Vishwa Patel

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The Hotel Owner’s Children Go to Vegas

“Chilling out on the bed in your hotel room watching television, while wearing your own pajamas, is sometimes the best part of a vacation” (Laura Marano). This “vacation,” however, was basically everyday life for my brother and me. If you weren’t already aware, my mother and father own and manage their own hotel in Talladega, Alabama. They have run the hotel for over a decade, and it has been an essential factor of my childhood. Every summer until I could drive, my brother and I would spend day and night in a hotel room doing anything that could rid us of the boredom of being confined all day. We made pillow forts out of the bed sheets and furniture, watched cable television until it got to that time of night where they played 90s show reruns, and swam in the hotel pool until we got tired and wrinkled. 

There are many things I get to do as a hotel owner’s daughter, but the most memorable experience was when my father had to go to the annuel Intercontinental Hotel Group’s American Investors and Leadership Conference. (IHG presents all of the new changes and features that will be implemented in all of the hotel chains under the IHG corporation.) Luckily, for all of the hotel managers and owners, the location of the convention was in amazing places such as Disney World in Florida. One summer, when the IHG convention was selected to be a week in June, my family planned a trip for us to all go to the convention, so that Mihir and I could experience something new and also get a free vacation as the convention provided the guests of the convention with complimentary rooms, concerts, dinners, and more. We had flown to Arizona to visit the Grand Canyon and other sites and then took a car trip to Las Vegas, Nevada, where the convention was going to be held that year. The complimentary rooms were located in the luxurious casino resort called the Venitian and the Palazzo, which had designer clothing stores galore, an indoor gondola ride, and a giant casino for my parents to enjoy. Although families with children were allowed to attend the conventions, mostly the hotel managers and owners attended. Being some of the only children there came with many advantages. For example, at the convention, there was a big hall that had booths with information and complimentary items to lure people in and help showcase things that would be implemented into the hotels. The booths ranged from new food items for the hotel menus, to a booth with a complete VR setup of the updated room designs. My brother, being the short and “cute” stature that he is, got the attention of mostly everyone in the convention, and we were able to get a lot of free stuff, like a Coca-Cola can with our names on it. IHG also had a special concert for the people attending the convention where Kelly Clarkson and Andy Grammar performed. Since my brother and I were the only kids in the crowd, we were able to get the attention of both celebrities many times. Aside from the fun activities inside the casino, we also traveled around the Vegas strip–walking and looking at tourist sites like the High Roller and restaurants like Gordon Ramsay’s Hell Kitchen. 

The trip was filled with fun experiences and everlasting memories, but I appreciate more of the fact that my parents wanted to include my brother and me in their occupational world and show us the cool things they get to do because of their job. Although owning a hotel may not always be glitz and glamor, the hospitality world is the world I live in. Because of my parents’ hard work, they are able to provide a comfortable lifestyle for my brother and me. I am able to do what I want to do without having to think about it because my parents have set such a supportive foundation, not only financially, but emotionally, too. My parents have never ceased to bring my brother and me new experiences for whatever purpose they see fit. This trip to Las Vegas opened my eyes to the amount of care that my parents have for us and that all they want is for us to be happy. I am proud to be the daughter of two hotel owners, and I am thankful for being able to go out and experience these once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.

Please click on the arrow below to hear Vishwa’s Senior Reading.