First in an Occasional Series on Hotel Life Down the Shore.
It’s the first Saturday in June and we are waking up to a full house at the Victorian Motel in Cape May. That means all 38 rooms are occupied with a total of 83 heads in beds, as we say in the industry. Slightly above two per room, which mean someone got grandma her own room, and a couple of families brought the kiddies.
I’m up at the crack of dawn to walk our five-year old Golden Retriever, Joy, who will become a lobby ambassador later in the day. At 5:00 AM, except for the occasional sound of running water, or the water heater firing up in the basement, beneath my bedroom, the building is peacefully quiet. After ten years of living in and running a motel on the jersey-shore, sounds of the building’s life are quite familiar. The sound of WiFi not working is the one sound you can’t hear in a motel or hotel, until someone knocks on the desk and tells you. Power surges at the far end of the Cape are the main reason for WiFi interruptions.
This day should go reasonably smooth. Full compliment of housekeepers, including two new ladies from Lithuania on J-1 student work and travel visas, make up the team to refresh or clean all thirty-eight rooms. On Saturdays, only a handful will actually turnover completely as most arrive on Friday for the full weekend.
At arrival, we have what we call the thirty minute syndrome. If a guest is going to have any issues during their stay, it will usually occur within the first 30 minutes after arrival. People can be tetchy after a two or three-hour car ride, especially if it was in traffic. My staff is acutely trained to be sensitive to this process and provide the utmost in customer service, and diffuse any issue or answer any question. It is striking to see the effect on people after just a half hour or more of being in Cape May.
The eighty-three guests waking up here today will join the rest of the visitors to Cape May, shopping, eating, and otherwise contributing to the local economy. Some will swim in the still chilly pool, barbecue on the grill, or head west to the West Cape May Strawberry festival.
Today will go smooth, I expect. Most of my guests this weekend are returning visitors. Explaining how to light the grill, or adjusting the channel line up on someone’s television should be the extent of it. But, it’s early, and there’s a new half-dozen arrivals, that have to get through the first thirty minutes. We’re up for it.