Sunday, January 27, 2013

how it all began

It was about two years ago.  My wife had left our good, stable jobs in Birmingham, Alabama to attend a year-long spiritual school of ministry in northern California.  We decided to spend the first year of our marriage doing something we would never do again.  Well, we got more than we bargained for.  To save money, we lived with eight other people in a ranch-style home that was dark, damp, and less than cozy.  Mrs. H's parents came to visit, and after a few days in Redding we went to San Francisco.  We were tasked with finding a reasonably pricedfun hotel for the four of us to stay in.  Now you need to know that Mrs. H can discover anything online.  So after much effort we decided on a charming boutique hotel in the city.  We quickly discovered that the website had some serious photoshop going on, and this place looked way more to similar to our very humble abode than it did the quaint retreat we thought we were signing up for.
The Ritz Carlton, San Francisco
We got into SF at night and were exhausted, so after much discussion, we decided to go with a reliable option and stay at the Ritz.  That's when everything changed.  The Ritz-Carlton has a way of making everybody feel like royalty, which is what we all really want, right?  I don't want to be a rock star, usually at least, but I do want to feel valued with just the right amount of attention and self direction.  Our room was a far cry from our usual digs in Redding.  For starters, we were ALONE.   That's when I realized hotels are healing.  They create an open space for reconnection and love.  I would sit at the window in our room and admire the architectural details on the building, dreaming about a day I could experience such beauty more often.  That trip did something for my soul.  It was more than a nice vacation.  The presence of beauty restored me to a place of dreaming and belief.  Our time in California even inspired us to pursue hospitality as a lifestyle, taking us to work for one of the best hotels in North America, Blackberry Farm, learning hospitality hands on, and finally starting our own hospitality consulting business. For that reason, I am forever ruined for a good hotel, restaurant, or retail operation. May beauty continue to expand at an ever increasing rate and conquer the world we live in.  

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