Awesome experience at the Hartford, CT Marriott

By | August 27, 2009

August 27, 2009

[name elided]
Hotel Manager
Hartford Marriott Downtown

Dear Mr. [name elided],

I am writing to compliment your hotel and its staff for a wonderful recent stay by my family.

We were driving home from New Jersey to Boston on Friday, August 21. We are observant Jews, so we do not drive on the Sabbath from Friday evening until Saturday night. Unfortunately, there was a lot of unexpected traffic on that day, and as we drove through Hartford, we realized that we were not going to make it home in time for the start of the Sabbath. With less than an hour to spare before the start of the Sabbath, we pulled off of the highway and began to look for a place to stay.

I called a few hotels and found a reasonable rate at the Marriott. We drove right over there, and I explained the situation to the desk clerk (unfortunately, I didn’t get his name, but I believe he was the manager on duty, since he was wearing a different uniform than the other clerks) – we needed two rooms for 1½ days, we couldn’t use any electricity during our stay, etc. He was very helpful in getting us into our rooms quickly and in listening to our needs and doing his best to accommodate them.

One thing, in particular, impressed me a great deal. Although I did not mention anything about the elevators, when the clerk was looking for rooms for us, he said, “I assume that since the electronic room keys are a problem, you won’t be able to use the elevators. The lowest rooms I have available are on the 6th floor. Is that OK?” I was extremely impressed that he realized on his own that the elevators would be a problem.

We asked for a refrigerator in our rooms to store the food we had brought with us for the trip, as well as for a crib for our 1-year-old. We were impressed by the fact that both the refrigerator and crib got to our rooms almost before we did.

When we were getting settled in our rooms, we discovered several unusual items that we needed to get our hands on before the Sabbath (e.g., a can opener, some pieces of aluminum foil), and your staff was very accommodating about bringing them up to our rooms quickly.

Alas, the can opener wasn’t the right kind, so we were stuck with some cans of tuna fish that we couldn’t open ourselves, but again, your staff came to the rescue – I brought the tuna down to Vivo on Saturday afternoon and a member of your staff there quickly and kindly opened them for us.

It also bears mentioning that the accommodations themselves were very nice. Our rooms were nicely equipped, clean, and in excellent condition, as were all of the public spaces we saw.

Although our experience at your hotel was positive in nearly every way, there is one suggestion I’d like to ask you to consider. It would be very nice if there were a couple of rooms on each floor whose doors could be opened with a key instead of or in addition to an electronic key card, to accommodate guests like us who cannot use electronic key cards on the Sabbath.

Please convey my thanks and gratitude to your staff for a job well done.

Sincerely,

Jonathan Kamens

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8 thoughts on “Awesome experience at the Hartford, CT Marriott

  1. jik Post author

    You mean you know you can use some form of electricity but not others and don’t know why?

    No, I mean what I said, i.e., that explaining the minutae of the laws of Shabbat is beyond the scope of my blog. All the information you would ever want to know about the laws of Shabbat is easily findable on the Web. If you want to understand them, go read a bit.

    Or you could take my word for it, as someone who has a decent day-to-day understanding of the laws, that refrigerators are OK in certain circumstances, and that the reasons why they are OK are internally consistent if you take the time to learn and understand them.

    Reply
  2. Gadro

    Weren’t you the one observing the Sabbath? Sounds like some electical use is OK, like lights, refrig, etc, but not others. You mean you know you can use some form of electricity but not others and don’t know why?

    Reply
  3. Gadro

    How coud they use a refrigerator if they could not use electricity?

    Reply
  4. jik Post author

    It’s not ok to spend money on hotel rooms on Shabbat, and we didn’t.

    We checked into the hotel before the start of Shabbat and paid when we checked out after Shabbat ended.

    Neither checking in (initiating the transaction) nor checking out would have been permitted on Shabbat.

    Note that one is permitted to use products or services on Shabbat for which a “standing order” was established on Shabbat. Otherwise, one would not be able to, for example, turn on the water faucet in one’s hiuse.

    On the other hand, there is, in fact an element of risk to life and limb. It certainly would not have been safe for my family to live on the street in a strange city for a day. So a case could be made that checking into the hotel even during Shabbat would have been permitted if we could find no other way to find shelter. But that would be an extremely complicated halachic (Jewish legal) question, one which I am certainly not qualified to answer.

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  5. ablom

    genuinely non-snarky question, as the relevant wikipedia entries don’t address the issue…I am wondering why it’s okay during Jewish Sabbath to spend money on hotel rooms but not museums?

    My guesses are that (a) because shelter is a necessity, as opposed to a luxury, and/or (b) you booked the hotel room during Sabbat but actually paid for it the next day.

    Reply
  6. jont

    It would be very nice if there were a couple of rooms on each floor whose doors could be opened with a key instead of or in addition to an electronic key card, to accommodate guests like us who cannot use electronic key cards on the Sabbath.

    I don’t stay in hotels all that often, and even more rarely do I find myself in one on Shabbat. I’m curious: has anyone on this blog heard of a hotel in the USA that does as JIK requests above?

    Reply

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