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Advertise on the Tentacle

January 15, 2006

Hotels, Hot Tubs and Cleanliness

Tom McLaughlin

Humor by Tom McLaughlin

The Hyatt Resort and Spa at Cambridge, MD, offered a special $99 nightly deal for residents of Delmarva. We decided to stay for two days. For those of you on the Western Shore, just pick a street number in Ocean City and tell them you live there. Most will anyway as it is a perfect place for a secret rendezvous.

Meet me at the Hyatt in Cambridge a whisper informs. Then one crosses the Bay Bridge as the other heads for B.W.I. with a ticket on British Airways.

The hotel was built on the grounds of an insane asylum along the Choptank River. Boats from Baltimore sailed down the Chesapeake and up the Choptank with their unfortunate cargo. The town continues its decline from the riots in the '60s with two years of National Guard occupation. Just the place for a huge resort complex. The genetic relatives of the former inmates are currently running the show as three entities, the Maryland Economic Development something, a Federal agency and the Hyatt all put up a third to build this boondoggle.

We arrived and discovered the valet parking cost $13 something a day. Declining, we were directed to the free parking in front of the Health Spa a good walk away. Cost conscious guests had worn a path through the landscaped bushes as the close valet parking lot lay almost empty.

During our stay, a meeting of Maryland County officials convened. Those who wasted our taxpayers' dollars availing themselves of the valet service included a car from Worcester County LG 56878, Garrett County LG 68169 and an undecaled car LG 71483. So much for my muckraking.

We got a room on the ground floor with the desk clerk extolling the virtues of an outside patio with chairs. It was 35 degrees. The décor was tropical with brown wicker everything with the bedspread a colorful equatorial design. The pictures on the walls were Eastern Shore. It looked like a compromise between the tropical-minded Hyatt people and the Maryland bureaucracy. On the table was a magazine for cigar smokers in a non-smoking room.

Free Eucalyptus everything from shampoo to lotions to soap sat atop the sink area and in the shower. Walk next to anyone staying there and they smell like one of those candle shops - including me. I forgot my magazine and had a good look around the floor. The worst and sloppiest grouting was in evidence. It looked like I did it. There were what I thought were blood spatter stains under the sink. Guess I have been watching too much Law and Order - all of the different ones.

The place has a thing about towels. In the bathroom is a plastic doorknob hanger sign that extols the virtue of saving the Chesapeake Bay and asks guests to reuse the towels. At the pool, you have to sign a piece paper saying you will pay $15 if you don't return the large blue sandpaper feeling pieces of cloth to the closet where two young people stood guard.

We settled and decided to watch an in-room movie. They cost about $13, which was cheaper than the local theater for two with popcorn.

We watched "A 40-Year-Old Virgin," which was a cross between Howard Stern and Pat Robertson. The movie was filled with teenage sexual humor - words and scenes, but at the end the guy saved himself for his new wife.

One other freebie HBO movies I attempted to watch was about a guy getting locked in a Target store overnight with an impotence-curing female. We rented a chic flick with shoes in the title. It was about a dysfunctional family (aren't they all?) and a relationship between a drop dead gorgeous lay-about, who paraded around in next to nothing, and her efficient lawyer sister. The slut sister drives her goody sibling insane and she quits her job at a prestigious law firm to become a dog walker. You know the ones parading around the cities with about 10 hounds strung together. Gosh, I just can't wait for the Academy Awards.

The pool was prop-airplane-hanger size and was surrounded by comfortable lounge chairs. Drinks in most hotels are very expensive so I usually don't buy anything; but a guy all the way in the back of the pool took it to extremes.

He had two lounge chairs together. On one lay a cheeseboard with Ritz Crackers and different types of cheese. A bottle of wine was uncorked and he had a wine glass filled with the burgundy liquid. (I thought Martha Stewart said it was white wine for the pools),

Later, he retrieved a martini shaker from his burlap-colored backpack and from someplace got ice and poured himself a what I think was a martini. This was all done while he read McCullough's "1776." I wonder if he just wandered in and slept there. A man after my own heart and pocketbook.

A hot tub that boiled and gurgled and half of it was outside. Heat evaporated in the form of steam in this self proclaimed save-the-bay, environmentally-conscious, towel-fanatic place.

Most normal people swam under the glass divider in order not to let in the cold air but one had to hold the door open which allowed all the warm air to escape.

A lady announced to everyone she was from Minnesota and was used to the gale-force winds and freezing weather. I told her to take her Garrison Keillor hind end and jump in the Choptank River a few feet away. She was not amused.

There is a patio with steps leading down a man-made "beach" along the river. I know from living on the Shore the area is infamous for stinging jellyfish from spring to late fall. I looked for the nets that had to be in place and saw the poles that secured them. I asked an employee if anyone got stung and he said all the time: $300 plus a night of welts.

The day we left, a Mary Kay cosmetics convention was coming in and we both decided it was a good time to leave.

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