The woman at the front desk looked at me and smiled as I checked in Tuesday, thanking me for being a Hilton Diamond member and informing me that my room was upgraded to a suite.  I thanked her, still shaking off the miles of driving, accepted my cookie and water and rolled my bag to my upgraded room.  Hilton Diamond is just another way of identifying yourself as someone who travels a lot for work.  Less a status symbol, more a way of life.  But there are perks beyond the free water, wi-fi and shorter check-in line, namely I get points I can use for even more travel.

My room was on the third floor, and as I rolled my bag around the corner I saw the room almost immediately.  I tapped my prox card on the reader, the light turned green and beeped a greeting and I opened the door to another world.  This wasn’t just a suite, this was an adventure in thematic decorating.  They bumped me up to the Safari Room, and the only thing missing was the soundtrack of wild animals screaming in the night and the pounding of drums as the natives hunted me down.

Flipping on the light, the first thing I saw was a curved bar with animal busts mounted conveniently at knee height (as I would find out later).  A lion’s head sconce with flickering electric candles watched over the copper sink in the wet bar, gazelles and monkeys and wildebeests were integrated into the furniture.  Bamboo and matted grass-like wallpaper completed the look.  And the room went on forever (I counted 55 steps to circle the L -shaped room).  A glass table with four themed chairs met me around the corner, and far down the other end was the king-sized bed with bamboo headboard.  A massive walk-in closet was off to the side, with room for hundreds of outfits, and hangers for five.  And capping it all off was the bathroom.  This was a suite in itself, larger than many hotel rooms I’ve stayed in, with a hot tub set in the middle, a large walk-in shower to the side, toilet and avocado sink…. that’s right, an avocado sink. Surveying the entire bathroom suite were two jungle masks on either side of the sink that kept staring at me and a large hippo bench that looked like it would roll over and have me rub its belly.  Wow, where do you begin?

The thing about getting a room like this is it reminds you that you’re traveling alone. It amplifies the solo in solo travel. I’d almost rather have the standard room where I don’t think about what I left behind to be in this crazy room. But you make the most of it and move on to the real world. I had a drink at the bar while running a report, but otherwise it was just another hotel room for me. People make the place, not jungle themed furniture. This room would be wildly fun with friends. Nope, just me. Alone. In the jungle. But it sure was unique.