Monday, April 14, 2014

Give Me Light

A room with a view...of a concrete wall
I love light. Whether it be the long hours of daylight that fill the summer months or simply a brightly lit room, give me light and I immediately feel better. Take away that light and I am simply sad. Our old house in Albania had a lot of small windows which should have let in plenty of light yet I felt as though I spent two and a half years living in the dark because I fought, and lost, a never ending battle with my housekeeper about keeping the shutters open. I would open them and she would immediately close them saying the sun faded rugs, open shutters let in the heat, or the neighbors could look at us if the shutters weren't tightly closed. After a while I gave up and just resorted to buying light bulbs with stronger wattage and spending time outside on the balconies (where yes, the neighbors could see me). Perhaps that is why I was immediately taken with our current house in Belgium. The large windows opening onto both our back yard and the front street are what sold me on the house. Granted, we might not get a lot of sunny days in Belgium but when we do the house is as bright as can be. And even on cloudy days, natural daylight still means the house is still filled with light.

We've been fortunate enough to travel quite a bit over the past few years and I'm discovering that one of my travel pet peeves are rooms without adequate lighting. Granted, rooms with views would be preferable and with a couple of minor exceptions we have had natural light flowing into our rooms. But the exceptions, where light was at a premium, were especially bad. Up until recently, our worst room was one at the Marriott in Waikiki, Hawaii where our room over looked the parking deck. If I sat in a chair and peered up and out the window I could see a glimmer of sunlight. Or I could wait for a car to turn on their headlights and then our room would be flooded with bright light. I thought that was bad but on our recent trip to Istanbul, I found out that what we had in Waikiki was heaven. In Istanbul our room had a great window but it opened onto the concrete wall of the adjacent building. Yup, no natural light at all. (Which is a shame because other than the lack of light, the hotel was quite nice). And that brings me to my next point........

Why oh why can't hotels have adequate lighting? More often than not even the nicest of hotels have too few lights with low wattage light bulbs. A room with a single overhead light really doesn't cut it. I understand the concept of mood lighting but when I can't even see my face in the mirror it just might be too dark in the room. If the room has a desk or workstation I would except there to at least be a brighter light there but I have found that to rarely be the case. Now if you add in a lack of natural light-such as was the case in our Istanbul hotel- and I feel like I'm staying in a cave. Blue tinted lights do little to actually brighten the room. If the bedside lamps were equipped with brighter light bulbs I could really appreciate the colorful cut glass details (and see the pages of my book). Is my eyesight really getting that bad?

Now before booking hotels I usually do my research on a variety travel websites checking out room reviews. (However, the two hotel rooms mentioned above were selected for us courtesy of the military). In all of my research I can't remember a single instance where any reviewer has commented on a room's lighting. Am I the only one who is bothered by this? I need to start writing my own reviews so others can be warned. But perhaps the solution is that I need to start traveling with my own light bulbs!

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