories."
Depending on the hotel, and how generous your employer is, you may suddenly find yourself with an in-house barber, a private members lounge, and a yacht club at your disposal. You don't have to start lighting cigars with $100 bills, but you may as well embrace the fantasy.
"We once made the hotel send a driver across town for soft shell crab on New Year's day," explains David, a project manager based in Dubai.
"At the time, it seemed like a reasonable thing to do."
Room service, in-house dinning, mini bars and buffets can quickly sneak up on your waist. But they're no substitute for a homemade sandwich, or the convenience of your favourite breakfast cereal. This is where the hotel kitchen comes in. As Margot, a hostess with a private airline notes, "I make the kitchen store my Froot Loops and lactose free milk, so when I come down for breakfast they're waiting for me."
As boring and obvious as it sounds, there's a lot to be said for a nice gym on the hotel premises. If motivation is an issue you can ask the hotel to organise a trainer, or write you motivational notes. "I was staying in Switzerland, at this amazing hotel, and every morning the hotel would slip a handwritten motivational note under my door to help me get out of bed," says Louis, who obviously stays at better establishments than the rest of us.
Staying in a hotel forces you to pair things back and dump the excess baggage, both literally and metaphorically. According to Kristina, who works as an art consultant and travels for work, "There's something liberating about adopting a minimal hotel life. When it's just you, a laptop, and a change of clothes it frees you up to think big picture. There's none of the distractions you get back in the real world."
This article originally appeared on Executive Style. Credit: Mikolai Napieralski/Fairfax Syndication