Industry Update
Opinion Article10 June 2020

A Critical Feature - The Life of a Hotel Doctor

By Mike Oppenheim, MD

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Oppenheim

The Airport Hilton has a long entrance drive that accommodates perhaps twenty parked cars without blocking traffic. Le Mondrian has a tiny drive that fits three or four.

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These are critical features in hotels with no free lots and valet parking. Familiar hotels will usually validate, but even they are unpredictable. I am not poor, but $20 for half an hour's parking is painful.

My tactic where I'm not known is to park as far from the entrance as possible, walk briskly up to a valet, hand him my key, announce "I'm the hotel doctor; they let me park," and hurry inside while he's digesting the news.

I look like a B-movie doctor (elderly, grey beard, suit, black bag), but this does not impress valets who may run after me. If they try to hand me a parking slip I wave it off but accept it if they persist. I'm always courteous to hotel staff.

If I accept it, the valet is likely to drive my car deep into the bowels of the building where it will take fifteen minutes to retrieve after a polite discussion about paying. It's a hard life.

Mike Oppenheim

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