Hello everyone. I’m being pestered to do a write-up of Con K in Huntsville from last month. I wasn’t able to get many pictures on the second day of the con for reasons I’ll explain later in the tale, but I’ll post what I do have.
The tl;dr version: Con K is a very new, Who-centric convention that is going through some growing pains but has a lot of potential to be a really fun event if organizational and venue issues can be resolved.
If you’re not interested in my adventure in getting there and problems with the hotel, skip to Part The Second on page 2.
Part The First: The Trip
You just know it’s going to be one of those trips when the day before you leave you get an email from your credit card company telling you that your card has been placed on fraud alert. At least this time, the card company had the courtesy to tell me; last time they froze my account I was mid-air on my way to Calgary, only to find when I landed that both my credit card and my bank card had been frozen. Not fun. So instead of getting some rest and packing, I spent the day on the phone with the credit card company and my bank, making sure the travel notices were set up on the cards, and ensuring that the charge for the hotel would go through.
Then, when I finally did make it on the road, about an hour outside of Huntsville something smacked into my windshield and cracked the glass.
Then, just as I turned into Huntsville, the heavens parted and I was in the middle of a deluge, driving on an unfamiliar interstate, with a cracked windshield, and rain so hard I could barely see the car in front of me. It took forever, but I did eventually make it to the turn off–and then couldn’t find parking at the Westin.It took another good half hour of driving around to find where I was actually supposed to park, and I was dripping wet by the time I get to the desk.
The person at the desk was very cordial to me, until he saw the reservation and that I was with the con. Immediately his demeanor changed, and he became very condescending. That was not the first time that the staff at the Westin Huntsville behaved in such a manner. There were at least four instances, directed at me by three Westin staff, during my stay there, and in chatting with other con goers, I heard that some of them were treated even worse. Most of the issues seemed to focus in the bar and grill area, where I personally overheard one of the staff make fun of con goers while talking to other patrons. This is completely unprofessional behavior. I have had excellent experiences with the Westin in the past, and I was very disappointed to observe this kind of behavior in Huntsville.
That said, it’s still a Westin, and you’re guaranteed a decent bed and a great shower. So I blew off the snarkiness and went to my room to sleep for a couple hours.
The Huntsville Westin, like the Westin at Lombard, is situated next to a mall. That means that you are not trapped in the hotel for the whole time, you can get out, take a walk, try out other restaurants, do a little shopping. That’s exactly what I did on the night before the con. I was pretty excited when I saw the mall directory and realized that there were several establishments that offered gluten-free options, but disappointed to find out how long the wait was at the restaurants.
So after I finished my shopping, I put my purchases in the car and went back to the hotel for supper. I ordered the steak with mushroom risotto and a glass of the house merlot. The merlot was actually pretty decent. Unfortunately, the steak and risotto were not. I had ordered the steak medium rare and they sent me well-done. The outside was charred black, and the meat was tough and stringy. I should have sent it back–but I was so hungry I ate it anyway. I might as well have been eating leather. The first few bites of the risotto were fine, but then I started picking up the saltiness–way too much salt for my preference. But at least I got my tummy full and I called it quits and went to bed.
Please scroll down to click on the link to Page 2.