March 24, 2012

West Hollywood, CA. October, 2007

A few years ago, when Harvard University employees were negotiating their contract in the face of the administration’s insistence upon the “honor” of working at Harvard, one of the slogans the union invoked was “You can’t eat prestige.” I thought of this recently when I came across this photo from the Mondrian hotel. Lots of precious design moments (like this subtle stencil on the wall behind the bed), lots of cool people fashionably dressed, a pool deck where photos were forbidden and (I have to admit) a great restaurant, Asia de Cuba. But I sensed an attitude at work, an implication of the “honor” of staying there. A week or so after we’d returned home, several members of our party checked their credit-card accounts and noticed that the hotel had added numerous extra charges to their bills. Yes, it was all corrected after a few phonecalls, but still.... You can’t eat prestige. And who wants to anyway?

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