Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Some places, I just don’t belong …

My wife and I just returned from a long weekend in San Diego. The trip was a combination of a vacation and a scouting trip for a possible relocation to California. Yes, I might become a rare breed of reverse migratory Idahoans, starting out rural, moving to the City (Seattle) and eventually ending up in California. This is contrary to the flood of people who seem to be leaving California for Idaho.

We didn't do much scouting though. Instead we were occupied with the general tourist fare; i.e., the Zoo, Sea World, and the beaches. The highlight of the trip was a sea kayak tour of the sea caves of La Jolla. We had a great time and fell in love with town, what a great place to live.

The only negative of the trip was our hotel, The Ivy. It is a gorgeous hotel, don't get me wrong, and the staff is superb. The owners (a group out of Kirkland, WA) took a historic hotel, the first in San Diego to have a bathroom in each room, that had become run down and a home for transients and gutted the place. They created a chic new environment inside the traditional, turn of the century brick building. As part of the renovation, the hotel was equipped with several trendy, posh nightclubs and the marketing team skewered the hotel demographics toward the young, hip, and financially reckless crowd. The result is one of the most popular night spots in the city.

Come nightfall, the hotel throbs with activity. Crowds of club goers dressed for a night out in Vegas line up around the corner and loiter in the lobby. The security guards, dressed in black suits and ties monitor the elevators to make sure the only hotel guests and appropriately dressed women (tramp stamps and boob jobs preferred) can enter. Upstairs, on the roof around the hotel's chic, but rather non-functional, swimming pool is a hip bar where the waitress dress like strippers and bring two gin and tonics to you for $30. You can have a private table, if you pay $600 for bottle service. Inside the hotel, in our room, the feverish beats from the DJ in the bar and the din of raucous conversation echo off our 40 inch LCD TV until two in the morning.

It is an exciting place, ideal for a bachelorette or bachelor party, or for the traveling businessman looking to wear out his libido; but it was not for us. We didn't bring clubbing clothes; I don't even own any clubbing clothes. I only wear a collar at work or the golf course, not when getting a beer. I will be the first to admit that I am not cool, nor hip, nor trendy, but I never thought that day would come where just being me would make me feel uncomfortable at a hotel.