The title of owning a hotel sounds as impressive as that of a racecar driver. And while this isn’t exactly a hotel in the traditional sense, the actual particulars of it are about as sexy and glamorous as Victoria’s Secret senior citizen line of lingerie.
For a while in my youth, I came to accept the fact that things like professional basketball player and child astronaut were simply not feasible options. Jobs like owning my own hippopotamus and becoming President, while good in theory, failed one too many times to ever become viable career paths.
I’d sit there in school, dreaming up elegant vocations and how to go about achieving them. And although many of these thoughts involved swords and magical balloons, rarely did any of them last past lunch time. Additionally, my teachers said they were weird: my ideas were not weird. Weird were those those piles of human feces found last month in the Senate.
When we acquired Los Cuatro Tulipanes, I also bought myself a book off Amazon called How to Manage a Hotel, The Easy Way. The book really simplified what I was looking for: a tell-all manual that would magnetically make me the most knowledgeable and researched hotelier outside the Hilton family tree. The book, while sold at a reduced rate of $7.98, also threw some skepticism in the mix, revealing that if The Easy Way version existed, surely too existed option number two: The Hard Way.
In hindsight, the acquisition was not unlike buying a pamphlet on How to Return a Roger Federer Serve—the perfect example that theory and practice are frighteningly unrelated.
For the first few weeks, I carried the book with me everywhere—meals, meetings, sporting venues—and made special efforts to expose the cover and title as clearly and unmistakably as possible. When people would see that I was reading a book on hotel management, they’d indefinitely know what I was up to. Well that was the idea at least, until I dropped the darned thing in a cab somewhere—been searching for it ever since.
Without my book, I opted to lean on a message I once heard on a nighttime radio talk show back in the states. The host had this soothing voice of a librarian—relaxing and gentle—and told me (along with about a hundred other listeners) that life’s best lessons are learned not through literature nor lecture, but through experiencing them on ones own. I recall a man calling in, first complimenting the host on her “wonderful and insightful program”, then asking “why, if life’s best lessons were learned through experience, was his uncle currently lying passed out in a bath of his own blood?”
It was a fair question really.