Confession time. There is a thing I like to do, a very, very bad thing. I like to go to fancy hotels we can’t really afford—for holidays, for special occasions. I like to pretend I’m supposed to be there, in that room, wearing that plush monogrammed robe, on that deliciously comfortable bed, perusing the room-service menu even if I don’t order from it, suspended in someone else’s life from check-in to check-out.
The above photo shows a corner of the hotel suite we stayed in for our 15-year anniversary last night. We were upgraded to a suite without even having to ask. The mini bar was a lesson in restraint—it had everything in there, from Formula 50 Vitamin Water to Red Bull to fancy-label scotch and wine more expensive than the room to the biggest jelly beans I have ever seen to a discreet box of sex toys and bubble bath. I drank the water we bought from the corner drugstore. After dinner, and after vegan cupcakes, I went to the bed pictured above and sprawled out on my back and felt the lights of the city glowing all around me. The walls of the suite are made of windows, even in the bathroom. I could see the twinkling lights of downtown, a place I’d never leave if I didn’t have to venture up to Midtown for work. When we slept, these city lights watched. We heard partyers down below, cabs honking faintly until it all stopped and was silent at last. In the morning we saw a view of rooftops with their silver heating and air-conditioning units, their spires, their worn bricks, graffiti messages we had to squint into the horizon to read. I grew up with views of the mountains, but it’s this—this bird’s eye view of Manhattan, graffiti tags and all—that I like to see. Breakfast was fresh bagels and fruit and being grateful the hotel staff looked the other way and quietly cleaned up my mess when I spilled my coffee. We checked out. As we headed out for the subway a drunk man stepped forward on the sidewalk and projectile-vomited into the street. The suite—its walls of windows, its plush black carpet and big white bed—feels like a fantasy. I’m not entirely sure we were even in there.