Welcome to day 15 of 31 Days of Heterotopias: Motels and Hotels, a month of posts about how motels, hotels, and inns function as heterotopias and liminal spaces in society. (More about heterotopias and liminal spaces.) Each post will look at these ideas from its own vantage point, which may not obviously connect with the others, and which may mention motels and hotels only peripherally or may focus on them without referencing heterotopia or liminality. I won’t attempt to tie the posts together. They’ll all be listed here, as they are posted.
We (spouse and I) are staying at the Hyatt Place in Owings Mills for a wedding, which took place last night; it was beautiful, loving, joyful, fun, and perfectly orchestrated. The bride’s family is Greek, so there were Greek dances, Greek music, the exchanging of stefana (crowns) during the ceremony, with a koumbara who moves the crowns — connected by a ribbon — from the bride’s head to the groom’s and back.
The appetizers (mini shrimp and grits, mini crabcakes, fabulous artichoke bites, mini tuna tartare), drinks — a French 77 with St. Germain was the signature cocktail! be still my heart — and 3-course dinner were all delicious, and I felt fortunate to be sharing this festive and joyous occasion with good friends, some of whom I’ve known for almost 40 years.
Meanwhile, back at the hotel, it’s been a mixed bag. Checking in was great — we were given a lovely gift basket we didn’t expect, with local beers, perriers, local Utz crab chips, local chocolate caramels — thanks to the bride and groom. (No photo because we consumed most of it before I thought of that.)
The room is spacious, with a sectional, desk, and small kitchen in the living area, a king bed, a sink/vanity and closet outside the bathroom, where there’s a roomy shower and a toilet. There are lots of outlets, good lighting, and so far our room, at the end of the hallway, has been quiet.
On the negative side, there is a fridge but no microwave (food, like our leftovers from an Indian dinner the first night, can be heated up downstairs in the sort-of public kitchen); the closet is small and hard to access; the shower leaks (you can see the towel we put down on the floor in one of the above photos); housekeeping is hard to come by (we had to call the front desk at 2:30 yesterday to find them, and so far no one has come by today, at 11:30); and worst of all for me, there is very little room to put things in the shower. This is it — my shaving cream and razor are on the floor:
There is also little bureau space, just those small vanity drawers (shown above) and some cubbyholes under the flat-screen TV.
The location, while not walkable to anything, is pretty good for us, only 15 minutes from the wedding venue and about 30 minutes to downtown Baltimore. It’s actually also only a few minutes from the neighbourhood we used to live in in Woodstock, MD, so we swung by to see the old house yesterday. We also took a 3-mile walk on the Soldiers Delight trails, only 10 minutes from here.
All in all, though, our complaints are minor in the scheme of things. This is one of those times when the hotel is just a landing spot between happy social events with good, long-time friends. As the wedding program notes, “Everyone of us is, in the cosmic perspective, precious … in a hundred billion galaxies, you will not find each other.” But the bride and groom found each other, I and my college friends found each other and have held on, and my accommodating, generous, and sweet spouse and I managed to find each other, too.