Eloise had a lot of reasons to be entranced by a life as a denizen of the famed Plaza Hotel. Room service, prostate battling wits with Mr. Salomone, her trippy little turtle Skipperdee, and the view from the tippy-top floor of a grand hotel were just a few of the charms that kept that inquisitive lass smiling from day to day (and book to book thanks to Kay Thompson and Hilary Knight). Everything a little girl with spunk could dream of in a hotel experience was right at Eloise’s fingertips, right?
I’m a great supporter of little girls living their lives with panache. Reading about Eloise’s adventures as a resident of the Plaza Hotel has always been a treat for me and my two daughters who themselves lean into panache with gusto. When I recently introduced them to the many delightful whims of the Pfister, their own hometown version of Eloise’s lair, they were immediately captivated.
I thank my lucky stars, however, that my gals are cheaper dates than Eloise ever was. They keep tugging at my leg, pleading with me to bring them back to the Pfister, their rendition of Eloise’s playland. But it’s not because of a proper English nanny who gets them out of scrapes, or the possibility of soaking in a bathtub and sending water splashing around all the Pfister’s nooks and crannies in some Eloise type scheme that keeps them coming back for more. No, you can scratch my girls’ itch for hotel grandeur with something a bit more simple.
Just take them to the toilet, and they’ll come away thinking that Eloise had nothing on them.
My daughters Dorothea and Carmela are citizens of the world. They actually have “regular” haunts in New York City, tell people in great detail about the 114-year-old restaurant in Paris where you can get the best frites, and debate the virtues of planning our next big family trip to London or Florence. They do it all with a great sense of wonder and appreciation, all the while forever understanding that because of some lucky breaks that their parents have had with travel, they get to go further and see more than most kids or adults ever do.
It is with that sense of wonder that my children have decided that there is no finer place for potty time than the Pfister Hotel.
This all began innocently enough when Dorothea and Carmela had some friends from out of town come to visit. We stopped by the Pfister so the visiting girls, both fine artists, could stop in and see the work being created by our Artist-In-Residence Todd Mrozinski and the robust collection of art displayed around the Pfister. After taking in all that cultural excellence, the young ladies needed to make a stop in the loo, and I escorted them to the ladies restroom on the 7th floor where the ballrooms and meeting spaces converge.
I took my appointed post as dad-in-waiting a couple of yards from the entrance to the ladies room as the four girls entered. A minute passed. Then two. Then five. Approaching ten minutes, I grew concerned. Was someone sick? I started to scan around to see if a friendly lady might help a fellow out and peek her head in to see if the girls were okay, but I was saved from the ask when the door to the ladies’ burst open and four grinning young lasses tumbled out and rushed to me.
“Dad, that is the best bathroom in the world,” said my oldest Dorothea.
“There are couches in there—it’s the coolest thing ever!” My youngest daughter Carmela looked like she had plans to move in, foregoing her rainbow, cloud and frog bedroom walls that I myself had painted with great sweat and blood and a decided lack of artistic talent. Show the girl a good toilet, and Carmela swoons.
For the rest of the visit with their friends, the girls spoke in glowing terms about this bathroom to everyone they met. It was like they were telling people they would run into about the best new restaurant in town. I half expected to hear, “Oh, you must try the hand soap—it’s transcendent.”
The friends left town, but the idea of coming back to visit this magical bathroom did not leave their minds. It seemed perfectly normal to Dorothea and Carmela to go to a luxury hotel to simply see a public space bathroom. But the stakes had been raised for them, because they had heard a vital tip through other people they had met visiting the Pfister.
“You like the 7th floor bathroom? Well wait until you see the one on the 23rd floor.”
I couldn’t drive them back to the Pfister fast enough when they got in their mind that they needed to visit the much talked about 23rd floor ladies room. It is the bathroom serving Blu and from their sleuthing they had found out that it also offers one of Milwaukee’s finest scenic views. There was no question that they were coming back, and this time they were coming prepared.
I don’t know if riding an elevator with your daughters who are excitedly clutching a camera so they can run into the ladies room and snap some pictures is going to make it into my nomination papers for father-of-the-year. But that happened, and in their minds, it makes me one of the best dads in the world. They ducked into the 23rd floor gals rest room and emerged a full 15 minutes later with a selection of shots they had taken out of the floor to ceiling window that the ladies room boasts.
Now when my girls recount their tales of travels through the Alps or describe the right subway line to take to get you into Brooklyn from Midtown Manhattan, they pause short and take in a satisfied breath when they think of the bit of knowledge they really want to share to show off the lives they’ve led exploring the world. If you ever have the chance to meet my exuberant daughters, please remember that they really are pretty normal girls as they pull you aside to say, “Let me tell you about the greatest toilet I’ve ever seen.”