Sunday, May 17, 2009

Hotel Murano

The Lady Wife and I are currently in Tacoma, WA for our daughter Marie's graduation from University of Puget Sound. We are staying in Hotel Murano in downtown Tacoma. It was recommended to us by the good folks at UPS. So let's rip on this hotel a little...

I thought at first blush that the establishment must be Japanese by design or ownership. What with the name, Murano, which means valley in Japanese, the minimalist design, and hip urban architecture it all seemed to point in this direction. Would it were so, but the hotel is actually named after an island in the lagoon of Venice Italy.

Before I begin the deconstruction let me point out some real positives. Our room on the 21st floor has a truly spectacular view of Mt. Rainier. The lobby bar pours a hella good vodka martini. However the real experience of Hotel Murano begins at arrival...

We pulled up to the Hotel in the new family truckster looking forward to the valet parking advertised in the promo lit and website. I was informed that the parking was actually $18.00 for 24 hours. Ah what the hell, go ahead. I opened the back door of the car and began unloading luggage. The "bellman" asked me if I would like help with the luggage and then wandered off to let me schlep it to the front desk on my own. This is where I began to suspect that the institution lacked the service that would have prevailed if the Gods of customer service were Buddhist.

After checking in, loaded down with the aforementioned luggage we entered the elevator for the trip up. The elevator (apparently because they could do it and it gives the image of "exclusivity") required swiping of the room key card to activate the floor buttons. Most guests seemed to be fumbling this badly. We made it to 21, I stepped out heading for our room, and found that the Lady Wife had been a tad slow off the mark and was now on a return trip to the lobby. Not knowing what floor we were on it took some trial and error for her to finally arrive at our room. Ha! Ha!
In addition to the post industrial chic architecture and design I must also point out that the Hotel Murano is also a theme hotel. The theme in this case is Art. Each floor is devoted to a different and apparently prestigious artist. We were lucky enough to land on the floor devoted to one Bruno Romanelli. Bruno's works lent a wonderful aire of depression, darkness and death to the 21st floor. Our room has a lovely etching of what is apparently a corpse framed and prominently displayed.

On arising in the morning I showered and put on the oversize terry cloth robe which was hanging in the bathroom. The tag on the hanger informed me: USE ME ALL YOU WANT... AND IF YOU CANT LIVE WITHOUT ME, I AM A CHEAP DATE. $105.00

Another ever so trendy tag was the knob hanger that at most hotel's reads OCCUPIED. Not good enough for the Murano, theirs reads" TIED UP. Ha! Ha!

Apparently to make amends for the fact that I spent a fruitless 45 minutes last night attempting to log on to their "wireless network" I was supplied with a SPIRITUAL MENU. So where is L. Ron Hubbard on the menu? Can I switch religions daily? What about the secular humanists (atheists) among us? If religion isn't what you need please note the PILLOW MENU.

OK, It's 10:00pm and we have just returned from our celebratory graduation dinner. I am lying on the bed in the $105.00 Murano terry bathrobe. I hear some noise at the door. The Lady Wife looks up from the computer and says "Dean! there's someone coming in the door!". I leap into action and find a gentleman with his luggage and a card key who apparently was given the same room that we are already checked into. He, embarrassed, retreated to the elevator. I called the front desk and advised them that either he or I or both should have our rooms comped. The customer service juggernaut of the Hotel Murano lurches on!

At the end of the day I was not charged for parking, Internet service or any of the other threatened charges. Perhaps the management felt bad about trying to give us a roommate. Lastly, I confess we did not try the restaurant. We were lucky to find a less pretentious eatery just up the street. The surprises that Tacoma has in store are beyond imagination...

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