Friday, August 9, 2013

The key to a good hotel

Inevitably I get one of those darn key cards at a hotel and I make it all the way up to my room only to find out the thing doesn't work. I am muttering "I miss real keys" all the way back down to the front desk to get a new one. On my little work trip up to Billings, MT, I had 2 hotels with real keys! I've discovered that is how you know its a real good hotel. Yeah the bedding isn't new, there isn't a mint on my pillow, but how many of those fancy smanchy hotels provide you with an ice cold Bud Light and an hour of conversation at check-in? NONE!

The guy who owns the hotel with real keys....he lives in Alaska in the winter working with Alaskan Air Command through the military. Now I didn't really know what Alaskan Air Command was, but I did know he had some amazing pictures on the wall of the lobby. It turns out that Alaskan Air Command is a bunch of radar stations that were built to keep an eye on Russia (humm.....might be needing those real soon again!) Very top security clearance is required to get into the radar stations, but he has the opportunity to see some amazing site. He saw natives harpoon a whale (like a giant one!) and cut it up and pickle it...supporting a whole village plus some. He has pictures on the edge of Alaska where you can see Russia with the naked eye across the Bering Sea.....only 58 miles away. He has pictures on top of one of the stations on a clear day with the American flag flying proudly. He has pictures of the stations covered in ice...sideways ice.

I almost missed my golf to stay and listen to his stories of travels. What a neat guy and all because of a real key!


  1. Wow, how interesting! Made me curious to stay at a hotel with real keys again. I had stereo-typed them to be anything other than a good hotel, thanks for the insight! Sounds like you've had a great trip!

  2. That's awesome. I love real keys for hotels - feels more personal and less hotel-like.

    That guy sounds like he should write a book!


  3. I can guarantee you, the ONLY hotel in my town that has key cards, rather then real keys, is the only one we DON'T recommend to folks who are looking for a place to stay while they are here.....I'm with you Jen, real keys are the BEST. One of my favorite hotel experiences with REAL KEYS, was my stay at the Nordic Inn in Alpine, WY...the people who own that hotel sound a lot like the guy you visited with, they get you a cold drink and tell you some amazing stories....they were born and raised in Star Valley, and are there in the summer months to run their hotel and spend their winters in New Zealand where they own a place cool. It's amazing what kind of people you can meet and visit with if you just take the time.... :)

  4. Wow...that's amazing! What a cool guy. And he has cool keys. Was he single?? ;)


  5. So which hotel did you stay at in Billings that had a real key?? I've stayed there a lot and never had a real I'm intrigued...