Okay. I admit it. I’ve made it through twenty-three letters of the alphabet and I’m finally stumped. Or was. I wasn’t even bothered by ‘u’. But “X”. That stopped me dead in my tracks for a minute. I have never been one to give up easily, though.
Oh, I could have copped out and taken the easy way and written about x-rays. But I’ve never taken the easy way out in my life and I’m not about to start now.
I may have been momentarily flummoxed, but it didn’t last long. I love a challenge anyway. So determined to do the letter “X” justice, I googled interesting words that start with it. There was more than I expected to find, but one stood out.
Does anyone out there know what it means? I sure didn’t.
Well it means love of hotels. Who would ever have guessed that? But it suited me to a “t”, because I do love hotels. The photo, by the way, was taken in the lobby of the hotel where I stayed when I was in Delhi, in India. Decorated for Christmas. Absolutely magical.
Arriving at the Imperial Hotel at about 2:30 in the morning, after travelling for eighteen hours, after spending well over an hour looking for missing luggage in an insanely-crowded airport, adjusting to a twelve-hour time difference, AND, then being greeted by this sight. It was just staggering! Something I’ll never, ever forget. We just had to sit for a while, and take it all in.
The Imperial, by the way, has an interesting ‘story’. It was built, by S.B.S. Ranjit Singh, after King Emperor George V declared New Delhi the Capital of India; and it’s still in the family. Today, The Imperial is owned by two of Singh’s grandsons. It was designed to be one of the finest monuments of Lutyens’ (Sir Edwin Landseer Lutyens, the great British architect, who is best known for his instrumental role in designing and building a section of New Delhi) grand vision of the Capital City’s original master plan: A unique blend of Victorian, old colonial and Art Deco styles.
Because it’s filled chock-a-block with priceless collections of art, The Imperial has been designated as a museum. It is home to the largest collection on display of land war gallantry awards in India and neighbouring countries, like Afghanistan, Burma, Bhutan and China. Plus it has a very large record of orders and decorations bestowed by the King, the Emperor of India as an honour to the local Maharajas and ruling Princes of different Indian states.
Each floor in the hotel is devoted to an artist whose original works adorn the walls of the rooms and the corridors. Even the lobby lounge has period art. They offer tours, and they’re well worth taking.
From the time the hotel opened in the late 1930s, you could find yourself enjoying a beverage next to the King, or even Gandhi. In fact, Pandit Nehru, Mahatama Gandhi, Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Lord Mountbatten would meet there to discuss the partition of India and creation of Pakistan. The Nehru family even had a permanent suite there. Lucky them!
So back to why I love hotels. Why I’m a ‘xenodocheionologist‘. Wow! That is quite a mouthful. I love that ‘cared-for’ feeling you get in hotels. Nothing to do, but sit back (or lay back on one of those gorgeous hotel mattresses) and let others do all the work. Someone else makes the bed. So much better than I do. And is there anything lovelier than turn-down service? It is such a welcoming sight to come back, after an evening out, and the bed linens are folded back, inviting you to just slip between those beautifully laundered, silky smooth, high thread-count, pure cotton sheets.
And who wouldn’t appreciate a chocolate, or a beautiful flower waiting on their pillow? Or knowing that no matter how messy you are, tidying up and cleaning the tub or the shower is not your problem. No laundry to do, either.
Then there’s room service. Nothing I like better than room service for breakfast. I don’t know why, really. Often the food isn’t as hot as it could be (except in India, and how they manage that I don’t know). But I don’t care. It’s just the idea of it. The fact that I can decide what I want, hang a card outside my door, and stop thinking about it. Until there’s a gentle knock, at the appointed time, in the morning.
It’s a wonderfully indulgent, luxurious gift to give yourself. Lifting the chrome cover off the plate, taking a moment to admire the pretty fresh flower adornment. Pouring your first cup of coffee from the thermos. Taking the little paper cover off the glass of orange juice. All while you have a bath running and your preferred morning news show on the TV. All while you’re still in the thick terry robe you’d love to take with you. All yours to enjoy, but with no effort on your part. All you had to do was ask for it.
The dirty dishes? Just leave them. Someone will take them away. You know, I believe I’d be happy as a clam living in a hotel permanently. Spend the rest of my life being a guest.