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Can I Get a Hot Tub? And a Towel?

"The Really Real Housewife's" search for hot tub relaxation is a difficult journey.

Some people like to travel and get away for the weekend. I’m not one of them. My idea of a great vacation would be spent on the couch, with the hubby, being able to watch an entire episode of "Blue Bloods" without interruption. An hour would be fine.   

In my hour of escape, dogs wouldn’t have to pee, kids wouldn’t need rides and toddlers wouldn’t smack their faces into the solitary solid object remaining in the living room. No one would call, e-mail, text, break up with a boyfriend or suddenly remember that during off season for school supply shopping, they desperately need a neon yellow 2 inch binder.   

A getaway that didn’t involve going anywhere? Since I’m not a fan of driving, flying or any other modes of public transportation, the hermit in me thinks that sounds divine.    

We just returned from a road trip to Iowa State University where my son competed in the USA Diving Spring Region Championships. Despite my general disdain for travel, I was looking forward to this little jaunt. I enjoy watching the sport of diving and the hotel’s website showed photos of what appeared to be a soothing looking hot tub.    

The hot tub is the sole enticing factor for making any hotel seem appealing to me. Well, that and not having to brush my teeth in the supposed “sitting area” is a plus, too.   

The five hour and 50 minute “with traffic” promise turned out to be slightly misleading. It wasn’t traffic that I had to worry about. As soon as we crossed the mighty Mississippi, Iowa greeted us with a snowstorm that appeared almost blizzard-like. Fields of corn were erased by whiteout and cars and semi-trailers slid right off the road, dropping into roadside ditches. There were no guardrails, but perhaps that’s to keep those wayward vehicles from bouncing back into traffic to be struck by other cars. No one seemed to slow down there despite the conditions.   

My knuckles turned as white as the weather as I attempted to keep my rental car on the road toward our destination. I had left two hours earlier than the mapping software said I needed to, hoping to slip into that hot tub before my son needed to be on the boards for practice.   

After an eight plus hour trip, we checked into the hotel only to realize that we had no idea where the university’s pool was located. My attempt at googling an exact address for the GPS was a failure. Thank goodness my daughter had friends who attended school there and were able to give us an intersection.   

We made it with about a minute to spare and I had two hours until I had to retrieve him.   

Hot tub.   

I slipped into my new suit that slenderizes some curves while enhancing others and flip-flopped my way down a frigid hallway to the pool area. I probably should have realized that we were staying in a hotel for a children’s diving event and that those kids might gravitate toward the aquatic amenities. The hot tub was jammed packed with splishing, splashing, screaming rugrats. I retreated back to the hotel room and started to read a book in the sitting/tooth brushing area while waiting to pick up my son and drop my daughter off to meet up with her friends. Same usual evening events, just a different locale.   

Far from a fairy tale, I did feel a bit like Goldilocks. The bed was too soft, the food in the hotel’s restaurant was too cold and so bad that, should I ever want a career change, I certainly could work there as a chef. It’s good to have options, I suppose.   

Besides one other annoyance that first evening, which will be handled today with a carefully crafted letter, the kicker came when my son went to join his friends in the pool area and somehow managed to badly scrape his foot and knee in the hot tub. Preferably, you need both of those injury free for diving.   

He whined about the sharpness of the hot tub as blood trickled from a now bald spot on his usual fleecy knee. Perhaps “My hot tub’s too sharp” is a more modern version of the Goldilocks story.   

In the morning, I awoke before dawn to give the steamy bath a try. My son was right; each step in the tub poked at the skin. It felt like sharp gravel, but the warm jets were soothing. I cautiously submerged myself and if I didn't move, was able to relax for a while. And then "Sesame Street" ended and once again, my peaceful time was interrupted by the little ones.   

And just like home, there wasn’t a towel available when I needed one, either. I had to run back through the frigid hallway, dripping and goosebumped. Did I mention that I'm not a fan of hotels, really?   

My son didn’t have his best meet, but the whole weekend wasn’t totally a freezing, drippy mess. I had a lovely time at the team dinner party on Saturday night and I did get to read an entire book. I also found a website offering deeply discounted Jacuzzis for the backyard.   

I’d buy one, but it would probably always be full of rugrats and then I’d never have a towel. I think I’ll save them as my road trip specials.   

Do you like to travel and stay in hotels or are you like me and need a day off after a supposed getaway? What’s your favorite (or most dreaded) part of hotel stays? 

Lesley A Plage-rohrman March 05, 2012 at 05:55 PM
Again i could have written this myself,in less i can fly first class.I have zero tolerance for travel,hotel rooms or other peoples children.staying at home in peace in great i also don't mind having good friends over and enjoying time together over a great meal.
Jessica Sieghart March 05, 2012 at 09:59 PM
Hi Leslie-I actually don't mind kids, it just that a hot tub without peace and quiet, well, is just a bucket of hot water. It doesn't have the same relaxing effect. :) I've never flown first class, but it's the plane that bothers me so I don't think that would really matter much. I love having friends over and just chilling, talking and laughing. It's tops on my list!!! Xoxo thank you!
Jessica Sieghart March 05, 2012 at 10:00 PM
Arrggggh my phone auto-corrected your name on me :) sorry!
Pam DeFiglio (Editor) March 06, 2012 at 03:19 AM
Dear Ritz Carlton, Could you please send a limo for Jessica? She really needs a stay in a NICE hotel. But only if you have a hot tub--with a stack of warm towels nearby.
Pamela Krueger March 06, 2012 at 01:15 PM
I am confused...where, exactly, are you brushing your teeth? As someone who spends too much time in hotels for work (though not nearly enough time in them for vacations), I have no idea what the sitting area / tooth brushing section of a hotel room is. More important - what book did you read? And was it great?
Jessica Sieghart March 06, 2012 at 02:16 PM
Hi Pam! I think I hear the limo's horn outside! ;) Maybe that's the secret--a nice hotel!
Jessica Sieghart March 06, 2012 at 02:18 PM
HI Lala! The hotel room was really small. There was a King bed with a dresser and TV across from it and right next to the bed was a couch/coffee table. Across from the coffee table was the bathroom vanity because it didn't fit in the teeny tiny bathroom. If you come across that combo in your travels, I can't recommend it. ;) I read "Victim", the new book by Jonathan Kellerman. It was great, as are all of his books. He's by far my favorite in that genre.
Robin Rohrman March 06, 2012 at 07:35 PM
Chin up, Jessica...there's always St. Louis in the summer ;-)
Charles Gulotta March 06, 2012 at 08:45 PM
I really like hotels, especially new, modern, clean ones. But I hate when the sink is outside the bathroom -- who thought that was a good idea? Going to the pool is also not fun. Or rather, returning to the room dripping wet isn't fun. Great column, Jessica. I'm glad you made it through the snowstorm.
Jessica Sieghart March 06, 2012 at 09:52 PM
Hi Robin! Oh boy. Well, at least there's no blizzards in the summer :) I hope we'll be able to make that trip. I feel a cold coming on :) thanks you for commenting, Robin!
Jessica Sieghart March 06, 2012 at 09:56 PM
Hi Charles! All these things are just further testament to my superior survival skills :) The toothbrushing area belongs in the bathroom, for sure. it was probably decided that they could make the hotel rooms even smaller that way. Thank you, Charles! I've been meaning to get the hubby to cook your Spaghetti Recipe!

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