2020 NBA Playoffs
Disney World Diary: At home on the road? That's never the case
As nice as some hotels can be, they can never replicate your own digs
ORLANDO, Fla. — I’ve been in this hotel room for 40 straight days. It’s the longest time spent in a space that wasn’t my home, long enough to make me forget what that home feels and looks like.
That might seem like an eternity, 40 days. And no doubt, that’s a good amount of time. But this is the life I chose, not just back in July when I first checked in, but decades ago when I first got into this business.
There’s a link on most major hotel websites that reveal how many nights you’ve spent in their hotels, and I did some research to uncover this sobering statistic: I’ve spent almost 13 years of my life in a hotel room.
This is because I’ve traveled extensively the last 30 years, going to basketball games, baseball games, hockey games, tennis tournaments, golf tournaments, winter Olympics, summer Olympics and other reporting assignments. For several of those years I traveled with an NBA team, which meant 41 road games, then the playoffs and The Finals.
And that’s not including leisure travel to visit family, friends and for vacation, and basketball tournaments and track meets with my daughter.
Before this NBA trip to Walt Disney World, the longest I spent in a room away from home was 28 days in Sydney, Australia, for the 2000 Olympics. I stayed in a dorm there, which counts as a hotel room for me.
So, I’m an expert on hotels. I know when to book, how to get the right price, where to stay in any American city and some international cities. I know about beds and instantly can tell whether one will make for a long night or a comfortable one.
I’ve stayed in one-star hotels and five-star ones. Stayed in a hotel that had a mouse (Philadelphia) and one with a suite with a wraparound view of the city (Las Vegas). Stayed at a hotel overlooking a stadium and saw a home run (Toronto) and one overlooking a golf course and saw a birdie (St. Andrews, Scotland) and another overlooking a watering hole and saw a leopard (Kenya).
My shortest stay in a hotel was four hours and that was this year in San Francisco. I went to see Luka Doncic play the Golden State Warriors and it just happened to be on a night of a major convention. Every decent hotel in town was booked solid. Even the crappy ones were getting $300 a night if you could find one.
I roamed the city after the game, desperate and tired, and finally stumbled upon a room near the airport that charged $450 (normally $100). I checked in at 2 a.m. … and my flight home was at 7 a.m.
Here at the Coronado Springs Resort, inside room 2184, there’s a desk, bed, shower, sink and closet, which means the basics are covered. The small refrigerator is a perk. The view is of the parking lot. It’s a motel-style room, which means your door opens to the elements. It’s on the first floor, normally a strict no-no for me, but I’ve grown to accept it. There’s no complaining in restart basketball.
After all these years (roughly 13, actually), most of these rooms tend to look and feel alike. Some are obviously better than others. None can replace the comforts of home. Someday soon, I’ll get back there.
But right now, there’s a knock on the door. It’s housekeeping. Again. I’ve already forgotten what it’s like to make my own bed.
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