February 25, 2014

Hotel-Living



Of course you've all stayed in hotels before, but have you actually lived in one before? I'm talking for months or perhaps years at a time? (If you have I want to hear about it! Tell me about your experience in the comment box below!) I am currently living the hotel life with my husband, Bodie, and our 8 month old  daughter, Dollie, in San Diego, CA. My husband works for a company that requires him to travel often.The longest transfer has been in San Diego. He was here for 8 months in 2012/2013, and now is back. While I stayed back in Spokane during the prior transfers, I knew this transfer would be different since Dollie has now joined our family. When they asked him to come out I knew immediately that Dollie and I would be tagging along with him. At that time she was 6 months old and I did not want him to miss out on all the milestones that happen starting at that age. We had 2 options: 1.See him every 5 weeks for a single weekend (for who knows how long -possibly all year), or 2. Pack our bags and hop on a plane to be together as a family. Were there other factors that played a role in our choosing option #2? Yes. They included 75-80 degree weather every day, the beach, and...need I say more? He came in Nov, and we flew out in mid Dec. It's been the best "winter" of my life!!! In the 2.5 mo we've been here Dollie has developed 2 teeth (almost 3), learned to wave, crawl, eat new foods, and is now starting swimming lessons. I can't imagine Bodie missing out on all of it. He's completely obsessed with her, as am I. Their relationship is magical. So happy we are here.
I typically get 2 kinds of attitudes from people regarding our stay here- that it must be really hard living in a hotel room/we must be getting sick of it, or that it must be really great because we get maid service every day and free breakfast. While there is a tiny bit of truth to each one, mostly they are both wrong. We are living at an extended-stay hotel. The room we are in is the smallest of the options here. It is basically a studio apt. We have a king size bed, along with a pull out sofa sleeper, a dresser, a desk to work at, a small coat closet, a large bathroom (with zero drawers/cabinets...annoying) and a smaller kitchen equip with a sink, full size refrigerator, stove top with 2 burners (no oven), small dishwasher, microwave, and a few drawers/cupboards for groceries. Also included is a toaster, utensils/plates/cups/bowls, and a few cooking tools. The room is 360 sq ft. Luckily all of our belongings have a place and are kept out of our way. We could have a lot larger room with a separate bedroom inside, totaling 650 sq ft except we would have to pay an additional $1,650/mo outside of the portion the company pays for. Bodie's company pays for us to be in this room, as well as our rental car, and since we still have a mortgage back home this suits us just fine.


So what is our experience like so far? In a nut shell, we are very comfortable. Really there are no complaints. I think it might have something to do with us being married nearly 7 years and living in small apartments up until we bought our home. We were already use to living in small spaces together (although not this small). I am constantly picking up, cleaning, and tidying so that my sanity stays intact. We have really gotten to know the maids, and front desk staff. They are so sweet and they always go out of their way for us to make sure we are comfortable. They absolutely love Dollie and she loves them. They are the ones who taught her to wave. Each day we leave the room to go shopping, on a walk, to the pool, beach, or even to just chat with the staff. I am so thankful its sunny and warm here because I don't know if I could handle staying in the room more with it being cold and/or snowy outside.



A lot of people comment that it would be so amazing to have maid service everyday. When we first got here it was great. I loved the fresh, flawlessly made bed, the perfect laid out towels/wash cloths, the emptied trash, floors mopped and vacuumed, counters cleaned, the fresh clean scent, and they even do your dishes for you. However, that quickly changed. I would often leave when the maids came in to do their work. After about a week I just didn't care to keep leaving with Dollie. The maids come at a different time every day so I couldn't really plan. I also wanted to get to know the maids as I knew we would be here for a long time. So I started to stay. And it was really awkward. I guess I just wasn't sure if they would get in trouble if I helped. One day I was sitting on the floor with Dollie while they made our bed, and then they started to vacuum so we moved to the bed. Dollie never takes her eyes off the maids (you know how kids are, always staring). I tried to preoccupy her and divert her attention but she wasn't having it. I suddenly felt really bad, and my thoughts wandered to the movie 'The Help' and 'The Boy in the Striped' Pajamas'. I couldn't help but wonder what Dollie would say if she were just a few years older. I'm sure it would be something like, "Mom, why are they cleaning our room, and vacuuming our floors?" As I lay sitting there. How would I even answer that? So things changed that day. I bought a few of our own cleaning supplies, and we now only have service every 2-3 days. I always try to never leave a dish out or else they will always do them, and usually while they are making up the bed I grab their vacuum and do our floors. Only a couple maids speak alright English so there is certainly a communication barrier, but luckily on the days when Bodie is home it's easier as he can speak Spanish with them. A lot of people told me, "Katie you shouldn't feel bad, it's their job." And those people are right; it is their job. But I am a grown woman, a wife, and a mother, and am fully capable of cleaning. There are some things that just need the maids attention (new bed linens, towels, garbage bags, etc...) so every couple days seems to do the trick. We have a good system down now. I am determined to learn the maids tricks on their expert bed making skills and a few other things.

As far as the noise level, its basically non-existent. This is something that concerned me with having a baby here. However, our room is in between a linen closet, and a storage room, so we don't have anyone on either side of us, and also no one is below us. Sometimes we hear people above us but that is rare. We have some nice palm trees right outside our window that I love. Also there is a decent little fitness center and a pool/hot tub, which we go to often. Nearby there is a huge Target, Trader Joe's, and a few other fun places. The beach is about 10 min away and we don't go near enough. (Bodie doesn't care for it. Crazy, I know. It's something we're working on.) The continental breakfast is decent. It includes a few cereals, bagels/muffins, fruit, yogurt, oatmeal, juice, and some breakfast sandwiches. We go down every once in a while, but usually just do our own thing in our room.

That's really all the main things I can think of right now. I'll list a few other little things in a pro/con list below.

Con's:
  • It's small. 
  • There are things we have just had to buy to live here and eventually we will need to ship it all home or give it away.
  • Although we rarely deal with  noise, our room is right above the entrance of the hotel so sometimes cigarette smoke will fill our room if our window is open even a crack.
  • Sometimes I really wish I had an oven.
  • It's $2.75 to wash and dry one load of laundry
Laundry Room
Pro's:
  • We don't have to buy paper towels, toilet paper, or dish soap.
  • Free WI-FI, cable, faxing, and printing
  • The staff always throws little parties for our company (i.e Superbowl, BBQ's, etc) Probably because the company pays this hotel $24,000 a month for all of us to be here. 
  • We can switch rooms whenever we want.
  • There are 2 nice grills outside that we use all the time
  • Making lots of new friends
Superbowl Party in the Lobby 
Grillin'
While there are a few cons, the pro's outweigh them by a long shot. Besides the amazing weather and nearby beaches, the absolute best part is being here with my little family. Of course we miss our friends and family immensely, but we really needed this time together. Over the last 2 1/2 years Bodie had been on work transfers in LA, Seattle and San Diego. I never went with him before now. Over that 2 1/2 year period, he was actually home for maybe 8 months. Not 8 months at one time, but spread out between visits home. While it was the best thing ever when he did come home, there was a lot going on and I feel like we never really got a chance to just be together. I know for certain that Heavenly Father was very aware of what we needed at this time in our life. It has been such a blessing to be out here; just the 3 of us. I don't know if we will ever have another opportunity like this in our life, and we are taking full advantage. It's so special. We are so thankful.


***I will be writing another post regarding 'Hotel Living' that highlights some awesome tips and tricks, as well as what goes on 'behind the scenes' at hotels! ALSO if there are things you've wondered about during your stay at hotels (i.e cleanliness, maid service, booking rooms, etc...) let me know and I will address it on the next post!

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2 comments:

  1. Hey Girl :) I lived in a hotel, on and off, for 6 years. You definitely have the right attitude! sometimes it was really fun and other times not so much, depending on where we were staying at the time. Both Travis and I worked full time and had no children with us, that was a degree of difficulty that i was not willing to do :) Kudos to you.
    We would have the maids come in once or twice a week, and I also tried to tidy up first. Some of the other contractors rooms were hidious, but some of them would leave the ladies tips. It was definitely a different experience, sometimes we worked so much that we just slept in the room with no interactions with anyone. We also moved around very often from city to city and sometimes the quality of hotel was not to my standards ;) We eventually opted to buy an RV, which came along with its own set of problems.
    Enjoy San Diego, it is one of my favorite cities! it is beautifu, the weather is perfect, and there are so many fun things to do. Best of all your little family is together and nothing beats that!

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  2. Katie,
    This brought back so many fun memories of living in a hotel room with Brady when Tate was Dollie's age! I remember the decision we made to pack up and go with him versus staying home and missing him. We too were transferred for an extended period in California (but in La Mirada - by Huntington Beach). There are so many great opportunities and adventures in California. It sounds like you are finding many of them. Have you been to Lego Land? We took Tate there when he was about Dollie's age. There were so many things he could do. I was quite impressed with the park for very little ones. One weekend we even went on a cruise - with Tate! Brady started looking into last minute cruise deals. He said "we are already here where they leave from, so we might as well go". It was pretty inexpensive. They were just trying to fill the boat. We had so much fun.
    I will share one important thing I have learned about living in a hotel with one car and a working husband. Many times there are no bus stops or transit opportunities from your hotel. But in most cities you can get a bus (or some other sort of public transportation) to just about anywhere from the airport. The hotel will drive you to the airport for free. I've even asked the hotel shuttle driver to bring the carseat back to our hotel room for us. I would pack a backpack with snacks and lunch for the day. At the end of the day I would either find my way back to the airport and call the hotel for a shuttle back, or Brady would come pick us up after work where ever we ended up!
    It sounds like you three are having a great time. I wouldn't trade that time in our lives for anything. It is a unique experience your family will cherish forever. I'm so glad you chose to go. I look forward to more of your posts!
    Tina

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