Monday, September 28, 2009

Confessions of a Travel Writer - Liz Style

I just got back from a travel writer's tour of northern New Mexico. It was just fantastic and I'm going to enjoy writing about it. But between you and me, there were some things that just weren't right. Warning: Watch out for the low light rant!

I checked in to the absolutely gorgeous, newly remodeled St. Francis Hotel and had lunch in their new corner restaurant. The waiter was so friendly and professional and we found since it was Sunday that there was a brunch menu. I hate eggs, but the waiter and the cook were extrememly accommodating and I ended up with a blue corn chicken enchilada, calabacitas and beans.... wonderful!

After I checked in to my room, I enjoyed some time with my friends who live near The Plaza, went to dinner at Maria's with my travel writer friends and returned to find.... dark, dim lighting in the room. I suppose it was romantic, but since I was traveling alone, it didn't put me in the mood. It just made it hard to unpack and check my itinerary for the next day.

OK, here goes. Here's where I say what I don't say in my official writings. Whether it be a rant or a rave, here I can let it all out!

Low Light Rant

So I returned to my gorgeous room decorated in elegant minimalist style and found that I could barely see in the mirror. The basin was in the bedroom, actually. It was one of those trendy high basins. But the mirror was small, and located directly behind the basin. There was no way I, with my nearsightedness, could get close to the mirror. And there was a simple decorative globe to light the sink area. It did have a dimmer switch but it only went from lightly dim to really dim!

I brushed what I believe were my teeth and went to bed wondering how on earth I was going to put on my make-up in the morning. I finally decided that I would wait until sunrise and then open the curtains to take on this challenge.

Let the Sunhine In

Good morning! I looked forward to a day of traveling in Santa Fe and gleefully opened the curtains waiting for dawn. When the sun came up, the glare in the one and only mirror was blinding. I tried my best to comb my hair, put make up on and check my attire in this little mirror with the dark lightbulb. We became weird sort of friends as I almost sent my back into spasms leaning around the basin to check whether my lipstick was actually on my lips.

I have to admit that I am an elder and thought that I'd be the only one who had this issue at the Hotel St. Francis, but lo and behold, a 30-something travel writer had the same issues. A 50-something writer chimed in that she wished she could see in the mirror as well and couldn't.

Another High End Hotel with Miserable Lighting

Toward the end of the stay, we checked in to the beautiful, eclectic, art-filled resort and spa in Taos named El Monte Sagrado. I was pretty excited to be assigned the Crazy Horse suite (named after South Dakota's Chief Crazy Horse) as had climbed the mountain where they are sculpting his likeness.

But I digress.... I walked into the suite and immediately had to open the curtains. It was another low-light nightmare! The whole resort was decorated in this meant-to be-soothing low-light. My suite was like others in the American Indian wing. It had "romantic, soothing, relaxing" low light. Bah Humbug! If I want romance, I'll light a few candles!

I have to give El Monte Sagrado some credit. They had a long counter for toiletries and had installed one of those lighted make-up mirrors so I could actually see my face without breaking my back leaning over yet another raised sink. But OMG... the adjustable make-up mirror didn't adjust as far as light went. It was low light or nothing! And, there was no way to let sunlight into the room to help me with my morning routine. I even called the desk and asked if there was a dimmer switch I wasn't finding. They said no... no dimmer.

Meanwhile my 30-something and 50-something friends who had suffered along with me at the Hotel St. Francis, were in a gorgeous suite decorated with some sort of South American motif. They had dimmers on their bathroom lighting and had no complaints. I was jealous!

What's Your Experience?

End of Rant! I look forward to stories from readers who have experienced the stress of grooming in a low-light environment. I also welcome comments from readers who love the romance of low light. Comment away!!!!