Saturday, 24 September 2011

Walper Hotel - terrific

overcast, cool, temps 16

Am now in gorgeous Victoria, British Columbia. What a wonderful life - it still amazes me that I can wake up Friday in Kitchener, Ontario and have dinner in Victoria, British columbia.

Have never been to Victoria before, but heard so many wonderful things. It's a place many, many Canadians are drawn to not only for it's beauty, but it's one of the most temperate places in the country. Hardly any snow. But apparently quite a bit of rain and mist. You can see the photo I took from the balcony of my hotel room this morning. I woke up early - jet lag...3 hour time difference - and took a coffee out onto the lounge chair - and breathed in the fresh, sea air. heard the sea gulls....but had to take it on faith there was any water out there. But by 10am the mist had burned off and the other photo shows you what I now see. (not the crowd of people, thank God - but the harbour).

That crowd of beautiful people is from the University of Waterloo event the night before. Held in the auditorium. Standing room only. Always a relief to see that! And everyone was so jovial and welcoming. We had a great time. At least, I did. Then spent an hour or so signing books - then back to the hotel and sleep....then caught a five hour flight here.

Speaking of hotel - I was wrong about the Walper Hotel in Kitchener, in an earlier post. Wrong on two fronts. After staying there for four nights I can tell you it's a lovely place. Great decor, terrific and helpful staff...and a responsive management. yesterday morning, upon hearing that I was yearning for coffee in the morning, they arranged for the front desk person to bring me a wonderful bowl of cafe latte when I woke up.

Deeply impressive. I had a chance to meet the manager and owner - Michael - and thank him personally. He's newly taken over and has done many things already. Not only renovating the place (which I know from our own modest renos going on now) is not small thing - but he's also hugely supportive of the arts in the community - writing, painting, theatre. And he's started a school in Uganda, and an education project. He gives a dollar a day for every guest to the project. It might not sound like much, but it adds up fast and goes a long way in the lives of these boys and girls. Especially when Michael could use the money himself, I'm sure.

but I was wrong on another front. I should never have criticised in such a public forum. And I'm very sorry I did. you know, I sometimes read reviews on various sites of my books - and am appauled and amazed at the rancor of some people. I can see not liking the books, but do you really have to make it almost a personal crusade to tell everyone? And to sometimes be just mean?

I did that with the Walper, after just a few hours...and all because I didn't get a cup of coffee in my room. I don't feel very good about that now. It's quite humbling to criticize others for being petty - and not recognize it in myself.

So to Michael von Teichman and the men and women who work at the Walper - I'm so sorry. It was wrong of me to do that. You have a terrific hotel - that manages to be more than bricks and mortar, but a place of soul. and spirit. And caring. And you deserve every success. Please let me know if there's anything I can do to help.

Here I am now on the Pacific coast of an hour or so the sales rep will show up and take me around to sign books at various stores. Then there's an event tonight at 7pm at Bolens books. Hope you can make it.

Tomorrow I head - by ferry - to Vancouver and a 2pm event at Chapters on Granville st. Hosted by AnnMarie Tempelman-Kluit - aka yoyomama. she has a terrific website geared to moms - and a part of that is about books. So looking forward to meeting her! And, I hope, meeting you at Chapters tomorrow.

Now, back to the lounge chair and the sea gulls.


Lisa May said...

I haven't been to Victoria for years, but every trip there was such a treat. And now from the heat of Texas, the "soft" climate there looks so beautiful. I hope your visit goes well, and you get more time with the gulls and the view, to recharge.

Nina Goss said...

I hope your ferry trip is out of Swartz Bay, and a clear day. Cruising through the small islands.. what a beatiful trip!
Please return and take more ferry rides through the inside passage. Such an incredible beauty!
(I so wish I could be in Victoria to meet you. Your books...!)

Nancy said...

What a beautiful place. My oldest daughter and her family spent time there a couple of weeks ago and loved it.
How gracious of you to apologize to the Kitchener hotel staff. I'm sure they appreciate it.
I will start reading "A Trick of the Light", tonight. I just picked it up. I'm happy.

Barb said...

I'm so much liking you (loving you would sound too strong?) - for your goodness and humanity. Love that you're antisocial when travelling. And love that you made a mistake and owned up to it. I think that might have been hard. And I love that I'm only on The Cruelest Month - still so much to look forward to. I love the way you write (make me laugh out loud - and cry out loud), and your way of looking at life. Thank you!

Ovidia said...

Dear Louise, because your feedback was honest and immediate (and fellow caffeine dependants totally understand the stress) the hotel took action and now we all love them more than if you'd not written at all.

Thank you for sharing your travelling and learning experiences. It looks like a beautiful place and a great hotel and yes, we love your human, humble, antisocial and gracious sides... almost (but not quite) as much as we love your writing!

Dana said...

Your comment is actually a compliment to your blog readers. You talk to us as if we are your close friends. The hotel sounds lovely. Unfortunately everything put on blogs is available to Google search. I think you praised the hotel every time you mentioned it, and the coffee issue has been corrected - I hope for everyone.

Diane said...

You have a lot of class. There are not many who admit or own their mistakes, and even fewer who will do it publicly. Kudos to you.

Anonymous said...

did you see that Parade magazine in Sunday's paper recommended A Trick of Light? Congrats!!