Hotels are a big part of any convention experience because you want to have a place to stay that is close enough to the venue that you can easily enjoy all the days you plan to spend at the convention. I have had to stay at least one or two nights in a hotel in well over 90% of the conventions I’ve been to and for the most part, they functioned as a place to rest at the end of a busy day; however, you do have some hotels where the experience is memorable for reasons that are either good, bad or just plain weird. In this entry, I’ll go over a few of those memorable experiences and note I won’t use hotel names since I don’t remember them all I’ll just note if it’s one of the convention-listed hotels or not.
So for the good, I’ll start with a hotel that I’ve actually mentioned before in a previous story. This story is from AnimeUSA 2019 at the host hotel and takes place right at the time we arrived. As I was talking with the person checking us in we were doing the usual song and dance of talking about why we were there and what amenities the hotel has to offer to help with that. In this case, this trip was a birthday present for my wife, at the time fiance, and was the last birthday gift for her before our wedding. Now I merely said this as part of the conversation but what I didn’t know was how much attention the staff was paying attention to my comments. After the first day of the convention my wife and I arrived back to our room and what we found took us by surprise. The staff left us a bottle of white wine, chocolate-covered pretzel cigars, and a note congratulating us. It was an act of kindness I greatly appreciated and won’t soon forget.
Another good happened back in 2021 when we went to The Hero Con. In this case, we really enjoyed how comfortable the room was and most of all how beautiful the view was from our window. Now we get a lot of hotels with nice views of the city but with this hotel, we got a view that was simply breathtaking, and rather than try and explain the view I’ll just let a picture do all the talking for me.
While a rare occurrence we do somethings have some rough stories regarding hotels with our travels and I’ll start with a trip to Megacon back in 2017. Now, this was the only trip out of all of my travels where I didn’t pick the hotel my wife and I actually traveled with another couple that we know and they made all the arrangements, which is also why I don’t know the name of this hotel to avoid it going forward but I do know it wasn’t a hotel listed by the convention. On our second day there we were on the elevator on our way back to the room after a long day and the elevator starts to shake for a moment. After the shake, a piece falls from inside the hotel and hits the tallest person right in the head. Now luckily it was a light piece and didn’t hurt him but it made us all very uneasy and we opted not to use the elevator for a while. The story sadly doesn’t end there because as we arrived at our room we found that none of our four keycards worked to get us back in the room even though they worked the day before so we had to call staff because turns out it was an error made with our cards at check-in that they had to resolve by coming out and giving us new cards. The rest of our stay was nice but this was enough of a frustration that we had no desire to ever come back.
Now fast forward to Galaxycon Columbus 2022 where my wife and I decided to make a solo trip. We made a last-minute change to leave Friday night and get a room closer to the venue and drive to the hotel we planned to stay in during the convention the next day to avoid having to wake up early Saturday morning. So the hotel I picked was about 10 minutes away in an area that I stayed at before and I picked an inexpensive hotel since this was just needed to sleep one day to avoid a very early wake-up call. We are about 30 minutes away from the hotel and I get a notification that my hotel reservation was canceled for some unknown reason. I called the hotel and they said my card information wasn’t correct which is odd because I’m a math person so I’m naturally diligent with double-checking information regarding numbers, but I’m also only human and capable of making mistakes so I assumed the error was mine. I logged on and managed to make a new reservation and we traveled the rest of the way to the hotel. We tried to check in only for the staff to not be able to process the card information with the actual card in hand which was very odd. For context, it was a credit card with no balance on it and was checked 30 minutes prior to our arrival. Realizing there is something wrong with this hotel I asked the staff, who were very nice and empathetic, to cancel the reservation and we very easily booked a room at the hotel next door.
Then you have stories that really didn’t have a big positive or negative impact on the trip but were memorable for being just very unorthodox. The first of these stories is from Anime NYC 2017 and took place in one of the convention-listed hotels. Now I want to note that the hotel itself was very nice but also very neon purple. I mean really neon purple. Now I knew the outside was going to be that way when I booked the hotel what I didn’t know was that the inside and the rooms were also neon purple and it was a bit of an overload for me. Now I did enjoy my stay but the lights stayed off in our room the entire time except for a couple of reading lights which were thankfully not purple. I have no issue with neon lights or the color purple but that much of it wound up being more than what I could handle in an environment where I was wanting to just sit back and relax. It was also our first experience with a micro-hotel which I thought was actually a really cool concept, especially where our bed converted to a couch with the press of a button to save space.
This next story happened at a hotel we got near My Hero Con in Birmingham back in 2021 and you could argue this was also bad. The host hotels were full so I got a hotel nearby and we went with a couple that we know. A different couple than the one mentioned in the bad stories. I take a nice hot shower and after I’m done I noticed the steam caused a handprint on the mirror. Now the other couple took a shower together just minutes before so I thought it was the remnants of a married couple doing what a married couple does. So I come out and joke they left a handprint only to find out they literally only took a shower so they had no idea what I was talking about. So now all four of us are at the mirror and we realized the handprint doesn’t match any of our hands so now we’re left wondering two things. Who did it belong to and how clean was our room. We looked around and found yet another handprint on the window in the room itself with a long crack. We were very thankful we were only in that room for a day and we decided to have an earlier-than-planned start to the next day to get out of there.