Flashback or Flash Mob…You Decide
Is it possible to trigger a small seizure or an acid flashback merely by virtue of an impossible to comprehend “mix” of hotel guests? As a licensed psychologist, the closest theory I know of to explain such a phenomena, even if it is meant metaphorically is “cognitive dissonance”. In layman’s terms, “dissonance” is sensory input that is so conflicting and contradictory that it makes a person either shut down, freak out or unconsciously choose one and blot out the rest. In the case of the Crown Plaza Ravinia, my attempts at a combined birthday present and Valentines Day date began moderately well, due to an unusually nice front desk manager who knew to acknowledge my quasi-legitimate travel agent credentials with a wink, a nice double queen room and two free drinks at the lobby bar. Sweet… especially for a middle aged couple who tend to engage in dueling snoring contests all nite. Where’s the dissonnace you ask? Wait, I’m not there yet.
The hotel rooms are decent, the bedding so-so, the extras like microwaves, mini-fridges and fluffy robes non-existent, at least not in our accomodations. Ok, so it’s not the Ritz Carlton. Good news: The parking is free and about as cavernous as the underground Economy lot at Hartsfield airport. Where are all the people who parked all these cars way down here? Have I mysteriously stumbled upon the Fuhrer Bunker or the main fallout shelter from the movie Deep Impact? The answer is they are all alive and well and mingling in the hotel lobby. The demographics at the Crown Plaza nearly defy description. Can you imagine a large convention of National Guardsmen, a wedding, a bar mitzvah, and a swarm of glitter adorned competition bound preteen cheerleaders (and their perky soccer-like moms) all in one place under the hotel’s wood beamed and glass enclosed ceiling? I wasn’t the only one thrown off by this dizzying mix of architecture and humanity. The hotel’s caged lovebirds, Romeo and Juliet (midway down the stairs) seemed similarly overwhelmed and clung to each other like…well, lovebirds. Bad news: I forgot my special pillow, the one that is neither flat as a pancake or blown up like an air mattress like the ones the hotel normally provides. The hotel also does not provide free sleeping pills or prescription pain killers to make up for the neck ache or the migraine caused by the pillows and/or cheerleaders the following day. The hotel tries hard but the veneer of quality service is almost as thin as the walls between rooms. The in-room internet and the hot water remained sporadic at best. There are some cool trails to follow out back that all lead to corporate cul de sacs and business people on iPhones. The swimming pool was full of somebody elses kids. It was a birthday party and I believe they may have drowned the party planner, or maybe it was a pinata……Still, I will return someday, but it will probably be for the well received, nicely adorned Italian restaurant, La Grotta, and not for the vertigo inducing hotel and it’s eclectic clientele, no matter how limber they may be.