Rate the IL Hotel!–SWB edition
Live from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, it’s time once again for Rate the IL Hotel!
Here’s your host of Rate the IL Hotel!…..the only guest who demands a room on the 13th floor….Jason Benetti!
Thanks for the warm welcome everyone, good to be back with you. Well, maybe not you. Most of you. This time around, our contestant is:
The Radisson Lackawanna Station!
Yes, this lovely stopping point used to be more of a going point. Travelers from faraway places like King of Prussia used to linger inside this current hotel for the eastbound 5:26. The train station was renowned for being a source of creativity for husbands in explaining to their wives why they needed to stay overnight at the dye shop again.
- Internet which works. Huge point-booster. Shouldn’t be, but is. If hotels in America would spend less time infusing almonds into bath soap and more time making sure that the wireless internet was functional, we’d all be much happier as a race. Editor’s note–Hilariously, this blog is delayed in posting because the ballpark internet did not work.
- The lunch buffet. Scranton, once a regional powerhouse, has–as many cities–been hit by the recession. Finding a place to eat near the hotel is not a simple task. The saving grace here is that the in-hotel food is spectacular. For $12.50 (and a bit less with a coupon the team’s given on day one), I gorged myself on a well-appointed salad, chili, BBQ beef, pasta, mashed potatoes, fruit salad (with watermelon pieces) and carrot cake. While it is not generally deemed socially acceptable/desirable to nosh where you nod off (see Round, Ground), this historic locale is the exception.
- The overall theme. I don’t go to many Planet Hollywood restaurants. If I wanted to sift through movie history, I’d click around imdb.com for a while….or buy a Jean Claude Van Damme box set. In addition, I tend to frown upon Hard Rock Cafes, Rainforest Cafes and any establishment where part of the cost of placing an armchair or a bandana behind Plexiglas is defrayed to the customer. That said, I appreciate the feel of the Radisson. Immediately upon entry, the high ceilings, old-timey bulbed chandeliers and general glow of the location make the guest realize that this ain’t your typical roadside respite. Just outside the elevator doors on each floor sits a monumental wooden bench where a waiting passenger might have sat. With the abundance of hotels a baseball traveler sees, something novel is nice.
- Specters (not Arlen). The hotel is allegedly haunted. I say allegedly not to invite the ghosts to make a believer out of me next time. There are stories of players seeing children whose heads spin 360 degrees. There are stories of players answering the door, being asked by a snazzily-dressed man if their room is OK, then calling the front desk, describing the man and being told that nobody who works at the hotel fits such a description. One Chiefs player told me last time that he didn’t believe his roommate was in when he arrived. The player was then startled to see a blinking blue light in the corner of the room along with a voice. It was the roommate on his cell phone. The place can make even the strongest unhinged.
- First floor massage person. Walk past the front desk toward the elevator and do your best to ignore the door adjacent to the reception area. Inside that entryway resides a man or woman whose sole job is to outdo Fran Drescher in annoyance and top Superfan Mark in Buffalo in the persistence column. Typically, there is a person soliciting massages as you walk by. Not solicitation in the we’re-affiliated-with-the-airline-so-take-our-credit-card way. The person chats you up about whatever’s on his or her mind–the weather, the bag you’re carrying, Elian Gonzalez, whatever. Then, with all of the subtlety of a cattle stampede, the person asks if you’d like a massage. Not until you quit the soft sell, Rubdown.
- Railroad rules. During the early years of American transit, the U.S. government banded together some like-minded people who enjoyed things like cabooses and coal and formed the Interstate Commerce Commission. Its job was to lay ground rules for the American mass transit systems predominantly when being used for shipping products or product inputs. When formulating these policies, the ICC failed to stipulate that trains should not be able to pass directly beside hotel room windows. This lack of diligence continues to debilitate Northeast Pennsylvania sleepers to this day. Boy, I thought the railroad industry was dying. Not so, says the 7:46 delivery of tungsten Friday morning.
Overall rating: 38. Great food inside along with internet which blends into the stay because of its high-speededness. I could do without the possible undead, the probable backrub blitz and the guaranteed chug-a-chug wake up.
Until next time,