Before I had read this book, Hotel was just a place to eat and short stay where few people worked. I had never imagined the scale of a large hotel and what all could go on inside it to keep it running. As is the writing style of Arthur Hailey, when he picks up a topic as background for any of his stories, he does a lot of research and makes sure that you will really appreciate that industry after reading his book. This book is just one of a kind of story with hotel as the background of the plot.
The story unfolds during five days of the week in a hotel when it is struggling through a financial crisis and is on a verge of a sellout. There are multiple plots running through the book that involve hotel employees, guests, owners and visitors to the hotel. The book was written in 1960s and has incident of racism as well which was more prevalent in high-end hotel industry at that time. But in the end the crisis gets resolved and even though another owner buys the hotel, the previous owner is retained as chairman and it is a kind of happy ending.
The story is fast paced and plot after plot unfolds and keeps you glued till the end. But for me, the more important parts were small sub-plots that talked about how actually it works inside the hotel. How does morning alarm service works when you have to wake up 1000 guests in a matter of half an hour. How do you take care of your table linen when you know that guests could have written on it with ball point pen and if you wash it directly the stain would remain forever. What happens when guests forget to return their room keys and throw it in a trash can at airports and thereby allow a trained thief to enter into the hotel. Why large conventions are so important for hotel industry. The book was an amazing insight into the areas of hotel that normal public never see.
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