Bluff The Listener Our panelists tell us three stories of highly problematic hotels.

Bluff The Listener

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From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!, the NPR news quiz. I'm Carl Kasell. We're playing this week with Roy Blount Jr., Amy Dickinson and Alonzo Boden. And here again is your host, at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.


Thank you, Carl.


SAGAL: Thank you, Carl. Thanks everybody. Right now, it is time for the WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME! Bluff the Listener game. Call 1-888-Wait-Wait to play our game on the air. Hi, you're on WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!

MICHAEL LOFTIN: Hi, this is Michael from Chattanooga, Tennessee.

SAGAL: Hey, how are things in Chattanooga?

LOFTIN: Very good, very good.

SAGAL: What do you do there?

LOFTIN: I'm halfway retired. I used to be editor of the Chattanooga Times here, on the editorial page.

SAGAL: Oh, really?

LOFTIN: Yeah. Now I do as little as possible.

SAGAL: I understand.


SAGAL: Do you miss not being the editorial page editor anymore, telling people your opinions?

LOFTIN: No, it hasn't stopped me so far. I write letters to the editor occasionally.


SAGAL: Really? I see. Well, Michael, welcome to the show. You're going to play the game in which you have to figure out what's true and what's false. Carl, what is Mike's topic?

KASELL: Well, there goes our Trip Advisor rating.

SAGAL: This week, we read about a hotel that would make the demonic resort in "The Shining" seem like a Holiday Inn.


SAGAL: Our panelists are going to tell you three stories about accommodations that were less than adequate. Choose the true story, you'll win Carl's voice on your home answering machine or voicemail. Ready to play?


SAGAL: First, let's hear from Roy Blount, Jr.

ROY BLOUNT JR: Welcome to the beautiful new Vdara Hotel of Las Vegas. Please take time during your stay to stretch out beside our luxurious swimming pool. Be advised, however, that as you sunbathe, you may suddenly be hit by a death ray. Hit by a what? A death ray. What? Oh, all right, a death ray.


BLOUNT JR: That's what people, including the Vdara staff, are calling the phenomenon that has caused recent pool-siders to leap up suddenly and run for cover, fanning their sizzling flesh and smelling their scorched hair. When they venture back to where they were lounging, they've found that their drink cup has melted.

Here's what happens. The highly reflective concave surface of the hotel's facade collects and intensifies the sun's ray so as to create what hotel management prefers to call a hot spot or solar convergence, which hits the pool area around noon. I couldn't imagine why my head was burning, said a recent visitor.


BLOUNT JR: My first thought was, Jesus, they destroyed the ozone layer.


BLOUNT JR: This week, MGM Resorts International, which owns the Vdara, said it was working with the building's designers to tone the hot spot down.

SAGAL: The death ray at the new Vdara Resort in Las Vegas. Your next story of a bad stay comes from Alonzo Boden.

ALONZO BODEN: Married life starts early. When newlyweds Danny and Lisa Bramley checked into Hotel Above, a new trendy New York boutique hotel, the clerk looked at the computer screen and exclaimed, congratulations, you have won our fantastic do-it-yourself getaway weekend. Well it sounded good, because it started with the word congratulations and it also had the word fantastic in it.

But it was not all it was cracked up to be. What Danny and Lisa didn't know is that one day before, the owner of the hotel had fired the entire cleaning staff after being accused of hiring undocumented workers. And everyone who checked in since had been told, congratulations you've won our do-it-yourself getaway weekend. They began to suspect something was up when the concierge brought them the Hotel Above fantastic gift basket, which contained his and hers yellow rubber gloves...


BODEN: ...and a jug of Fantastik All-Purpose Cleaner. Said Danny, it didn't stop there, they actually gave us quarters to buy our own pillow chocolates from the vending machine. And the outfit they gave my wife wasn't so much a sexy French maid outfit as just a maid outfit.


BODEN: Hotel Above is now facing legal action from several angry guests, or as the hotel insists on calling them in legal proceedings, fantastic do-it- yourself getaway weekend winners.


SAGAL: Doing it yourself because there's nobody else there to do it at a hotel. Your last story of uncomfortable lodgings comes from Amy Dickinson.

AMY DICKINSON: The Redmont Inn in Darlington, Connecticut welcomes pets, and that's why it's a favorite stop for dog owners visiting the New York Kennel Club Show. They bring their Dobermans, Shar Peis and Laberdoodles to lounge in the hotel's lobby and swim in the inn's special doggie pool.

But now dog owners are accusing the inn's manager of negligence after he threw a party that really went to the dogs. While human guests were enjoying canapes in the lobby, an employee let out the dogs and they did what these dogs were bred to do which is to breed.


DICKINSON: The bad news is that this event quickly turned into a doggie version of a Tailhook convention.


DICKINSON: One guest looked out and saw his Border Collie, Mr. Dashwood, set upon by a standard poodle and is now suing the hotel and accusing the poodle of sexual assault. The good news, though, is that several more new dog breeds may have been established.


DICKINSON: Among them, the Doberman poodle mix, called a Doberdoodle, and a beagle-Corgi combination, the Borgi.

SAGAL: An unwanted dog orgy...


SAGAL: a hotel. That was from Amy Dickinson. From Roy Blount Jr., we heard about the death ray at a new hotel in Las Vegas. And from Alonzo Boden, we heard about a hotel that had fired its staff and invited - congratulated, in fact, its guests on being able to take care of themselves. Which of these is the real story of a less than perfect hotel stay?

LOFTIN: None of them seem like they would be untrue. But I'm going to go with the first one, the death ray in Las Vegas.

SAGAL: You're going to go with the death ray.


SAGAL: Because anything else can happen to you in Las Vegas, why not that.


SAGAL: We spoke to somebody who actually suffered from this problem.

WILLIAM PINTAS: I was sitting out at the Vdara and within 30 seconds, the top of my head was burning.


PINTAS: And I could smell my hair.

SAGAL: That was Williams Pintas of Chicago. His hair, as you heard, was singed by the death ray. Good news for Vdara, Mr. Pintas is a personal injury lawyer.



SAGAL: So that will work out fine. It also works out really well for you, Mike, because you, in fact, were correct. You picked the correct story, Roy's story of the Vdara death ray. You have won our prize, Carl's voice on your home answering machine or voicemail. Congratulations.

LOFTIN: Thank you.

SAGAL: Well done.


SAGAL: Let's hear it for Mike. Yes.

LOFTIN: Thank you very much.

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