Thursday, 26 June 2014

Feeling Special

We stayed in a great hotel at the weekend. We were in a standard room so the decor was basic. Well, I say basic, I think I really mean simple, which is good for me. Plain walls, simple bedding, no great piles of cushions and extras clogging the place up. I hadn't stayed in a hotel for many many years so I was fascinated by it and couldn't help but focus on what it was that made everything seem so great. 

Unsurprisingly, it was all the small things. We received a call to the room a short while after arrival, just to check things were fine - they were. Everything was where it was supposed to be and just so easy. Other than simplicity, the main things I took away were what I've been calling managed expectation, and the sheer amount of items that it takes to create certain things. 

Second one first, take breakfast. At breakfast we were seated at our table, offered tea or coffee and toast. Simple - as long as you didn't need to choose from the dozen or so teas and infusions available. So we already have cups, plates, cutlery, coffee pot, toast basket, butter plate, milk jug and a sugar pot on the table. As we'd mentioned in advance that we aren't meat eaters, we were offered hash browns and veggie sausages, they arrived in another couple of dishes. So off to the buffet. There we could choose from two types of fruit salad, three types of juice, water, all the cooked things, pastries, cereal, muesli, jams and spreads etc. You get the idea. All these small items, small choices going to make up just one simple breakfast. No wonder I'm always nipping to and fro when I prepare a meal at home - so much goes into even a simple snack. 

That leads me on to managed expectation. Even though we knew Dan had filled the form in saying we weren't meat eaters, it was so nice for someone to ask us if we wanted something rather than us having to ask for it. That simple act made us feel that the hotel was exceeding expectation - even though we'd done the work! If you manage someone's expectations, then it's easy to exceed it just by doing what you were going to do, no extra effort needed. There was a lot of choice on the surface, but everything is very measured, the initial offer is slightly less than you'd go for if dishing things up yourself, but then the server asks if you'd like more, so it seems like things are limitless. 

Same with the spa (which we didn't use), at check in we were told about the spa and were told that there was no need to bring our own things as everything would be provided, all we needed was a pound coin if we wanted to use a locker. This sounds like the hotel is making it easier for us, but it's not really, it's making it easier for them. But it sounds so nice, that I don't have to worry about anything. It's a great thing. You're being managed but you feel like you're being treated. When I think about that, I think about all the charming people I know, they have that way of making you feel special just by the way they speak, regardless of what the message is. 

The other managed expectation thing I came across was milk. On the hospitality tray there was, of course, cartons of long life milk. If we wanted fresh milk it was available, we could have as much as we wanted for no charge, but we had to ask for it. It's brilliant, no waste for them, feeling good for us. It's a fantastic thing, knowing what your goals are and doing them, knowing you can exceed them with little effort. 

I'm looking for ways to bring this into our everyday life, to bring about simplicity and to achieve goals but without having to make a gigantic song and dance about it.I can make my bed, or I can spend another 20 seconds and make it look really nice. I can not spend money and have some to put into the ISA, or I can actively save money and sock even more away. I think I'm at my training bootcamp at the minute but maybe soon I'll have beautiful hair and glide round like a beautiful swan, where no-one will see my legs flapping under the water. 


  1. I love this post. Your observations are very acute. We found the same thing during our weekend away. It felt great having all the choice, despite having to pay extra for it. The fact that it was all there to hand and had been managed for us was great, all we had to do was book the activities, pay and turn up. I imagine that is why they are so successful in spite of the cost. It makes you feel like you have been looked after, even though you are cooking your own meals and doing your own washing up.

    Like you it made me reassess my own life when I got home and the main thing I noticed was the clutter. The minimal décor of the villa made me realise how much easier it makes life, if you don't have lots of visual clutter. It's motivated me to do another round of decluttering shortly.

    The second thing was the exercise and activity. I really enjoyed doing lots of it and it's inspired me to seek out more and different classes in my area to attend.

    1. Thanks.

      We have already taken a couple of bags of stuff to the charity shop, a few items of clothing but mainly kitchen items, feels better already. I'm looking around at the things we have on display and wondering if it's time for some of it to have a holiday.

      I agree with you about the activity, you just do it without any thought. It's the easy option and it seems like the natural option. Things like TV aren't even a consideration.