Some years ago, I wrote that the people who design hotels must rarely ever stay in them. Evidence for this, while plentiful, was always of the “Yes, but…”, variety, i.e. one could find some quasi-rational excuse for why things were done a certain way, e.g. the swimming pool in front of the restaurant, the Econo-miser shower, and perhaps even the feminist toilet that is designed so that the seat never stays up. In fact, my wife would usually roll her eyes and give me that “Big, fat, obnoxious, Greek” look whenever I brought up the topic after a business trip.

But yesterday’s experience at the newly built Holiday Inn Express in Nepean, Ontario (a suburb of Ottawa) even had her shaking her head in disbelief. To be fair, this is a gorgeous hotel, especially when you consider that it’s part of Holiday Inn’s Express value-priced chain. It’s so new you can still smell the paint. The rooms feature 50 inch LCD TV’s, wonderfully firm mattresses, and in our case, a quite-large jacuzzi. So what’s the problem you might ask?

Here is the problem. Hold on to your hat. The room features an enormous framed opening between the bedroom and the bathroom, so that (I’m only guessing here) one person can be in the bedroom and still talk to the other in the jacuzzi, or refill their champagne glass…how romantic! But yes, you guessed it, you also have a clear view (both visual and auditory) of anyone using the toilet, sink, or shower! Remember, there’s no glass here. Just a large framed hole in the wall through which you can share every hung-over appeal to Ralph on the great white telephone, every sound of burrito-driven flatulence, or post-Salmonella gastroenteritis with your loved ones.

On our way out to our New Year’s Eve bash at my cousin’s house, I asked the young lady at the front-desk what this was all about. She blushed and said, “The designers thought it would give the room a more spacious look and some romantic appeal”. “But”, she continued, “We’ve had so many complaints, the Management is getting quotes on sealing off the holes with frosted glass”.

Just when you thought you’d reached a certain age and seen it all….along comes yet another brainless twist to amaze you at human stupidity.

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