I’m sad to say that the Congress Plaza Hotel where we did the event at this morning does not qualify as anyone’s palace. The usual nice words you might use to describe such a hotel would be “threadbare” or “shabby.” Other words (“maccabre,” “Barton Fink,” and “scuzzy”) come to mind. This was entirely my fault; I set a target budget for hotels in each city and didn’t do the research to make sure the hotels would be entirely nice.
I remember the Congress Plaza Hotel as the “host” hotel for The Second International World-Wide Web Conference on Mosaic and the Web back in 1994. It was tired and grubby then, and I assumed it had been chosen to accommodate student budgets. They offered conference attendees the chance to have an RJ-11 jack installed in their rooms at the trivial price of $75 — my boss kicked in for the “upgrade”, and I’ll bet he had to pay for every phone call, too. I was lucky — the hotel was filled by the time I made my reservation and I had to stay at a Hyatt a few blocks away.
I guess there’s a niche for shabby hotels, and it’s good to know that it’s being filled by true experts in the field.