With summer vacation season upon us, I turned my thoughts to hotel stationery. This week’s blog post comes with a soundtrack, so feel free to listen to Chilly Gonzales’ Hotel Stationery while you read (https://soundcloud.com/chillygonzales/interlude-1-hotel-stationery).
There was a time that in the desk drawer of every hotel room nestled beside the phone book, Gideon’s Bible, and in the case of Lethbridge, Alberta hotels, the Book of Mormon, you could find hotel stationery. Usually it would be a few sheets of nice paper with the logo and address of the hotel as well as an envelope or two, and in some cases, a postcard of the hotel. This was provided for promotional reasons presumably so that you would write to friends back home wishing they were here. Other people kept these as souvenirs only to show up on Etsy years later. As people stopped writing letters in general, hotel stationery began to disappear as well, leaving only a skimpy notepad and stick pen in its place. These seem to be provided for in-room use only as I can’t imagine anyone wanting to pocket them as a souvenir. Apparently high-end hotels still provide nice stationery but, as I don’t stay in high-end hotels, I cannot independently verify that.
An example of hotel stationery from the early 1980’s. Even though this is from a modest airport hotel, it is still excellent creamy paper with a watermark that says “Classic Laid”, referring to the texture of the paper.
There are examples of famous people using hotel stationery. Last year a note written by Einstein on hotel stationery was auctioned. According to the story, he gave it to a courier in lieu of a tip saying that he hoped it would be more valuable in the future, as it indeed proved to be. He wrote in German on the paper, “A quiet and modest life brings more joy than a pursuit of success bound with constant unrest.” Wise words for all of us.
Examples of the current paltry offerings found in Canadian hotel rooms in the past year.
If hotel stationery were a person, they would only hang out in exclusive places. Although they are initially quiet, given the chance they love to brag about where they have been.