I jokingly said on Facebook that it had been so long since I travelled I wasn’t sure I remembered how. There was a bit of truth to that. I came home from vacation on March 14 and haven’t left the island since. For someone who was travelling somewhere at least once a week, three months at home was unheard of. There was a part of me that was enjoying it and given the chaotic times we are in, the safety of home was comforting.
Alas, a broken filling was enough incentive to get me to leave the island. Our dentist on the island is closing, so after 40-ish years I’m going somewhere different. I was thrilled they could fit me in quickly and jumped at the appointment; my fear of an increase in restrictions a prime motivator for moving quickly. Only after I said yes did it truly register I would need to make it an overnight trip.
I’ve always liked travel and I’ve stayed in a wide variety of hotels, motels, and lodges along the way. They all generally have their charm, and if not, you usually end up with a good story to tell. In all that time, I’ve never really pondered the hotel experience. Last night I did.
I stayed at the Delta Brunswick in Saint John. The last time I was there was on December 19, not that long ago in reality but it feels like a lifetime in 2020. It was just before Christmas and the place was bustling. I was thrilled when I found a parking spot within easy schlepping distance of the elevators. I saw people I knew on my way to the room. I met a friend and we went to dinner and a concert. Saw more people we knew and stopped for a visit. Normal times in the festive holiday season.
I pulled into the parking garage last night and it was empty. Not just plenty of spots, but empty. There was parking right next to the hotel door. I realized why when I got to the sign that indicated the door was locked and hotel access was through the valet parking entrance. I’m rarely a valet parking gal, but down I went. There wasn’t a valet to park the car; you simply parked in their spots. I don’t think there were a half dozen cars when I arrived at 10:00 pm.
The lobby was marked with the social distancing lines we’ve become used to. Plexiglass has been installed since my last visit. The banquette in the lobby now has a please don’t sit sign.
It was so quiet. So quiet.
I went up to my room where there were more changes. Gone were the guides touting activities and places to eat and what channel was where. Everything was plastic wrapped. For a minute I was afraid to touch anything the room felt so sterile; I didn’t want to mess it up. That’s not to say the rooms didn’t feel clean before, this was just a whole other level.
I went to breakfast at Cora’s (one of my favourite indulgences). I was the only one there. The food court at lunch was deserted as well.
I realize Sunday night/Monday morning in June isn’t prime tourism time. I knew from watching the news things were different.
The eery feeling of the lack of people in the downtown core is something I will remember for a long time.