Sunday, September 7, 2014

Revelling in Luxury



My daughter and I had the excellent fortune to not only get a reservation for Saturday night in the beautiful Mayflower Renaissance Hotel, right off the Farragut North Metro stop, under budget through an Orbitz booking, we got there before 1:00 p.m. and they had a room ready and let us check-in early. Looking at the regular rates, my family has spent about that much on a small suite room for all 5 of us for a week in Florida. While not quite record breaking heat, it hit 94 and the humidity was so thick in Washington D.C., we were pretty drenched from sweat just in the walk from earlier hotel, through the metro stops, and to this one. We had thought we were going to just leave our bags to explore the Dupont Circle neighborhood, but the extra two hours, meant we could cool down, clean-up, and look human again before heading out. While our room was one of those tucked back off several hallways, we opened the door to complete luxury. Marble floors, a bathroom with double sinks and brass and porcelain handles, two fluffy queen beds, a sitting area, coffee amenities, and windows all around. Now the view was the inside area-tops of maintenance buildings and boilers. We ignored the view, but concentrated on getting the lovely light through the windows.


Ours was in a disposable cup but just as nice!
We did pull ourselves out the door, but the heat and humidity, lost us. Despite stepping in and out of several book stores, boutiques, and a couple name stores, and a patient wait for a couple Frappuccino’s at Starbucks, we headed back to the room for another relaxation break. Speaking of Starbucks, we would have much rather found somewhere more local, but I was surprised that we really didn't pass anything remotely independent, with the exception of the crowded coffee room in the book stores. Yet, there were three Starbucks in our 10 block walk, each backed almost out the doors with customers. I was disappointed that the streets and the little green space that surrounds the Dupont Circle wasn't crowded with city life-everyone appeared to be in Starbucks. Last year on this same business trip, I had a few hours to kill before having to be at the airport and spent them reading on a park bench, surrounded by people, barely being able to see the grass because of all the locals lounging on blankets and elbows. Even those that live regularly in warm weather have to succumb to the heat and humidity. We were greeted in the hotel lobby with a complimentary honey Jim beam and lemonade and an assortment of candy. It was a nice little touch on the afternoon.
Yum, tiki masala and na'an.

We ate at an uncrowded Indian restaurant; for the first 20 minutes, we were the only dinner customers. The food was delicious, and I can attest to anyone that doesn’t think vegetarian cooking will be hearty enough to meet their appetite, they only needed to see me waddling away from the table, having left food still uneaten. Spinach paneer, tiki masala, vegetable fritters, na'an, and sambosa's-I'm still full this monring. We got a brief reprieve from the humidity, as during dinner, the weather finally broke and it rained hard for about 45 minutes. We had a nice walk back to the hotel, though ended up walking a bit further, stopping for a beer that we both really were too full to enjoy. We were ready to call it a night, and headed back to the hotel, called home, and enjoyed the comfort of the room.

I'm sharing our day because in much of the reading I do about simple living, or decluttering your life, the impression is often left that simplicity means you should no longer or never enjoy some finer things in life. A little guilt steeps into the phrases used, and stories shared about how when the writer experienced something of luxury and splendor, they had to justify it as for a good cause, or they were a guest of a spend thrift friend that didn't get it, or when they arrived home, they would pay a toll by eating nothing but oatmeal for breakfast for a week. Simplicity should not be martyrdom. I do want to streamline everyday living, but not to taut a higher than thou zen like existence, but to better appreciate what I have, and who I spend my time with. This hotel and that dinner is not my normal life. I also have not had 24 hours of together time with my daughter in over a year-so that needed to be celebrated. The little splurging we've done was planned for, and we'll be back tomorrow in our norms. Today will be a last day of museums, snacking on street corner pretzels, and packing a couple granola bars to go with our complimentary beverage for the flight home. But for now, I'm going to kick back with all four pillows on my bed, sip my coffee, with real cream, and enjoy my morning.


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