By its nature a hotel is a fluid environment. The whole business is set up for short stays. Not just guests checking in for a night or two but staff. A lot of staff are young, these are student or first jobs. The more senior roles are also transient, normally involving rotation through sites. It is almost as if the hotel rejects roots or ties, pushing off relationships in favour of one night stands. When you check into a hotel you are part of a high-speed rotation. You check in for a night or two, maybe a week. The room is turned before you arrive and after you leave. You leave no impression on a hotel, no mark is made. A hotel is just a consequence of a journey for most and rarely the purpose of a trip.
There is a circadian rhythm in hotels that continually rotates life. Like those time-lapse videos of nature the cycle of check in, sleep and check out speeds through. You have memories in your home but you often celebrate in a hotel, where do these memories go. It is almost as if hotels have some protection, some special coating that prevents memory association. But behind this rhythm there is another slower pulse. Running in an asynchronous orbit are us, the residents. Our stays are not measured in mere nights or weeks. We outlast managers and staff; we measure our residence in years. Our stays follow a pattern we have explorers, those that identify our future home and chose from those in the area. These early adopters scout out our prospects like freelance estate agents.
The scouts are followed by the mass, those needed to complete a project the group that become like wallpaper, a feature of the hotel. Then come the ancillary, the support team as it were, these are the suppliers and the back room staff that spend a night or two with the group. We are the hotel in our own way during this time, we know our rooms and the staff know our routines. We are the ones that are catered for specially, the ones that attend parties and the ones that are generally accommodated because we have a longer history than anyone in the hotel. Our timescale may not be that of the guests but we still have the same steps, extended over years but they are there.
Our long orbits interact with each other like a special minority. I check into a hotel and after a year or so, a short time in our world, I meet the Coca Cola team or water board team that I have worked alongside before. We are not synchronised but we all follow the same path. And so it is that when I see the last of a group sitting alone on the couch that used to be reserved for his group I say hello and we share a pint. I have been in his shoes and I will be in his shoes again, in this case maybe sooner rather than later. We may well meet again as we have before over the many years that we have lived this unusual life. There are only a very few of us, as an example all of my colleagues remain in the top 3% of Marriott room stays worldwide.
We live a unique life and when you think about it you will realise it is not an enviable one. Remembering every corner of the world by hotel rooms is not for many. Few would exchange the loving embrace of a partner for the paid smile of a receptionist. But there are those of as who know this life and that live it, the next time that you are in a hotel look out for us. And you know what I said about hotels and not being able to record memories like homes? The truth may be that it is us, the residents that are custodians of those memories. It is us that meet and discuss our memories of other establishments, it is us that remember previous rules and carry them forward where beneficial. In short we are the soul of a soulless existence, if you think us odd then imagine what we think of you.