[Read] ➱ Hotel ➹ Arthur Hailey – Saudionline.co.uk

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10 thoughts on “Hotel

  1. says:

    While conducting research for the writing of this novel, Arthur Hailey spent two months as a paying guest at the Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans.  The owner of the Roosevelt, the late Seymour Weiss, instructed his department heads to answer Hailey’s questions honestly and without holding back and urged them to direct their staff to do the same.  Hailey believes that Weiss had become weary of his hotel and the corruption that had seized it.    The Roosevelt still exists, only these days it is called the Fairmont.  I found it interesting to research this hotel in New Orleans as I was reading the book.

    So onto the story.  Basically what Hailey has done is focused on five hot and humid days in the Louisiana summer of 1964, at a New Orleans luxury hotel called the The St. Gregory.  The principal character in this story is Peter McDermott, who is the assistant general manager of the hotel.  Through him we meet other members of the staff and some of the noteworthy guests.  

    And these are not just any five days at the St. Gregory, for in exactly that period of time the twenty year old mortgage on the hotel is due for renewal.  Problem is that so far no-one was willing to renew it.  Warren Trent, the owner was becoming increasingly concerned about his last remaining option, which was to sell his beloved hotel; his lifetime achievement.  Naturally there  are reasons that financial institutions are reluctant to pick up or renew the mortgage.  In short,  the St. Gregory was poorly managed, which was having a negative impact on the bottom line.

    Peter McDermott knows very well that corruption runs rampant among the many different departments and staff of the hotel.  Given a free hand, he would clean house and put things right, but he has long since become frustrated with his efforts in getting Warren Trent to see or even acknowledge the problems, particularly as they involved certain key members of staff or long held hotel policies..

    Hailey seamlessly weaves the management of a large and luxurious establishment together with the lives and eccentricities of it's many guests.  There is never a dull moment and although Hotel cannot help but be dated, (first published in 1965) I have no doubt that many of the challenges faced in this story continue to plague similar establishments to this very day.  As this story reaches its screeching, chilling conclusion it may have you rethinking which amenities you wish to avail yourself of on your next visit to a large and splendid hotel of yesteryear.  

  2. says:

    Ever since I read Airport,Hailey has been a firm favourite of mine. He wrote relatively few books,but those were enough to make him one of the bestselling authors in the world. Hotel is another one of his blockbusters.

    Hailey did a good deal of research before penning any of his books.In this case too,he closely observed the workings of a large hotel.

    As in most Hailey books,there are several intriguing subplots. One man is at the centre of it all,Peter McDermott,the hotel's assistant general manager.

    The hotel's owner struggles with financial difficulties as a business rival tries to buy him out and make the hotel a part of his own chain.

    A thief is on the prowl,looking for his opportunity. There is a hit and run case involving a couple of hotel guests and an unscrupluous house detective.

    A black man is barred from attending a dentists' convention,and it nearly becomes a crisis. A girl is assaulted and a mysterious guest falls seriously ill. Meanwhile,the hotel's employees are all on the lookout to make a fast buck.

    The story moves along briskly. It all comes together in an explosive,unforgettable climax. Another triumph for Arthur Hailey.

  3. says:


    “No. I wish to cancel that order and place another”.
    “Yes Ma’am.”

    When we generally say this in the hotels and restaurants and promptly another dish is served (or not served for whatever reasons) do we ever sit back and wonder what goes on behind the scenes? Sometimes we perhaps do, but what we imagine is probably only 1/100th of the actual hassle the hotel staff must have undergone to make that one thing available, not counting making it look absolutely hassle-free.

    Arthur Hailey’s “Hotel” takes us through one such hotel in a detailed, rather immensely elaborate story. This one has multiple characters and inter-woven plots that somehow converge, to make a distinctly riveting narrative. This was my 100th book of 2017 and incidentally 1st of Hailey’s – couldn’t have been a better choice than this for my Popsugar prompt of “A Book set in a Hotel”.
    The book took me back to my initial reading days when an exciting plot made up most of the story, with very little attention of the reader towards the language or other nuances. (Just to be clear, I am not discrediting the language here just that one doesn’t focus on that much). At the same time, I believe, Hailey’s “TV-Series’ish” tale was a good combination of character arcs and some bitter rumination of the Civil Rights’ Movement during the time (1964 to be precise), as well as subjects such as commercialism, capitalism, morality and loyalty. The role of women is sketched, perhaps, looking at those times. They don’t have a major story-line. That said there is certainly an aura of strength in the women, especially Dodo, who has been given a stereotype of a “dumb blonde”, but by the end of it all, looks like is much more than what she appears to be. There is no dramatization of reality. There is a vigorous portrayal of a need to be ethical and the conundrum associated with it when it comes to running certain major establishments and institutions especially in an age of fiscal boom.

    Peter McDermott is a resourceful young assistant manager at St. Gregory, one of the oldest hotels of New Orleans. The owner of St. Gregory, Warren Trent, still believes in the values of customer service and human touch. Most of his patrons are a return-clientele and a many staff members are the ones who were employed by him right when the hotel was only a small inn. He has been refusing to give in to the phenomenon of chain-hotels which has engulfed the country - until of course now. St. Gregory is not doing great - with respect to management and finances. There is also tremendous level of debauchery going on at the ground level, the extent of which is hidden from Trent owing to his misplaced trust in his older staff. McDermott knows all of this and wants to change the way things are run, but owing to the obstinate nature of his employer has only failed so far.

    The book starts on a busy Monday morning inside the hotel and we see Peter trying to tackle multiple things at a time. There is an intermittent moaning being heard from a room, a suspicion of a possible orgy in another one, a customer service issue raised by one of the wealthiest clients of the hotel, another sort of disturbance on one of the floors, an elevator issue and then there is his employer, who we see is quite worried because of a mortgage due for renewal by the end of the same week which is not a happy news. The bankers have issued a due date for foreclosure with an amount of $2mn.

    The story takes us through various occurrences in the hotel for that full week and comes to a chilling climax. Some stuff is cliché and predictable but for some reason I wasn’t disappointed. Sometimes clichés make really good stories like this one. It doesn’t have any great interpretational requirement, neither is there a thrill of guessing any perpetrator, and yet, the reader wishes to know “What next?”

    I have my gripes of course, which is why the lesser number of stars. Some details could have been curtailed. The intricate details of the working of an incinerator or an elevator sometimes become a tad bit drudged and unnecessary. We know these two machines will play a major part later after the first few lines and yet Hailey spends lengthy passages to drive the point home. There was a little disappointment somewhere with respect to one character. Nevertheless, I will read Hailey again simply because of the extensive research that Hailey put on show in this one.
    (Trivia: Hailey resided in Hotel Roosevelt in New Orleans in 1964 to research for this book)
    Would love to hear your thoughts if you have read this book or any other book by Arthur Hailey.

  4. says:

    It's a good little story, this - who would have thought you could make the daily runnings of a hotel that interesting?
    Despite the odd crazy cliche the characters here are excellent, given that it's only a shortish book and not exactly heavily philosophical or anything too deep. I feel I'm doing it a disservice here actually: the characters, 2 or 3 of them in particular, are rather excellent in their own right.

    A well paced (and getting right into the thick of things early on) and enlightening tale, it is very obvious that Mr Hailey, when researching this book, spent a lot of time in large hotels and gleaned an awful lot of inside knowledge on the industry and operation of these vast complexes, if he didn't somehow have it all up there already. The result is an insight into hotel management of the period in the United States, and is thoroughly fascinating, brought to our attention by the skillful creation of plausible characters.

    And a few unexpected things besides: well worth a read, as, I imagine, are Hailey's other books including Airport and some other single-word titles that lead me to believe that, like Michael Crichton and a great many others, Hailey may have a little bit of a repetitive formula going on if you read his whole catalogue.

    But hey - this one is very enjoyable.

  5. says:

    Disclaimer: ARC read via Netgalley courtesy of Open Road Integrated Media.

    I am old enough (or young enough depending on your viewpoint) to vaguely remember seeing commercials for the television series based on this novel. So I admit reading this was somewhat more of an interest of why did people love/like enough for it to be a television series.

    I’m not sure what the answer to my question is, but I must admit this was better than I thought it would be.

    Hotel takes place in the 60s, just at the start of the Civil Rights Movement. It is about a hotel (duh) in New Orleans that is going through a crisis. The story shifts between hotel owner, staff, guests, and a would be buyer. The strength in the book isn’t the plot, which to be frank, is rather predictable from the first chapter to the end, but the characters. The book functions more as a believable character study more than anything else. I have to give him props for the character of Dodo is not really a dumb blonde at all, though her story arc was cliché.

    The book also is very much a product of its time in terms of the woman characters who are in the standard jobs (if they have a job at all). But this is made up for the relationship between the hotel’s manager Peter, and Royce, an African American law student whose relationship with the owner/ president of the hotel, Trent, seems to be a holdover not only from Royce’s father but slave days. This is made more problematic because Trent refuses to desegregate the hotel. And it is this plot point that makes the most interesting read, at least from today’s standpoint.

    If this were a true Hollywood movie, at by today’s production teams, it would end with Trent realizing the errors of his ways, Peter and Royce becoming BBFs, and the hotel allowing lower income inner city former gang members to work there.

    The book isn’t today’s Hollywood.

    While the desegregation issues are handled with typical Hollywood dramatic flair, its outcome is more realistic and nuanced. This makes up for the predictable plot elements like the sick guest, the stealing, the hanky panky and spanky, and the murder plot.

    Additionally, Hailey’s restrained prose makes the book read more like an HBO series than a daytime soap opera. While it is not a book, I don’t think I would buy (it really isn’t my thing), it was enjoyable, and far more so than the Dan Simmons book I was reading at the same time. In fact, I kept putting that book down to read this. If you like soap operas, this is enough romance and angst here to keep you happy as well.

    Crossposted at Booklikes.

  6. says:

    This book was published in 1965. I probably read it at least several times when I was a teenager. Recently I started thinking about it, and decided to read it again. It totally holds up. Arthur Hailey is a good writer, an excellent storyteller, an expert at plotting and character development, and a genius at weaving story lines and characters together. The book is dated, of course, but who cares? One thing that made me laugh was a successful hotelier's vision of what hotels of the future would be like. It hasn't come into being yet! Anyway...next I'm going to read Airport. :)

  7. says:

    Arthur Hailey can make the most mundane things interesting and in this case i found myself dieing to know the fate of the Hotel. The unlikely hero Peter Mc Dermot is fascinating and and in incredibly attractive in a way that transcends just physical good looks. The story is masterfully told and the attention to detail is unlike any other author of his age

  8. says:

    Arthur Hailey is just brilliant. He takes an industrial setting like an Airport or a Hotel, and explains the daily operations involved in running such places from the perspective of a key player, mostly a senior manager. The seemingly mundane activities are always very well described and his research is meticulous. It is said that he used to research an industry for years together to portray its nitty gritties accurately. The Human element in these books is also very good with a slew of characters facing challenges and moral dilemmas frequently. He starts by describing a slow paced day and then switches on to a fast paced narrative once a few incidents happen (typically accidents). This also gives it an exciting thriller feel to it. And since most of his books were written in the 60s and 70s, there is also a historical aspect to these books now. Apart from these, each of his books are set in different cities and he does an excellent job describing the city, local traditions, architecture etc.

    In this book, the key character is Peter McDermott, the Asst. General Manager of the St.Gregory Hotel, which is struggling to compete with the new efficient Hotel chains. He has work with the hotel owner Mr.Trent, customers, other management and employees like the waiters and bellboys charging more etc . He also deals with accidents and crimes and even the sensitive issue of racial discrimination (considering that the book was written in 1965, it must have been a hot topic then with the desegregation laws just coming into effect).

    Overall, an excellent read, especially if you are curious about how things work in different industries. Even if you aren't curious, the fast paced narrative part itself is very good and is comparable to any good thriller.

  9. says:

    Surprisingly enjoyable 1965 bestseller set in a New Orleans hotel. It even included a Civil Rights event in the plot. Best of all was learning all the details about what goes on behind the scenes in hotels.

  10. says:

    I hadn't realised that this book was first published in the 1960's, I remember it being around with all the other blockbuster books in the 80's, maybe this was when the mini series came out. Anyway I spotted it in Amazon before Christmas and I've always wanted to read it, so downloaded it. The book follows a number of characters over 5 days from Monday to Friday, either working or visiting the St Gregory Hotel in New Orleans. Friday being DDay for the owner. He has to come up with a refinancing package or accept a buy out from a hotel chain otherwise the bank forecloses. Running alongside this story is the one of a mother and child being killed in a hit and run accident. The hotel also has a professional thief hitting on the guests. The convention of dentists are in uproar as the hotel discriminates against coloured people, plus a few other stories. Everything comes to a thrilling and horrific conclusion on the Friday afternoon. Even though it was a little dated I thoroughly enjoyed it, so much so my partner was asking, WHEN ARE YOU TURNING THE LIGHT OUT, at 11.30pm last night. I only hope my pen friend of around 35 years who now lives on the Isle of Bute and I've just found out she is also reading this, having bought it her mum for Christmas, as she wanted to read it, enjoys it as much as I have.

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