Friday, February 24, 2012

The Hotel Hunsaker

We got married on the Friday before school let out for spring break. It's the perfect time for teachers to get married, because you can always go and do something fun for your anniversary. Unless you are a teacher...oops. Then you can't leave the county without measuring the cost of a vacation and by the time you've figured it out.... you might as well stay at the only hotel in the world that carries all of your clothes and you'll never forget your toothbrush...H.O.M.E. We pay about $60 a night to stay here and we will for the next 25 1/2 years. Might as well stay...cation.

We live in a small townhome in Washington, Utah, which is about 300 miles South of Salt Lake City but not quite in Nevada. Sometimes we tell people we're from Las Vegas. It cuts the explanation down to four words and makes us sound cooler.

Because we have so few weekends off, when we are awake, a couple times a year we like to Priceline a hotel for the night, drive to Vegas, see a couple of international movies (stuff that would never come to St. George) and drive home the next morning. Thanks to my sister Penny and her kids, the dogs get to play with humans that actually function and we get to sit in a hot tub or lay in the sun for an hour to refuel.

Andy's a Priceline pro. We've stayed in some fancy hotel rooms for $40. On any given day, he's got Priceline quotes in his head for several people. He'll know how many days he's been bidding and what number he's at, for whom and at what level. We regularly see my brother in Fullerton for $40 a night and we always stay at the Marriott. (Now when I say "see my brother" I sometimes mean..."go to Disneyland." Brad and Ashley live 10 minutes from the Happiest Place on Earth and that's where we sometimes end up when we need to.... get happy. It's cheaper than a drug addiction - but not by much.)

We can't afford the big Vegas shows on a "Priceline weekend" but for our very first wedding anniversary, Andy splurged and took me to "Love" the Cirque Beatles show and we stayed at the Palazzo.  The hotel hadn't had it's grand opening yet, but they were putting people in rooms and diverting them over to the Wynn for the pools, etc... So it was kinda like staying at both places. Both of them were incredible hotels. We paid $55. I've never seen it for less than $600 a night since. We'll never stay there again, but we'd like to say "you're welcome" for breaking in the hotel room. We did a GREAT job of that. ;-)

For our second anniversary, Andy surprised me with Bette Midler tickets and took me to Paris. I would have killed him for spending that much money but I've been a Bette fan since she was singing with Barry Manilow in the 70's. I'm not sure how he knew my love for her except that I have every CD she's ever made and I don't even listen to music. We were the youngest people in the audience. I don't care. We were sitting so far back, that I had to use my opera glasses. I don't care. (I certainly don't use them for the opera). The seats were so small that after about 15 minutes, I was numb from my belly button down. I don't care. I was in Caesar's Palace, in her presence. I was in tears for most of the show. We stayed at Planet Hollywood during their "remodel" and that's the only way we could ever afford to stay there and that's a good trick. But they weren't remodeling our room. It overlooked the Paris Hotel's mini-version of the Eiffel Tower" on "The Strip." We might as well have been in Paris.

Last year, for my birthday, he took me to see Donny and Marie at the Flamingo. (I like to say "at the Flamingo" because it makes me sound like I really know Vegas.) We stayed at the Luxor which used to be a high end hotel, and for us teachers it still is, but you can regularly Vegas.com it for $40. Who cares about the hotel! We saw D.O.N.N.Y. and Marie. I love Marie, but read my first blog..I have pretended to be married to Donny Osmond since he was on the cover of Rolling Stone in 197....(cough...excuse me.) I had a school "looseleaf" (we used to call them that) with his picture imprinted on the front cover. I kissed that thing so many times his face wore out. You have to admire a man like Andy who would PAY to watch his wife sing the words to "Crazy Horses" at the top of her lungs (because that was the first single I ever owned) and scream like a pre-teen for two hours. Again...we were the youngest people in the audience. The lady next to me was from Michigan. She and her husband "just flew out to see a show. We come to Vegas a couple of times a month for the shows." Me and my husband would be paying for those tickets for months with interest.

We stayed at the Monte Carlo once, that was a favorite of mine because of the swimming pools. There was no one there when we stayed, so we actually got into bathing suits and jumped in. Of course, it was 11 o'clock in the morning and nearing 112 degrees, so the act of getting into the water was more like a life-saving tactic. It's so dang hot in Vegas in the summer and that's when a teacher has time to vacation.

I remember staying in the parking lot of Circus Circus one summer when we were kids. It was 2:00 in the morning when we stopped to sleep. My parents had rented a camper and we were on our way to see our Aunt Polly in Redondo Beach, I think. It was several hundred degrees when my dad pulled into their RV hookups. I exaggerate for effect. It was only 174 or so.... I remember my flip flops melting to the pavement of the parking lot at 2:00 in the morning. We were all such happy campers too. ;-) (Again...my parents are living Saints) I remember being on the verge of tears and turning over and over trying to find a cold spot on the bed and pillow probably. My mom said "lay still so your body cools off. If you keep moving you'll make it worse, like exercise." Was that the truth? So it's her fault. Hehehehe... (Maybe she just trying to keep the weight of so many people from tipping us over. :-)

Most of the time, we don't stay overnight. Since I teach film, we've been visiting just for the day, to see movies that will never come to St. George. We are theatre people after all, and if we could afford to go to the theatre in Vegas we would, but... we can't. Andy is a Harry Potter fan and we did get to see the last movie at an IMAX there...worth every penny of the $17 ticket. Vegas has a plethora of awesome restaurants and by the time we've eaten, seen a couple of movies and spent the gas money driving down, our fun money is gone, and so we stay at the best hotel ever.

Let me tell you about it.

It's called the Hotel Hunsaker. It's 1500 square feet! That's big for a hotel room. When you walk into our fancy hotel you will see many amenities that rooms at the Wynn or Caesar's Palace don't have. It has a full sized refrigerator and if you look inside...it's mostly stocked except the people that live here need milk. They always do. I always notice that the lady that lives here has a bottle of grapefruit in her fridge - but it's almost always expired. I admire her for trying to start eating grapefruit for whatever reason, (a diet) and then realizing that grapefruit is almost never... good.

I digress.

Walking past the garage door, you'll notice that this hotel is equipped with two small dachshunds. Furry friends in case you left yours behind. How nice.

This hotel has three bedrooms---perhaps we should call it a "suite." That's good. One of the rooms is larger than the other rooms and that one has it's own bathroom. But we don't allow guests in there because, well, it's just not a place you'd want to go. There is evidence that those people sleep in the Hotel Hunsaker and that's about it.

"Brad's room" as we like to call the main guest room, (or sometimes Cole's Room) contains a queen-sized bed that has fancy purple bedspread on it (in homage to Donny Osmond, if you must know). There is a "Do Not Disturb" sign on the door knob to deter housekeeping personnel, but the down-side is, there's no housekeeping personnel. The up-side is...you can leave your stuff around and no one will touch it.

The other room houses some exercise equipment that has never been used. Warn us in advance if you want that room so we can find the bed.

The Hunsaker Hotel is completely non-smoking and never has been so no need to worry about that. Unless you are a smoker, and then you will have to stay somewhere else.

When you take a bottle of water out of the fridge, it won't cost you $12. In fact, if you are at the Hunsaker's it might already be recycled and is probably, you guessed it...free tap water. F.R.E.E.

If you or someone you know has an accident (we are kid friendly here too) there is a free washer and dryer just across from the bathroom! F.R.E.E.

The artwork in the main living area is eclectic to say the least. You might think we like Coldplay (we do) James Christensen art (a wedding gift to Andy from Jan), and Jesus. We really like him. So if you are the one stuck sleeping on the couch, I hope you don't mind Jesus watching over you all night.
Other artwork in the house includes more than a dozen picture magnets of the Shelton and Hunsaker Extended Families for your shock and amazement.

The furnishings are mostly from the late 1990's and refinished pieces (thanks Paula). We like to call it "Musical Theatre Chic." I feel that it ads a homey touch because it all looks like it has been used in a play before...well...because it has.

You don't need a wake up call. You will also be able to see the time from the next county because of the giant clock on the wall that reminds us all, every day, how late we are.

But the best things about the Hunsaker Hotel are:
  • There is no clanging of the Casino beneath you.
  • No neighbors beside you doing things you don't want to know about. (Against hotel policy)
  • No registration fee...no check in...late check out whenever you want.
  • The movies are free and there are a lot more to choose from.
  • If you want extra pillows you don't have to wait 45 minutes. (But you might say "why is this pillow so flat? Get two. Just sayin'.)

And finally..... drum roll.... It's F.R.E.E. to stay here! And you can't beat free. I believe someone pays the mortgage on the place, but we don't care who or how, we just know it gets done. Barely. And until the housing market gets better, the value of the property raises back to it's original selling price (I think they bought in 2007...that was dumb...snort...they're going to paying on this place til Vegas has all new hotels!) the Hunsaker Hotel will be open to all...

Even the Hunsakers themselves. And boy are they glad. You can't beat Home Sweet Home.