On the next leg of our journey, we have now finally left Flagstaff. I say finally because the Monte Vista Hotel was, to be frank, quite horrible in a number of different ways. A lot of famous people – from John Wayne, to Humphrey Bogart, to Anthony Hopkins – have stayed there in the past. If it’s good enough for Bogie, and all that . . . But perhaps the place was nicer in his day.
It transpired that the rooms pictured on the internet were the refurbished ones. Our rooms were most decidedly not refurbished (even if it was the one Spencer Tracy reportedly stayed in). When I went into our bathroom upon arrival, the toilet bowl was full of smelly wee that someone had neglected to flush away (never mind actually cleaning the toilet). I go on holiday for several reasons, but smelly wee ain’t one of them. Nothing spoils a holiday faster than some stranger’s smelly wee.
But moving on from that – the main problem I had with the hotel was that it absolutely scared the wits out of me. I don’t believe in ghosts as such, but I do believe in the possibility of them, especially in a place like that. It was like something directly out of The Twilight Zone. And if any hotel was really haunted, it was this one. There was all this ancient dark wooden furniture, and creaking floorboards, and strange mirrors, and rusty hinges on the doors, and scary posters of girl-wonder Shirley Temple looking all smug and curly. . .
When the five of us went out for dinner, I suppose we all wound each other up a bit with ghost stories, so by the time we returned to the hotel my thoughts were veering towards wondering if I would survive the night, and so on. It didn’t help when the elevator came down to the lobby with two little girls clinging to their father and sobbing because they were too terrified of the hotel to stay the night. Kids can sense evil, y’know. I was a bit on edge by the time we got up to our floor. Perhaps that was why, when a large tattooed man burst suddenly out of the room next door to ours, I . . . well, sort of screamed in his face. He was very nice about it though.
I did, however, survive the night. Even if I did spend much of it sitting up in bed and peering owlishly into shadows, in search of ghostly figures, or horrifying Shirley Temple apparitions.
Now, we are staying in Monument Valley in a brand spanking new hotel. This is the view from our balcony:
Nice, eh? A very definite improvement on last night even if, mere minutes after our arrival, a storm blew up, knocking out the electricity and water supply. They got them back up and running eventually though.
All in all, this place pleases me tremendously. I may very well refuse to leave.