Thu11272014

News

VTA plans for  El Camino Real prompt skepticism

VTA plans for El Camino Real prompt skepticism


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A Valley Transit Authority proposal to convert general-use right lanes on El Camino Real to bus-only use received a chilly reception last week.

A Valley Transit Authority proposal that prioritizes public transit alo...

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Schools

MVHS students attempt Guinness World Record

MVHS students attempt Guinness World Record


Barry Tonge/Special to the Town Crier
Local residents participate in an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for making the most friendship braceletsNov. 9 at Mountain View High.

More than 300 Mountain View High School students gathered around...

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Community

Bigger, better days ahead for Foothill Veterans Resource Center

Bigger, better days ahead for Foothill Veterans Resource Center


Student veterans at Foothill College can seek support, access resources and socialize at the Veterans Resource Center.
Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier

Carmela Xuereb sees bigger things in store for the Foothill College Veterans Resource Center. One...

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Comment

Serving those who served us: Editorial

“Thank you for your service” often comes across as lip service to our veterans. As always, actions speak louder than words.

The Rotary Club of Los Altos has taken plenty of action, contributing time and money to improve opportunities for veterans th...

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Business

Report: Los Altos homes priciest in U.S.

Report: Los Altos homes priciest in U.S.


ToWn Crier File Photo
The average cost of a four-bedroom, two-bathroom home in Los Altos is 30 times more than the price of a similar home in Cleveland, according to a Coldwell Banker report.

The average cost of one Silicon Valley home can purchase ...

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Books

Children's author signs books at Linden Tree

Children's author signs books at Linden Tree


Author Tiffany Papageorge is scheduled to sign copies of new her book 11 a.m. Dec. 6 at Linden Tree Books, 265 State St., Los Altos.

Papageorge’s “My Yellow Balloon” (Minoan Moon, 2014) is a Mom’s Choice “Gold” winner. In the book, the Los Gat...

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People

RICHARD CAMPBELL WAUGH

RICHARD CAMPBELL WAUGH

Richard Campbell Waugh of Los Altos Hills, Ca. died at home October 31, 2014 surrounded by his family and caregivers.

Dick was born 1917, in Fayetteville, Arkansas. He earned a BS in chemistry from University of Arkansas and a PhD in organic chemi...

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Travel

Weekday Wanderlust highlights the joys of armchair travel

Weekday Wanderlust highlights the joys of armchair travel


Dan Prothero/Special to the Town Crier
Travel writers at the October gathering of the Weekday Wanderlust group include, from left, James Nestor, Kimberley Lovato, Paul Rauber, Marcia DeSanctis and Lavinia Spalding.

Travel writing should either ̶...

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Stepping Out

Pacific Ballet's 'Nutcracker' opens Friday in downtown Mtn. View

The Pacific Ballet Academy is back with its 24th annual production of “The Nutcracker,” scheduled this weekend in downtown Mountain View.

The story follows young Clara as she falls into a dream where her beloved nutcracker becomes the daring prince ...

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Magazine

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years


Courtesy of Christopher Stark
Homes on the St. Francis High School Women’s Club’s Christmas at Our House Holiday Home Tour showcase a variety of architectural styles.

The days grow short on sunshine but long on nostalgia as the holidays approach...

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Chain reaction: Hotel giant focuses on the small things

The last thing I expected from the Tampa Airport Marriott was hospitality, to tell the truth.

The ancient Greeks had high standards of hospitality, making sure a guest was comfortable and well fed, but this was modern-day Florida in July, after all. Also, we expect anonymity and practicality from chains.

If I were a hotel type, I would not be a Marriott room. I would be a seafront bungalow with charming wallpaper and a view of the waves. My patio would be included, enabling guests to dine al fresco in the ocean air. There would be no dust anywhere so that guests would know that they were far from home.

Hotels in the Marriott chain tend to have pools and fitness centers. I’ve stayed in my fair share of them over the years, with and without my family.

But the one in Tampa stands out because we were in a rush and had just gotten married. After visiting family, we had received gifts and had to buy an extra suitcase – and we still didn’t know how we were going to carry it all on the plane.

And yet, the Tampa Airport Marriott staff acted, well, hospitable.

We turned in our rental car and pulled up with our rolling suitcases and piles of totes and a couple of boxes knocking the ground.

Immediately, a bellhop met us with a trolley. I noticed upscale stores lining the aisle up to the hotel. It was late, however, and they were closed.

The lobby was brand new and polished, with glass walls showcasing the indoor pool. The bellhop, Alet, somehow got it out of us that our flight left mid-morning and that we had married three weeks ago.

He checked us in, escorted us up a few floors and helped us untangle our boxes, suitcases and totes. He asked about our wedding and congratulated us.

Within an hour, the head of catering knocked on our door and delivered flowers, berries with whipped cream and a magnum of very good champagne. We were pleasantly surprised and thanked him profusely.

Even the bed and breakfast where we had been staying had neglected to do as much.

As we munched on berries, my husband and I decided that we’d better send our extra stuff home to California ahead of us. He had seen the UPS store downstairs by the reception desk and went down with some items. I was skeptical.

But the day we returned home, we received a phone call from the UPS store reporting that our package would be delayed because they had to go to Macy’s to replace one of the wine glasses they had broken. We couldn’t believe it. Someone had given us a box of wine glasses in a Macy’s box and UPS had actually checked to see if they had broken one?

The general manager of the Courtyard Marriott in Old Town Pasadena wrote me an extensive email after our recent stay wondering if they had done everything possible to make us happy. We’ve come to expect little touches from boutique hotels, but if chains like Marriott want to keep my business, this kind of customer service is definitely the way to go.

Contributing editor Eren Göknar is a lifelong traveler. Email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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