We happily accept the keys to our room just as I hear a second clerk say to another guest, “Your room is at the back and has a beautiful view, but there is a train that runs past us, so if you think that it might bother you, I can switch you to the front of the hotel.”
Hmm. Interesting little spiel. I’ll have to keep my ears peeled for that train.
Meanwhile, though, I’m quite liking the Thayer Hotel, a majestic Gothic- and Tudor-style lodging on the edge of the West Point campus in upstate New York. The towering 151-room grande dame, which opened in 1926 and underwent renovation “to a standard worthy of West Point” (says the literature) in 2010, is my kind of place.
Outside, it’s all medieval fortress, complete with crenelated roofline and soaring turrets (I looove turrets). Inside, the vast two-story lobby is filled with elegant but cushy furnishings (go ahead and sink into one of those wingback chairs) and boasts a large fireplace against one wall, surrounded by wood paneling and crowned by a portrait of Sylvanus Thayer. He’s the Father of West Point, don’t you know, the longest-serving superintendent of the U.S. military academy. And the guy for whom, of course, the hotel is named.
Yup, it’s just my cup of tea. It even has some of those tucked-away, oh-look-at-this elements that so endear a hostelry to me. There’s the chandelier in the foyer, an original from the West Point Hotel, the Thayer’s precursor. And the little winding staircase in the far corner of the lobby, leading up to Zulu Time, the rooftop bar that we’ll have to visit in just a few, since I’m starving and it’s too early for dinner.
But first to our room, which is the Joe DePinto room. Um, Joe who, you ask? I had the same question. According to a handsome plaque outside our door, Joseph M. DePinto (USMA ’86) is the chief executive of 7-Eleven. He’s one of the distinguished West Point grads honored by the hotel’s Room Dedication Program, established in 2010 and creating a “museum in the hallways” with displays of the honorees’ names and accomplishments.
I think our getting Joe’s room is a little ironic, because our Washington neighborhood had a little tussle with 7-Eleven recently over a store expansion on our block. Life is funny that way, isn’t it?
“His” room is nice enough, though, if somewhat beigey-plain, with the cream-colored walls and the king-size bed dressed in the usual crisp white linens. There’s a nice little seating area with couch and coffee table, and all the necessities — coffeemaker, flat-screen TV, etc. But uh-oh, what’s this?