We traveled to London to celebrate my wife's birthday. She has so many people in her life (unlike me), that birthday celebrations can be overwhelming. She wanted to do something memorable for the round number, but could get away for only a few days. London is close, and has a lot to offer (ie. shoe shops!)
We stayed at a nice hotel (she's less fussy than I am) in a prime location, which she enjoyed. We saw two musicals (Wizard of Oz and Jersey Boys), both of which were excellent. I am old enough to remember all the Frankie Valli songs; she is not. I was a teenage (rather typical), that was emotionally affected by the lyrics.
The big surprise for her birthday was a fancy lunch with the children: she thought that both were working and unable to join us. I planned the surprise to take place at the Ritz Hotel bar, followed by lunch at a nearby famous restaurant. Of course, we fell victim to yet-undead English "tradition": my kids were not permitted to enter the hotel because they wore sport shoes (it did not matter that they were from Gucci and cost more than the doormen earns). My wife, still not aware of her surprise, could not understand why she had to quickly down the Champagne I had ordered and hurry out of the hotel. The "surprise" finally happened in the restaurant. Despite the hiccup, compliments of the Ritz, the event was a big success. The meal was excellent.
The only one not surprised by the Ritz behavior was me: I had told my kids to wear decent shoes. My daughter, who has lived in London and knows everything better, had scoffed at my warning. If she had worn Uggs, as she usually does, she would have been permitted to enter the hallowed halls. That said, I cannot understand how the Ritz can survive with such a policy. I know a lot of very wealthy people, the kind that any hotel would love to attract, that wear only sport shoes. All they have is a name. There are better places. Guess who will never patronize that hotel again...
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.