While celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary this weekend at the beautiful and historic Langham Huntington Hotel in Pasadena, I had a disheartening revelation. I am a 5 star kind of gal. I am too fond of the heart palpitations I get as I slide my pink card into the horizontal slot on the heavy cream colored door, turn the heavy gold lever handle and push the door open. I am too in love with the reveal of a foyer with a wooden table, and off to the right, the glimpse of an acre of all white bedding, the corner room with heavy silk striped drapes closed, cocooning the room against the late afternoon sun. My ear is way too comfortable with finding and enjoying the classical music which plays on the clock next to the bed, a svelte, easy-to-operate rectangle of convenience, with a clear one button on switch, and a port for my iPhone should I choose to play my tunes.
The marble-encrusted bathroom suite with its wide array of queen bed sized bath towels and elegant toiletries in the leather box, the tub which is long enough for me and my husband to sit in toe to toe without bending our knees (practically, and we never would fill up that Mariana’s Trench of a tub in this drought). All of these things make me swoon, and we had just arrived.
The lamps all have sliding on/off switches which allow us to set the mood in the room- bright for reading, dim for gradually beginning to shut out the concerns of the day. But as I have come to realize, in the five star world, there are few if any concerns.
When we stepped out of our car, someone took it and parked it, bringing our luggage to our room, brought us ice.
The fluffy robes were there, as were the simple white slippers, wrapped in their wrapping which let us know that they were first and only intended for our use.
We will have afternoon tea in the hotel lobby at 12:30 today. Each juncture of our stay has been thoughtfully marked, as someone has always asked “are you celebrating anything today?” And I, with pride, have said, “our 30th anniversary.” This has resulted in a card on our table at dinner which read “Happy 30th Anniversary, Mr. And Mrs. Collins!” evoking a slew of giggles from us both, as we are name-abundant, my husband using two, a professional and a legal name and I having clutched onto my own, even 30 years ago when it was not the fashion; so he has been afforded a third name at our dinner together.
Our table looked out onto the horseshoe garden, configured with an army of white chairs to face the terrace, and we sat and watched the fastest wedding ever unfold between our Caesar salad and our entrees. The bride, gorgeous in her fluffy tiered feathery waterfall of a dress, the groom handsome in his formal black suit, and the guests rapt as the ceremony unfolded on the terrace, just out of our view. It was also silent, but we could see the musicians, a trio of strings, bowing enthusiastically just in front of our window, with the photographer darting around taking shots. There is nothing more appropriate than watching a wedding on your 30th anniversary to remind you of what has come before. A perfect, five star synchronicity.
The petals strewn on the bed when we returned from dinner were pink and numerous. Had I been there when it came time to get into the bed, I would have allowed them to cascade down on the floor around the bed with nary a care as to their collection. My husband, however, is too kind and generous to be a five star kind of guy. He is a three star man from simple roots. He picked them up off the bed and threw them into the trash bin whiled I was going home to get the pills I had forgotten at home. (Whole other opus, that).
By the time we arose from the depths and splendor a of the white acre of sleep, when I peeked through the curtains, the army of chairs had doubled, and repositioned themselves with their backs to the terrace now, standing at the ready to face a small stage on the lawn in front of them.
At breakfast in the Terrace Restaurant, which fronts out onto the pool, we sat at a window at the spacious, round table large enough to deposit the New York Times in the center without inconvenience, and ate our simple breakfast; my usual steel cut oatmeal with berries, and Jimmie a special one, eggs Benedict. And while we ate, near us on the restaurant mezzanine level, a pianist and a bass player softly serenaded us with pop tunes from the 40s.
So, moving on, back to our very comfortable, mind you, three star life, here are my plans.
1) I will engage a concierge who can make my dinner reservations. That should be a fairly simple job, because more often than not we go to CPK, where reservations are not necessary.
2) The piano bass accompaniment to my oatmeal breakfast will be a very steady gig for the two musicians I hire. I have the piano, and they can zip in and zip out over the span of the breakfast, which usually falls between 8:20 and 8:45. Contact me if you are interested….
3) The rose petals and the subsequent clean up (my husband can be re-trained to let them fall by the bed so we can tromp them all over the apartment) are, again, a nightly visit and a morning clean up, but feel free to contact me if you are interested.
4) The rest, the lovely patio with the water fall, is a bit large for the scope of our balcony, but then, we can always retire to our condo’s poolside terrace for our late morning second cup of coffee. We may need a butler to help that become a five star experience.
Returning to the life we love will be hard, but we always know where to come for refuge.