Hotel Room Drapes

Recently I spent a weekend in a hotel room in the Albany area while my wife attended a dermaplaning class at The Aesthetic Science Institute (ASI); she works as an esthetician in Fayetteville.

On the Sunday afternoon, while my three-year-old son curled up on the bed and fell asleep, I could not turn on the lamp to read or flip on the TV because I was afraid the bright light or the noise would wake him. I’m sure parents of toddlers can relate—you don’t mess with nap time. So while I had nothing to do, I listened to the AC unit purring and studied the drapes fluttering. And I thought about the loneliness of hotel rooms—especially on a Sunday afternoon.

I thought about all of the lonely people passing solitary hours in hotel rooms scattered across the globe. If I could have listened to music, I would have selected some Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison or Hank Williams. If I could have read a book, I would have chosen a Kerouac paperback or Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley: In Search of America—or even pulled the Bible out of the drawer and thumbed through the New Testament.

But with the baby sleeping soundly nearby, I dared not move. Instead, I pulled out my phone and captured the hypnotic motion of the drapes blowing. I wanted to freeze the ephemeral moment and preserve it digitally.

Later on, when I thought about the scene, I was reminded of Edward Hopper’s Hotel Room (1931).

Hotel Room (1931) by Edward Hopper.

And just a side note: the best part of my hotel weekend was being able to get fresh diner coffee from the Denny’s nearby.


Second Look: Hotel Art

I spent a recent weekend at the Wingate by Wyndham hotel in my hometown of Rome, N.Y. Besides the amenities of a free daily breakfast, a 24-hour fitness center and a coffee pot in my room—which I consider a necessity—I enjoyed another perk I imagine most people overlook when roaming through lobby of a hotel or grabbing a soda at the vending machine. It was the collection of artwork hanging on the walls of the lobby, in the hallways and in my room.

Hotel Art #1

I think the abstract works were acrylic paintings or mixed media pieces, and it was obvious they were all made by the same artist, although I never determined his or her name. The prints were mounted with navy blue matting and had wide silver picture frames.

I admired the simple, elegant designs and lush color schemes. Tan, orange, rust and turquoise colors dominated the surface, and what looked liked black graphite markings outlined circles, squares and other shapes filled in with acrylic paint. The textures, patterns and colors invited the viewer in, but did not overpower or call attention; the effect was a feeling of serenity.

Hotel Art #2

If I needed to rehearse a business presentation in my room I would welcome the chance to glance up at these paintings, taking a visual break from memorizing the notes, charts, graphs and sales figures. I think looking at the artwork would allow my mind to wander briefly, getting lost in the landscape of colors and patterns. Perhaps the reverie would relax me, making me feel less nervous about the presentation and even lowering my blood pressure.

Obviously hotel art does not attract attention like a Warhol or Dali exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art. And in the rush of checking in, carrying your bags to the room, swiping your key card and flipping through the HD channels on the television, you could easily miss some of the art pieces scattered throughout any Marriott, Hyatt, Crowne Plaza or Sheraton hotel in America.

That’s because hotel art is invisible, like the maid pushing a cart in the hallway or the frumpy lady clearing the breakfast dishes. But the pieces are there, just waiting for us to look at them. The paintings in my room seemed to say, “Hey we’re here anytime you want us. No pressure, though. Enjoy your stay.”

Hotel Art #3

And this recognition made me realize I have to sharpen my sense of awareness, being open to the possibility of making discoveries amid the bustle of keeping on schedule and crossing off items on the day’s itinerary.