When people hear that you travel for work, there is usually some follow up conversation about how lucky or how cool that is. And I’ll be the first to say, I’ve gotten to see some cool places, in my first job in particular…And with this job, I get to see London a lot, and I get to large cities on a regular rotation which means it’s easier to fit in seeing friends. And this trip was Brussels (see Friday’s post!), which despite lots of time in Europe, I had never actually visited.
But work travel also can be not cool, and not lucky. Delayed flights and work demands don’t leave much free time or energy for exploring a city, and nothing can replace the comfort of being at home with your family. And while hotels are a substantial upgrade from where I used to stay as an unemployed student, they can quickly become a drag. For example, take this little number of a hotel, the Sheraton Brussels. Now, is this hotel worse than where millions of people are forced to live in the world? No. But they charge nearly $300 a night and that leads you to have expectations. Like internet. Hey, as my fellow traveling and consultant friend says, if the Courtyard Marriott in Topeka can do it, any hotel can do it.
This falls into what I call “UN hotels” – you find a spate of them around the UN in NYC and Vienna – and apparently in Brussels, a city known for it’s European Commission expense accounts. It’s got that certain 80’s look that involves a lot of wood paneling, cigarette fumes that have literally bored into the walls, lots of carpeted corridors that lend themselves to people like henchmen of African dictators or leather jacketed EOD’s lurking in the corners, and dial up internet. Yes. It exists. The Sheraton has it. But since everything is so globalized and standardized, it at once amazes me and intrigues me that you can find gems like these scattered across the globe.
Here are a few shots of some of this mediocrities that amuse me – but perhaps it’s only funny to just me.
|spacious room so won’t complain, but love the choice of veneered bamboo for a real belgian feel.|
|yep, you can find non flat screen TV’s out there!|
|Note the weird keyboard provided for any typing needs, which you can do from your dial up internet.|
|nothing says modern day business facility like yellow grout and dingy hardware.|
|refreshments? I actually think this is really cute.|
|don’t forget to flush!|
|for a quick weight check!|
|maximum cold water pressure in the sink.|
All photos by The New Diplomat’s Wife via iPhone.