Saturday, January 30, 2016

The Theatre, Large Hotels, Cruise Ships And Downton Abbey Have Some Things In Common

Click on the pictures to enlarge them.

The above two pictures are of The Shoreham Hotel. 2500 Calvert Street N.W. Washington, D.C.

When I went to work at The Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. the first thing I noticed was that it has four sub basements. 1000 rooms(counting the suites)upstairs and 4 basements below the grand Lobby.

While the rich and wealthy wined and dined upstairs the servants toiled below.
I first knew about this type of thing from Eugene O'Neill's play THE HAIRY APE. In that play a greasy fireman from the boiler room of a rich cruise ship finds his way up to first class and causes an uproar.

So I wasn't surprised to encounter the lower depths in the four sub basements at the Shoreham Hotel.
I have written other stories on this blog about my hotel experiences and the Shoreham Hotel.
Click on the name Shoreham Hotel in the Labels box below to read my other stories about this luxury hotel.

The whole upstairs downstairs routine lives on today in large hotels and cruise ships.
The workers now have a Union(but that is slowly disappearing as more hotels in DC open up non union)
and are better paid but the work and working conditions are still stuck in the 1920s.
Every time I watch Downton Abbey I am struck by the class distinctions and how very little has changed
from then until now. Everyone has a place and everyone knows their place.
The Shoreham Hotel is a beautiful hotel upstairs. Down below in those four sub basements it is not so pretty.
There is a good bit of theatre going on as well. What the patrons see and experience is very different from what goes on behind the scenes.
Someone wrote once that hotels have a lot to hide. It is not so much they are hiding anything it is just all out of sight and sound.
I remember once seeing a couple entering the grand lobby of the Shoreham Hotel and the man exclaimed, "Now this is more like it". It is a very elegant lobby and a fine entrance to this historic hotel built in 1929.
Standards are not what they were back in 1929 because now the Shoreham is a large convention hotel. It is more like a cattle stampede getting 10,000 people in and out of the place on a busy weekend.
Still they try to put on a good show.