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Texas-size hospitality

Assigned to attend a conference recently, I cringed when I saw the venue—the Gaylord Texan hotel, located just minutes from the Dallas/ Ft. Worth airport. Oh bother, I sighed, another huge convention hotel. The jaded traveler in me balks at the idea of being trapped in an impersonal property miles and miles from a city center. And what road warrior hasnâ€â„¢t been put off by the vast spaces, confusing layouts and lackluster service of some of these behemoths?

Rising imperiously out of the Texan plains, the Gaylord, with its 1,500 guestrooms and 400,000 square feet of meeting space, is another jewel in the crown of the Nashville-based Gaylord Entertainment with mega-resorts in Nashville and Orlando. Upon check-in, I was sure my bias was confirmed when my quoted room rate was in question. Aha, I huffed, here we go, as I stiffened in preparation to do battle with the lodging giant. Whatâ€â„¢s next—hidden resort service fees? Bring it on! But the friendly and competent desk clerk quickly deflated my rising blood pressure, resolving the situation with grace and humor and offering to assist in any other issue that might arise during my stay.

I could only fault myself for the next dilemma (and for any female itâ€â„¢s a dire one): Iâ€â„¢d left my beloved make-up bag at home. God forbid I attend any social/work function sans Bobbi Brown concealer and MAC gloss lipstick. I frantically scoured the hotel sundries shop for cosmetics but alas, all I could find were condoms and Chapstick. Luckily, a kindly store clerk came to my rescue, personally directing me to the hotelâ€â„¢s beautifully appointed spa, where a nice selection of cosmetics (half off!) saved my face, literally.

Crisis averted, my heart softened towards the big lug of a place. I started to notice some of the more personal touches gracing the Gaylord—the warm and inviting lobby fire, the festive fall decorations and the generous, soothing cocktails (although I couldâ€â„¢ve done without the sound systemâ€â„¢s pervasive urban cowboy music).

To top off the positive stay was, most surprisingly, the roomservice. I allowed an extra hour for the accustomed delays and errors (my previous roomservice experience at another hotel was a disaster—meals arrived inexcusably late two days in a row, with messed up orders both meals, to boot). To my delight, the meal arrived a mere 20 minutes after ordering, during the height of the breakfast rush, no less. And, best of all, a friendly call from roomservice five minutes prior to its arrival alerted me to itâ€â„¢s impending arrival—giving me time to slap some more makeup on.

For such a huge hotel, Gaylord Texan gets a lot of little things right. Kudos.

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