How Nice is Nice?

I’ve felt so fortunate in recent days to be staying at some of the nation’s finest hotels and resorts.  Gone are my youthful days flipping through AAA guide books trying to find that gem of a 2-diamond motor inn that impress at the off chance they’d made serious improvements since their last evaluation.  Long behind me are days of partially bringing my own bedding because the cleanliness and comfort of those with which I’d be snuggling were in question.  I no longer need to pack flip-flops for walking around the bathroom.

I’ve flat out been staying at nice hotels for the last decade.

But how nice is nice?  I’m not one of those who consider the use of the word “nice” cliché or redundant or cliché or redundant (J).  I think I’ve experience three levels of nice. 

First, consider that when on travel, I can no longer consider staying at any property which isn’t at comforting as the place I call home.  Using my home as a baseline for nice – anywhere I stay that isn’t at least as nice as where I live is regrettable. 

A hotel which exceeds my expectation in multiple ways is “super nice”.  Any hotels with any combination of their own brand of bedding, customized toiletries, unique shower heads, fine spa facilities, a handsome lobby, elegant furnishings, pleasing color schemes, desirable restaurants, kind staff, refreshing scents, or inspiring views – to me is a super nice place to stay.  Because my apartment does not share in an abundance of these amenities.  When I call home to my parents and report on how cozy the pillows were, I’m speaking of a hotel that was super nice.  The vast majority of hotels I book my clients in for conferences, use for my family and friends, and stay in personally would fall into the category of super nice.

But we must explore the two wonderful levels beyond super nice.  The next level up is a place I’ll describe as “silly nice”.  I hesitate to use specific examples, so excuse my bias temporarily, but the following hotels I’ve stayed at recently are “silly nice”:  Westin Moana, Bellagio, Greenbrier.  Silly nice hotels can’t help but make you smile.  The amenities here are at a level which literally leaves you tickled and often asking, “how am I here?”  When I sit on the bench of my historic room, listening to crashing waves and staring out of two windows at the bluest sea I’ve ever seen, it’s silly.  When I gaze out my window, with the backdrop of the Vegas strip lit up like the Vegas strip (only simile which makes sense here) at a fountain show which still gives me chills every time I witness it, it’s silly.  When I walk through the endless hallways of a luxury resort from a time long ago, where Gone With the Wind meets the White House, it’s silly. 

And finally, there are those extremely rare hotels I classify in the category of “stupid nice”.  These hotels are so above and beyond my expectations, they wow on so many levels, that while I’m giddy from them being silly nice, I also feel nearly idiotic for being there.  Again, pardon my bias, but I’d call Wynn and Encore stupid nice in my humble opinion.  When my hotel has a Ferrari dealership and when my room has its own spa treatment room in it, I’m feeling quite clownish.  

So don’t fear the word “nice”.  I won’t even stop you from using it.  I’ll just maybe ask for clarification the next time you decide to use it.  How nice?

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