Globe North Across the Pond

Why not trade home living for a hotel?

By Steve Coronella
July 24, 2011

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DUBLIN - My wife, young son, and I recently took leave of our year-round Dublin home and enjoyed a three-day break in the west of Ireland. We stayed in a comfortable hotel, operated by courteous staff, located on the leafy outskirts of Galway but within walking distance of the city center. The price we paid - yet another bargain in these recessionary times - included breakfast each morning and unlimited use of the swimming pool and fitness area, as well as a complimentary Wi-Fi connection in the lobby.

After I’d sampled these treats for a day, a thought occurred to me. If it was good enough for the likes of Arthur Miller, Elvis Presley, and John Lennon, why couldn’t a humble Medford guy like me also luxuriate in the perks and privileges of residential hotel life?

I put the suggestion to my wife, pointing out that the lobby of our Galway hotel, for instance, could serve as our living room and indeed was much more spacious than our own reception area in Dublin. I was also quick to emphasize that we lacked a 20-meter swimming pool back home and didn’t own a single piece of exercise equipment.

Why wait, I said. As soon as we returned to Dublin, we could put our suburban duplex on the market and find ourselves some new hotel digs.

My wife treated the idea as she does most of my hare-brained schemes: with an indulgent smile before quickly resuming whatever she was doing.

But hold on a minute.

My two hometowns, Boston and Dublin, make a decent living from the tourist trade. Both are steeped in history and culture, and both draw hordes of visitors every year. Each city, as a result, has thousands of hotel rooms.

But while hotels in Boston seem to be on the rebound, here in Ireland it’s a different story. Despite incurring heavy losses, many Irish hotels are being kept open for the sole reason that it would be more costly to close them. (The owners would be required to give back the substantial tax credits they received for building them during the Celtic Tiger era.)

The bottom line: There are plenty of rooms in Dublin and beyond, and hotels are scrambling for business. What better time to arrange a long-term residency deal with a beleaguered hotel manager?

Of course, hotel living has typically been the preserve of the rich and famous: movie stars, eminent writers, rock ’n’ roll icons. As part of the package, they get the liveried doormen, the on-call kitchen, the front desk staff regularly snapping to attention.

This privileged upper crust also gets the best of two worlds: the relative anonymity of hotel life - should they desire it - together with the uniquely pampered status that only celebrity can bring in our culture.

Meanwhile, ordinary folks like you and me are left saddled with monthly rent for a shoebox-size apartment in a dodgy part of town. Or we’re expected to cope with a 20-year mortgage (or more) on a residence that doesn’t include a single member of staff to whom we’re not related.

This is living?

The benefits of hotel life, as I see them, are beyond dispute. So I’ve asked my wife to reconsider. Under my scheme, she’ll never have to remind me about all those household projects I like to talk about but don’t ever begin, let alone finish. And the next time the plumbing backs up or the bedroom dimmer switch starts to crackle, she’ll be able to pick up the phone and ring down for someone with the tools and the know-how to fix the problem.

But the trump card has to be the daily bathroom cleaning service offered by every reputable hotel.

That kind of dedicated effort, I keep telling my wife, we’ll never get at home.

Medford native Steve Coronella has lived in Ireland since 1992. He is the author of “This Thought’s On Me: A Boston Guy Reflects on Leaving the Hub, Becoming a Dub & Other Topics,’’ available from The Book Oasis in Stoneham and on loan from the Medford Public Library. He can be reached at