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Last weekend, I traveled to Albany, New York, to celebrate a friend’s birthday and to run the MOHAWK HUDSON MARATHON.
The HOTEL ALBANY was the host hotel. It was formerly a Crowne Plaza, but now a Hilton Hotel Affiliate. The employees couldn’t have been any nicer or more helpful. Dominique was at the front desk for my check in. I am a Gold Hhonors member, and, for that, she not only upgraded me to a decent room, but to a beautiful two-room suite on the highest floor, which was freshly renovated.
This was a group trip. A friend from my local running club was turning 50 and she decided to celebrate reaching a new age group by running a marathon. So, about 100 friends traveled to Albany (many of us in a chartered bus) to join in on the merriment – about 40 of the group were running the marathon, another 40 were running the half-marathon.
After the birthday pre-marathon pasta dinner, I returned to my suite. I put my clothes and gear together for the morning (a marathoners’ ritual!) and then set out tried to relax. I kind of laughed. This is a suite meant for a raucous party or at least some glorious hoopla. But, here I was, alone, no sex or drugs or rock ‘n roll, having to go to sleep early in order to wake up at 5 a.m. so I could leave at 6:30 a.m. on the bus to the marathon start in Schenectady, N.Y. I sipped on my blue Gatorade and thought … wow, what a fucking waste of a beautiful room! Still, an upgrade is an upgrade and proceeded to climb into my king-sized bed.
I became aware of a loud humming buzz. It emanated from the newly renovated ventilation system. It felt like the walls were reverberating. Earlier that day, when I first got to the room, I asked housekeeping about the buzzing. I was told with a shrug of the shoulders that this was in all rooms in the “29” line. Knowing the hotel was fully booked, I didn’t say anything further. But now it was evening, and I was trying to go to sleep, and noises are always worse when you’re trying to go to sleep. I fidgeted with the dials, to no avail. I couldn’t fall asleep so I turned it off. But then the room got too hot, so I turned it back on. I put pillows over my ears. I turned it off. I turned it on. I thought I’d fall asleep soon, but the hours passed. I did not sleep all night.
Perhaps I should have read the USA Today article “Tips for Sleeping in a Noisy Hotel Room,” before this trip, but I didn’t, so I didn’t think to carry earplugs or white noise machines with me.
I really felt awful complaining to the hotel. After all, they treated me like a princess and gave me an incredible room. But still, I didn’t sleep a wink. Were the bragging rights worth it to have a gorgeous suite? Of course not. In hindsight, I would have gladly changed the room for an unrenovated standard room where I could have slept like a baby, or even like an adult.
Despite the lack of sleep, I psyched myself up for my day and my marathon. I’m a trooper and a Pollyanna at heart. The marathon was flat and breathtaking. It is primarily on paved bike trails that follow the Hudson River. The weather gods were good to us and the fall foliage was spectacular. All in all, it was a good day and a great weekend. Yes, I was smiling when I crossed the finish line.
Sleep or no sleep, it was the kind of marathon I’d go back to again and again.
In case you are curious, I did inform management about the problem in the room. They were cordial, apologized, and gave me some Hhonors points.
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