Friday, June 22, 2007

Alyeska Anniversary

Tiffany and CompanyOkay okay I'm back! Betcha didn't know it but I've been posting from afar as Andrew and celebrated our wedding anniversary.

I haven't said much about life lately but things have been a little tough around here. Sickness, death, accidents, fires, family separations, for some reason our family and friends have been hit with more than their fair share. I haven't posted about it because 1) they're not really my stories to share 2) I don't like posting about failures or tragedy--it's just not something I care to dwell on and 3) despite being a blogger I really am a rather private person and have a hard time throwing family drama out for public inspection.

Mt. Alyeska Girdwood, AlaskaBut having said this perhaps you'll get an idea of how much Andrew and I were looking forward to getting away for a mini-trip. Just a quick escape to enjoy the beautiful Alaska summer and remember the good things about the last 15 years. We drove 45 minutes south to Girdwood and checked into The Alyeska Prince Hotel (or The Hotel Alyeska) at the base of Mount Alyeska.

The room, the view, the weather, the dinner at The Double Musky Inn, the pearl bracelet (woo hoo my man has good taste), everything was perfect until 2 am when we were rocked out of our luscious king-sized heavenly fluffy bed by the sound of an alarm blaring and a man's voice saying, "Your attention please. A fire has been reported in the building, please evacuate immediately. Do not use the elevators. . . "

Then the alarms went crazy and lights flashed. After the way our lives have been lately we totally thought we were going to die. We just expected it, given the way our family's luck had been going lately--that this was the Other Shoe we'd been waiting to have drop and stomp us out.

Stumbling through hallways with the other guests, it took a while to get down (we had requested a room on the top) and soon we were mingling in the parking lot glad to be outside and watching things go down.

Half an hour later they determined it was a false alarm and we were allowed to re-enter but can you imagine how jittery we were after that? I couldn't get back to sleep for an hour and then was brutally hit by the alarm again at 7:21 when the scene was repeated. The alarm turned off quicker this time but it happened three or four more times that morning. Sure makes for a pins-and-needles experience when you can't decide whether to get in the shower for fear of having the alarm go off. Do you go down to breakfast and run the risk of having to leave your meal for another evacuation? What if they're wrong and it really is a fire and after we start ignoring the false alarms we all get burned up in our beds?

Yes, my mind jumped to a few conclusions but given our history can you blame us?

The real kicker was that when we were awakened the second time and went to leave we noticed that even with the chaos the staff had kindly been around and left the traditional "Expedited Checkout" card under the door. Maybe Alyeska's idea of an "Expedited Checkout" is different from other hotels, complete with mood-enhancing emergency sirens, but I couldn't help but think that when they advertised a romantic "getaway" package what they really meant "Get Away! Run for your lives!"

We comforted ourselves with the thought that we'd at least probably get a voucher for a free night's stay or something to comfort us through the night's irritation but no, they expected a full payment. Evidently that Towering Inferno ambiance doesn't come cheap.

I'm including footage from the evening's excitement--how often does one see a hotel fire drill anyway? Notice how bright it was even at 2 am even in a wooded mountain region? That's Alaska at solstice for you. And if you're looking into a night's stay at the Alyeska Prince better bring your ear plugs. You're going to need them.




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35 comments:

Heffalump said...

That is so weird. My parents were on their way home from Colorado last weekend and were staying at a hotel in Ogden and the same thing happened to them. Only once though, but a false alarm. Must be more common than I thought.

Wendy said...

That sucks! And no refund or credit?? That is typical Alaska summer tourism business/seasonal workers for ya. Geesh! I remember that attitude when I lived in Alaska. Now you need a vacation.

my4kids said...

Oh that would really irritate me. Maybe the one would be excusable but after going on all night they should have refunded at least partially since you can't really enjoy a romantic getaway outside in the middle of the night with other couples.........

Corrie said...

I am glad it was a false alarm, I wonder what sort of premium they would've charged had it been the real thing?

I suppose it wasn't quite the change of pace you'd hoped for - but maybe it can only get better from here. ;)

jchevais said...

Golly. Strike that hotel off of my list (that doesn't exist) of hotels...

Don't [most] people go to hotels to sleep? If their alarms suffer a malfunction (evidenced by not one false alarm but several) I would think that they were not living up to their part of the bargain (ie. you get a good night's sleep and they get paid for having provided you a restful place).

Geez louise...

Robin said...

What a nightmare - literally! I'd contact the management to ask for a refund or a vouch and then write to Conde Nast Traveler's Ombudsman if that didn't work. After all, what are you paying for in a hotel if not a night's sleep.

I'm sorry things have been rough for your family lately. I hope brighter days are ahead. (Can I say that the day after the solstice?)

chelle said...

ugh ... that would totally be frustrating!

Hope that concludes all drama and that the summer brings peace, fun and quiet!

Jenn in Holland said...

Oh, my! We had the same thing happen too at a hotel in London a few years ago. It does make for a memory that's for sure.
Sounds like you will need a weekend away after your weekend away!
And was that a Tiffany's box? Woo-hoo!

Melissa R. Garrett said...

Oh, Michelle. I am so sorry.

Happy Anniversary?!


This happened to my husband on a business trip, also more than once that night. Scary.

AuthorMomWith Dogs said...

Funny how life piles up sometimes like that... Hope you're all done now.

G's Cottage said...

Maybe someone should forward Christine Kane's final exam "Are you saving money or losing" post to the Alyeska Hotel management. Bottom line: don't mess with bloggers.

Sandy said...

Note to self: While in Alaska, Do NOT visit that hotel!

At least you'll have a memory to share with the grandkids of that crazy anniversary you spent there, right???

Daisy said...

Never a dull moment, right? Next vacation, maybe you'll send the kids off to grandma's and you'll stay home!

crissybug said...

How bizarre. I can understand the first time, but after that you would think they would have a handle on it. What a bummer way to end your getaway. I guess atleast you will have a great story to tell.

binkytown said...

Damn. Don't these people know you have CHILDREN? And you were on VACATION? Where you go to SLEEP?

The nerve. Hope you still enjoyed the getaway.

Leslie said...

That reminds me of an apartment complex I lived in - I was on the 8th floor and the fire alarm frequently went off like that for a two week period. Not fun.

Still, it sounds like the rest of the trip was good. Your bracelet is lovely!

Scribbit said...

Thanks, yes it was not a restful nights' sleep but the trip really was fun regardless. The next day we took this hike that was the most fun I've ever had hiking. I'll have to post about it next week if I can. . .

Ivry said...

Great bracelet, bad timing!
It's too badvacation have to come at a price like this!

I second the posts that spoke of refunds. I wonder how open the hotel personnel will be to that!

Ni Yachen said...

Well at least you were away from the kids and at a hotel. The past couple of days the kids have been our false fire alarms. Every couple of hours during the night one of the comes up the stairs screaming. We have add all the fun a the alarm without the mini-vacation. :)

Amy W said...

Can you please tell your husband to have a chat with mine?

Sorry to hear about the alarms...

PunditMom said...

Sorry about the "excitement." I give the hubby high marks for the turquoise box!

Becca said...

oooh...and they did it to Alaska's favorite blogger, too. Shame...shame...I was in a false fire alarm at a hotel once. I was in high school at the time...what a surreal experience. Your pearls are lovely.

Erica said...

It's outrageous not to get a discount!!

Thea said...

That's just horrible, but your post made me laugh a little bit, I must admit.

I hope you were able to enjoy yourself despite the chaos!!

Marie said...

fire alarms are scarey. Once when my husband I were living in an apartment building an alarm went off at 3am in the winter. You live Alaska, I live in Alberta. We both know what winter 3am is like. In pajamas and snow boots.

It was a false alarm, which is a relief, but it made me so mad!

Morning Glory said...

What an ordeal!

The bracelet is truly beautiful and Happy Anniversary!

minerva said...

I'd be SOOO mad! I'd complain to someone...who, I don't know. Maybe just on my blog to my loyal readers. :)

An Ordinary Mom said...

Life never seems to go as expected! If it is too easy, something must be wrong :) !! Hope you enjoyed your anniversary.

J Fife said...

Happy anniversary! That Tiffany's box is yummy.

allrileyedup said...

Wow, that short video clip gave me a headache from all the ringing. My condolences to having to go through that several times. And my congrats on your anniversary and a clap on the back to your hubby for picking such a pretty bracelet. Wow, I'm sending you lots of virtual expressions tonight.

Poppy Fields said...

Can I give a prize to the first person Iknow that filmed a hotel fire alarm?

Christie O. said...

oh my! what a trip! you definitely shoulda gotten another night out of them. they stink! happy anniversary, anyway! hope things start to look up for you and your family :)

JAM said...

Wow, sorry about the friend's and family woes.

Glad yoose guys got to get away.

I'm thinking that, although I've never been to Alaska, that I'd like it a lot. Any place called the Double Musky Inn would be all right with me.

Loralee Choate said...

You know, between bong lighting and towering infernos, you are having quite the dramatic life lately!

It's refreshing in someone so normal.

:)

janet said...

Lordy! I'd have had a panic attack.

Why does my husband after almost 30 years not give me gifts like that?