Mr. Green and I share many qualities, good and bad. A compulsion to get value out of every dollar we spend is one of them. So we began planning our trip to New Zealand with our usual frugality.
The first motels we looked at online, recommended by our hippie child, looked about three steps down from our American standby the Comfort Inn. They were spare and they looked clean but all I can recall is dark brown bedspreads, a sad pastel yellow something and what looked like fluorescent lights. It was sort of dorm room crossed with church basement.
Ringing in my ears were words about the importance of treating yourself with the utmost luxury after the death of someone you love. I made a great leap, extrapolating. A 30+ hour journey on four planes, crossing multiple time zones (and the International Dateline) to Winter in a city blasted by Arctic winds - it sounds almost on a par with facing a death. And so I decided that we're going for better than a crummy bargain. We're going for luxury.
I reserved our room in the only place which was consumer-rated 'Excellent'. Being a New Yorker, there was the nagging thought that the owners' friends and family might have faked the reviews. Hell they might have faked the photographs. I held my breath.
As our taxi climbed the steep driveway, it was clear that my fears were ill-founded.
Every detail of every aspect of the place is beautiful, impeccably cared for and of the highest quality. The drawers glide and close quietly. The towel rack is heated. The colors and textures are subtle and elegant. There's a small washing machine hidden in a cupboard which doubles as a dryer! If a Macbook Air were a hotel room, this would be it.
Most wonderful of all has been the shocking effect the room has had on my emotional state. Being surrounded by beauty and order actually makes a difference. Maybe it's only distracting me but it feels like it makes everything all right. My friend Jayne is always quoting Wittgenstein, that aesthetics is ethics. Usually I scratch my head over that but today feel like I'm totally getting it. We've only met half of the couple who owns this place and only very briefly. But staying here, I feel like I know them through and through. And I feel safe. They have got to be good and intelligent people to have this incredible aesthetic and to have the self-discipline and commitment to it to have designed and to maintain this place as it is.
It's okay that I'm still waking up at 3AM and dragging through every day. It's okay that we're on a bit of an emotional roller coaster. We've got this incredibly beautiful and spotlessly clean refuge to come back to. I feel smarter. I feel cooler. I feel relaxed and more successful. Tell you the truth, I feel sexy! By the way, the name of it, this 'motel' (New Zealand is very understated) is the Bluestone on George in Dunedin, New Zealand.