Tru by Hilton Lobby

Throwdown Thursday: Tru by Hilton or False?

On our recent drive from Boston to Las Vegas, we stayed in a wide variety of accommodations. While some were fancy, and others humble, Paul and I generally agreed on their relative merit. The one place that we did just not see eye to eye on was the Tru by Hilton that we visited in North Platte, Nebraska. While Paul loved it, I saw it more like a low-budget hotel that was trying too hard to be cute. Let the Throwdown begin:

Heather: I can’t believe what a sucker you were for the Tru by Hilton experience. The place was basically a college dorm on steroids.

Tru by Hilton Lobby

Paul: Not sure what your college dorm room was like, but mine was a wannabe morgue. Waking up every morning with the thought of “Is this what death is like?” is not ideal for an education.

Tru does the Southwest Airlines thing, tries to inject a bit of fun into a service (i.e., mid-tier short stay hotels) that is often viewed as purely functional, somber, and a necessary evil. What’s wrong with a few bright colors, funny sayings in the bathroom, and a pool table in the lobby, or as Tru labels it “The Hive”?

Heather: I found the whole vibe to be oppressively positive. Let me tell you, I do not need my hand soap to preach joy at me.

Tru by Hilton Soap

Paul: OK Wednesday Addams, I know whimsy falls well down your to-do list, behind cleaning toilets and clothes shopping, but how can a bit of levity be this offensive? I don’t laugh at every corny joke the Southwest Airline flight attendants pipe through that scratchy intercom, but I admire the effort.

You’re just upset that we looked like idiots when we could not immediately figure out that the circular desk (known in Tru by Hilton form as the Command Center) in the Hive, was actually the registration desk.

Heather: A “bit” of levity? Levity was screaming from every orifice of that place. It wasn’t only the hand soap. The hair dryer, the shampoo, the elevator doors, the front door, the room key, and the “do not disturb” sign all had something they needed to say to us. I was exhausted just reading all the perky signage.

 

Tru Hotel doors

Paul: Was your exhaustion allayed at all by the good IPA available at the front de…I mean Command Center? That was nice after a long trip to have some decent beverage and snack options right there. And they were there with the bottle opener when we needed it too.

Yes, the room might be a bit modern geometric to make the best use of space, but the bed was comfortable, the blackout curtains worked, the shower was decent, and despite the festive atmosphere, the hotel was quiet. They hit the key deliverables while throwing in a bit of life coaching on the side. I just don’t see the harm.



Heather: I am really not looking for life coaching in my hotels, thank you very much.

And yes, the furniture. This is the second part of my beef with the place. The furniture was the cheapest, ugliest, 1972-iest furniture I have seen in decades.  I mean really…

Night Table

 

You call this a night table? First, it is ridiculously small. No way my glasses, water glass, iPhone and noise machine all fit on that Halloween toddler stool. Secondly, it is ORANGE. This is not helping me shuffle off to dreamland. And finally, where are all the fancy plugs to recharge my gadgets overnight. Again, I say, 1970’s dorm room.  No thank you.

Other “amenities” included a hard linoleum floor with no carpet or padding anywhere. So when you step out of the shower with wet feet, you are at risk of cracking your head open all the way to the bed. The room has hooks on the wall rather than any kind of closet whatsoever. And what serves as a “desk” is just a narrow block of plasticky “wood” on two legs. I would like to have words with the “stylist” of this fresh hell.

Throwdown Thursday: Tru by Hilton or False?Click To Tweet

Paul: It’s Dada meets Bauhaus furniture baby! It’s like a piece of absurd but functional art right in your room. You’ve got to just roll with the vibe and embrace the aesthetic.

Of course, in the hotel that we visited in Davenport, Iowa that logic would have meant trying their jet-powered bidet – which would obviate the need for a colonoscopy ever again. Not saying I tried it, but really, they should make the off button more obvious!

Heather: We’re going to have to agree to disagree on the Tru by Hilton, I think.

Still can’t believe you used that bidet in Iowa…

 

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online poker

Throwdown Thursday: Online Poker Duel

We are now eight months deep into this current pokerless void, and something must be done. As we have mentioned before, we were very fortunate to be on a poker trip to Tampa Bay when the world stopped spinning. I believe we got in exactly one tournament back home in early March before the world REALLY shut down. And since… crickets. While our neighboring New Hampshire opened their poker rooms over the summer, we have not been in a position to enjoy the live game, and likely won’t be for months yet. Which brings us to online poker.

Paul and I both played online poker before Black Friday, and Paul recently wrote a heartfelt plea for all states to make it legal once again. Recently, we have had some opportunities to play on the Pokerstars home game site. Paul is so happy to get back to some form of poker (any form of poker) that he would play daily if he could. I, frankly, hate it. So we thought, what better topic for a Throwdown Thursday. Online poker: love it or hate it?

First up is Paul, lover of all things digital.

Paul: Playing vs. not playing at all seems like a no-brainer. Live or online: you play your cards, track your opponents’ tendencies, and come up with the best strategy to win. Seems like the same process to me, absent the occasional political discussion that makes me put my headphones on.

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Throwdown Thursday: Diet or Die. Surviving the Sugar Detox

As we prepare for our poker pilgrimage, Paul and I know we need to shed some pounds.  Being in shape will be critical to fully enjoying our poker travel lifestyle. We’ve spent a lot of time in the past year talking about losing weight, but pretty much no time actually losing it. Enter the sugar detox diet.

We were both in great shape about four years ago. However, fitness rapidly wanes when your primary forms of entertainment consist of poker playing, TV watching, and wine drinking. After the fish tank epiphany on our summer cruise, we decided it was time to get serious about shaping back up. Last month I happened to come across an article about a sugar detox, which led me to Mark Hyman’s, book The Blood Sugar Solution. Which led us straight into hell.

Paul: Maybe gorging ourselves on my birthday weekend with every bagel, piece of cake, croissant, bottle of wine, etc. that we could get our hands on was not the kind of prep we should have been doing. Following that with a week of no carbs, no sugars, (even fruit is out), no wine, and no caffeine is no picnic.  With only water, tea, meats, vegetables, nuts and a waning will to live to subsist on – our house wasn’t pretty.

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Cruising sunset

Throwdown Thursday: Trivial Thoughts on Cruising

Heather’s mother recently treated us, along with Heather’s kids and brother, to a mid-summer cruising vacation. Originally, the main event was to be a two day stay in Havana, but a Presidential edict quashed that plan. Thus, our family Cuba excursion morphed into a day in Key West, a day at sea, and a day in Nassau, Bahamas.  This was Paul’s second cruising vacation, while Heather is a relative long-term cruise veteran with a whopping four cruises under her life jacket.

We are now back from our cruise and have some thoughts:

Heather:  Oh, thankfully that is over. I’m ready for a full human being detox. Jeezus, but those cruise lines can pack them in.

Paul:  Eh, we were waited on hand-and-foot and never had to wash a dish for 5 days. I’ll take a few crowded elevators and faux Las Vegas shows in order not to touch a sponge for a week.

Heather:  I think I’d rather wash dishes. But then, you tolerate people better than I do.

I also walked off that ship feeling like a goose that had been prepared for the slaughter. I think I gained five pounds in five days.

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Tag Team Switch Poker Tournament

Throwdown Thursday: Will We Survive a Poker Tag Team Switch?

A few months ago, Heather and I debated the merits of playing in the World Series of Poker Tag Team event. We ended up deciding that the costs and risks didn’t make sense.  But as we were planning our Las Vegas trip and the poker tournaments we would consider, we stumbled upon a much less expensive tag team tournament at Planet Hollywood.

The significantly lower cost and “switch” element had Heather intrigued once more and me returning to a foetal position pleading “don’t make me!”.  Instead of playing one stack of chips and alternating players at will, the “switch” aspect means we each get a stack. When the tournament director announces “switch,” we trade seats and play the other’s existing stack. Basically this now doubles the chance that Heather will view me as a moron by tournament end.

So, of course, we’re signing up for this, because why not; except for all the reasons I listed in January. So the following is our live throwdown of this event.

Pre-Game Jitters

Paul: I am very concerned that we will not be speaking to each other by this evening.

Heather: It’s simple.  Just don’t blow off my stack.

Paul: Even when playing my brilliant, sophisticated game, bad luck happens. AA gets cracked. Which by the way will be my story no matter how I bust out. I may pay off my table-mates to confirm this.

Heather: If anyone tells me that my husband lost my stack playing 7-10 suited, you’d better run for the hills.

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