Hotel Life is a book which dives into the real meaning of hotels. What society has said hotels really mean and what the hidden meaning and power of hotels really is. This thought provoking book was co-written by Matthew Pratt Guterl and Caroline Field Levander in 2015. When people are proposed the question why did you stay at a hotel? People often reply with something along the lines of “I was on the road and I needed a place to sleep,” but that is a simple utilitarian answer which doesn’t fully convey the “unspoken needs, wants, hopes, and desires” which often people believe a hotel can give them.
The novel is broken down into four parts of hotel life, space, time, scale, and affect. Each one of these aspects is what makes the importance of the everyday hotel room.
In the start of the aspect of space the novel addresses a movie written back in the 1930’s called Grand Hotel. The movie begins with an overhead shot of a telephone wire, while you can’t hear any one conversation it is apparent that everyone seems to be living great lives. You hear an old man say “All the best people are here.” Now know that this scene was filmed during the Great Depression and was made to keep people’s hopes up. Showing that just the idea of a hotel can make a safe space. The contrapositive of this very open very happy “space” was a hostile environment which showed that not always are hotels the safe place that Grand Hotel portrayed them as. The example used in the novel is Charlie Sheen and the great disaster in the Plaza Hotel. One night Charlie Sheen desecrated a hotel room and was found with alleged porn-actress Capri Anderson locked in the bathroom. He had caused more than twenty thousand dollars in property damage and had to be constrained by the police before Capri would leave the hotel room. This particular story shows a complete contrast to the safe space which was the Grand Hotel. This two stories have become complete reverses of each other representing different views on how space can be used.
In the other section of the four that I will discuss-affect-the novel talks about what sort affect a hotel can have on someone who can go the whole 9 yards and buy a gaudy hotel room lavish with sweets and king sized beds but it can also be a place where fortunes can be undone. At the start of this section we are presented the idea that when the rich go to a hotel they go to “hit the refresh button on their bodies, souls, and sexualities within the hotel”. The book shows us that when the wealthy and upper class go to a hotel they go to have a great time and party and altogether just relax. While that is the success side to a hotel the failure side is a lot chancier. While on the success side it is the side of a lucky person who went to a vegas hotel or someone who has millions of dollars lying around. On the side of Failure we have the lone human being who thinks that if they go to a hotel they could experience a piece of wealth or become the lucky man who went on to win millions at the vegas games. This man at the end though goes home with less money in his pocket and the realization that he may never be rich and that whenever he goes into a hotel he realizes just how far away he is from the lavish life that the rich live. He walks away believing that he has in some way been cheated from the wealth that the upperclass have or the luck that some other man had during a fortuitous game of black Jack. While the man with a fortune walks away feeling revitalized in every way, the failure walks away feeling as though he has been beaten and has not really gained anything in the way of their hotel trip. Those two opposite affects make up the layout of a hotel man’s experience.
I didn’t address the other two sections because I didn’t want this entry to seem to long or to make reading the book unnecessary. This book takes a strictly academic course which will more often than not discourage most casual readers. I would say that this is definitely an adult read due to the in-depth analysis of “the cultural, social, and political implications” of a simple hotel stay. Personally I think this book is a great book, but it is a bit of a hard read.