The Real Joy of Vacations (It’s all in the Free Toiletries!)

So it’s our second to last day here at the Parker Palm Springs a truly fabulous hotel designed by Jonathan Adler, husband of my fabulous friend Simon Doonan (he of Wacky Chicks and Nasty and Barneys fame, Jonathan of superchic pottery fame). It’s just sooo lovely. The landscaping, the grounds, the little fire pits where you can sit at night and have a drink (non-alki for prego me sadly), the two pools, the decor–which is happy, campy, native, chic, modern and awesome…the SPA! which is ironically called “the Palm Springs Yacht Club” – hello, there is no water here – it’s all desert!–where I had the best facial and massage…it’s just been a great langorous, lazy week, (although I did have to do a smidgen of work on the anthology, thanks to Tom for holding the fort!). I finished Jen Weiner’s The Guy Not Taken and Claire Messud’s The Emperor’s Children, both excellent. I was particularly obsessed with Messud’s book, since it touched upon the lives of people who sounded a lot like people I know, or met in college, that whole aspiring, lost, ambitious Ivy League bunch…I got really caught up in it, and at one point said to my husband, “I love this book but right now ALL THE CHARACTERS ARE SO UNLIKABLE I just want to throw it across the room.”

Which I guess is the point of it, that they are complex, complicated people…my favorite character was the one we were all supposed to despise (or at least, several characters despise), the old liberal intellecutal, who is a moral paragon in public but is carrying on an adulterous affair in private, and is supposed to be a hypocrite. Why did I feel so sympathetic towards him? The creepy nephew in my opinion, deserved all the scorn he got… basically the plot is that this hick nephew invades the ivory tower world of the intellectual (his uncle) but then finds out his uncle is just human, and somewhat shallow, so he writes this screed against him…which he tries to get published in a “revolutinary” new “satricial” magazine. Of course, the uncle throws him out. His uncle had taken him in, fed him, helped him get a job, get landed in New York, and that’s what he gets in return? In my world, family first, before everything. So my favorite chapter by far was when the uncle throws his nephew’s sad fat ass on the street. Good riddance!

Anyway, I also found it kind of apalling that the intellectual did not put family first in the question of his daughter’s book, he bascially tells his girl that it’s crap and she shouldn’t publish it because it’s so trivial. I can forgive the affair, the shallowness, but to say that to your kid???

Obviously, I got WAY WAY WAY into this book. It’s like this New York soap opera that I got really into. I highly highly recommend it. Not sure if it would appeal to my teen readers, sometimes I think you need to live a little to really understand some books (for instance, I never really understood Catcher in The Rye until I was in my twenties. I had read it in high school and liked it, but never really got it. That’s why it’s good to re-read books. You get so much out of the same book at different points in your life.) You can tell a reader from a non-reader because a reader, re-reads.

But what I really wanted to blog about was how staying at this fabu hotel, the GREATEST JOY IN STAYING HERE is the TOILETRIES they RE-STOCK every day. Ok, this is so embarassing, but in the past week, I have amassed enough HERMES hand soap to stock our guest bathroom for years. Every day, when we come back to the room, and there’s another beautiful pile of Blistex lip balm, Peter Thomas Roth sunscreen, Hermes soap, L’Occitane soap, Penthagalion shampoo and conditioner and Erno Laszlo body lotion, I am in HEAVEN. I hoard them in my luggage, and do a little happy dance as I put them away. Yes, I know, it’s all part of the cost of staying here, but it SEEMS like it’s FREE. And there’s nothing I adore more than swag. Seriously, this vacation is worth it for the toiletries alone.

I have a friend (who shall remain nameless) who said their pool bathroom is stocked with towels from every Ritz Carlton her parents have stayed at. Yes, they are towel-thieves! Rich towel thieves. Hilarious. Towels are too much grand larceny for me, but I do love extra toiletries. When we were staying at the Alex Hotel earlier this year, my mom and I tipped the maid so much because we asked for extra Frederic Fekkai toiletries they stocked the bathroom with. Omigod, we went home with like a huge BASKET of that stuff.

This is what makes vacations worthwhile…

Anyway, Mik’es back and he has brought me a Coldstone so I will eat my icecream now.