‘Hotel Babylon’ isn’t just an expos | VailDaily.com

‘Hotel Babylon’ isn’t just an expos

Terri Schlichenmeyer

So, what are your plans for the holidays?Will you be home with friends and family? Or are you taking a vacation? Are your reservations made? If you’re heading out of town, you might want to take along a copy of “Hotel Babylon: Inside the Extravagance and Mayhem of a Luxury Five-Star Hotel” by Anonymous & Imogen Edwards-Jones (c.2004, BlueHen Books / Berkley). You might need it.Anonymous and when you read this book, you’ll understand why he wants to remain nameless works at a Five-Star luxury hotel somewhere in England. At this particular hotel, the front desk (where Anonymous works) has four-day-on, four-day-off, 12-hour shifts. On the day that author Edwards-Jones writes about, Anonymous comes to work at 7 a.m., and prepares for a full workload.The night before, there was a going-away party for Michelle, a co-worker who was quite popular, and Anonymous is terribly hung-over. On this morning, he’s working with Liz, who is in a snit over something, and she’s not pleasant to work with. At 8 o’clock, Tony, the concierge walks in; Tony is charming and accommodating, and he can get nearly anything that anybody wants, from medications to a table at the fanciest, most exclusive night club. Tony is a walking font of resources; Anonymous wants to remain on his good side.Today, though, the hotel staff is abuzz because The Texan is arriving. The Texan is oil-wealthy, and he tips very well. Contrast that with the woman whose husband owns some minor stock in the hotel (and who never tips) and the staff is practically lining up to toady to The Texan.As Anonymous’ shift comes to a close, the guy on the next shift calls in sick. Liz has a date, so Anonymous says he’ll stay for another 12-hour shift. He’s got Dennis the doorman, and Patrick the bellboy to keep him company. He’s also got five floors full of guests, along with the drunks, naked men, rich Arabs, prostitutes, insomniacs, temperamental chefs, and boarders that live, stay, and work at a Five-Star hotel.In his fifteen years of working in the hotel industry, Anonymous has seen everything, but rather than being a tell-all expose, “Hotel Babylon” is instead a book about the guests, and the people who work at hotels. Author Edwards-Jones admits that everything she writes about didn’t really happen in just one day, but the stories are true, she says, though most of the names have been changed. Obviously, there are real names of real celebrities in here, and those stories are deliciously catty. While this book will make you amazed and amused at the bad behavior of some hotel guests, it ends on a wistful note, which I thought was appropriate.If you’re going anywhere this holiday season whether abroad or just down the hallway to the kitchen – tuck a copy of “Hotel Babylon” in your pocket. It’s a book you’ll want to check out, and I say that with no reservations. VT

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