Friday, August 19, 2011

When the tub doubles as your washing machine...

The Yas Hotel in Abu Dhabi
I haven't stayed in many five star hotels in my life, and never for as long as I've been at the Yas.  For the first week, you walk around with a glazed look in your eyes and in awe that this is the place you call home.  After that, reality trickles in and you discover that even residing in a five star hotel has its challenges.  The first thing you realize is that it could break the bank to eat at one of the hotel's fabulous restaurants each night and that room service will add up quickly. This problem is easily solved by filling the minibar (that you had requested be emptied) with food purchased from local grocery stores, that are longish taxi rides away.  Now, you can feed yourself in your room for some of those meals.
One of two rooftop pools

BUT, the biggest problem you will encounter has nothing to do with diet, or the location of your hotel being as far away as possible from anything you will actually need, it has to do with clothing.  I am staying in one of the world's most renowned shopping areas, so it is not a problem to purchase clothing - there are over five malls within 20 kilometers and more are being constructed as I write this.  Shopping is, in fact, one of the biggest local past-times. The question is raised by the end of the first week: where are you going to do your laundry?

My make-shift washing machine
The hotel's laundry service is discounted, but even then, one smallish load will cost approximately $26 US.  There are no laundromats. There are only laundry services (and being unfamiliar with the area) with unknown reputations that charge by the item. Plus, this is an area where the water never gets really cold, testing color-fastness. So, upon listening to previous and current travelers, you learn to wash your clothes in the tub, create make-shift clotheslines in your room and finally, buy a drying rack that you will have to add to all the luggage and shopping bags you will cart to your final destination. 

What makes this visit to historical laundry methods bearable*? Being a resident at a five star hotel.

*But it also makes you eager to move into your own dwelling, too.

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