An alarming turn of events
AN airport property in Sydney is promoting itself as the city’s only ‘‘terminal hotel’’. What genius came up with that? The same nitwit who keeps advising operators to spruik destinations we need to go to before we die?
I don’t intend to journey anywhere as a corpse, not even to check into a terminal hotel. The whole bucket list thing is making us feel like losers because we haven’t seen the Great Migration or even The Great Gatsby. I prefer the idea of a bucket-and-spade list with no deadline attached.
Travel brochures and promotional campaigns usually are trite beyond measure. Cliches abound, from ‘‘east meets west’’ to ‘‘pearl of the orient’’ to many a ‘‘kaleidoscope of cultures’’ and ‘ ‘ hidden secrets’’ between. ‘‘Discover Hawaii!’’ shrieks the Honolulu brochure, 235 years after Captain James Cook.
Every product needs a marketing tag, but frequently these fail and are swiftly forgotten or, worse, become the butt of jokes. Prime tourism examples: the suggestive ‘‘I Feel Slovenia’’ and the downright untrue ‘‘Wales: The Big Country’.
Then there are the great euphemisms and the bold exaggerations such as the hotel I once booked that falsely claimed to be in Victorian style when, really, it just happened to be in Melbourne. Put a few miniatures of gin in the mini-bar and pop a parlour palm in the corner and you have ‘‘colonial planter atmosphere’’. Include a pool, jazzy-coloured drinks and plastic palms and it’s a ‘‘resort’’. My partner always says that if home cooking is advertised, it means they can’t afford a chef. Then there are the F words — fresh and fluffy. The latter is a bugbear of mine, not when applied to clouds or cats, but bathrobes and towels. I have never seen an example of either item that looks like a cumulus or a Persian puss and nor do I want to. As long as they are not threadbare, then any other description is a redundancy, up there with ‘‘waterproof" raincoats or ‘‘portable" umbrellas.
The word fresh has lost all meaning. Breakfast menus will suggest an omelet made with ‘‘fresh eggs’’. Really? Not vile-smelling green ones? I am cranky about ‘‘personal service’’, too. Not the idea or the delivery, but the thought there could be another kind, such as being attended by robots or called to desks by numbers as they do at the David Jones Food Hall when you’re buying an ‘‘artisan’’ pie. I find it alarming and I am not alone. ‘‘This hotel is alarmed!’’ announced a sign in India years ago. But I really smiled at the frankness of the notice below: ‘‘If this is your first visit to our hotel, you are welcome to it’’.