« A GPS unit plays dead | Main | Road trip attraction: A Taste of Charleston »

Gambling on a hotel-room view

I was arriving late -- 10 p.m. -- at my Charleston hotel, and I wondered what kinds of rooms would be unassigned at that hour. I had booked the room for three nights through Priceline, which meant I was probably paying less than most people staying there, and the odds that I would get a waterfront room were low (I did not identify myself as a travel writer -- I rarely do).  But you never know. Sometimes if occupancy is low, a hotel will assign people to its better rooms just for the PR value. And sometimes if occupancy is high, a great room is all that's left by 10 p.m. It's happened. But that was not to be.  At the front desk, as he handed me my key, the clerk told me the hotel was full. I went back to my car to get my suitcase, looked up at wall of windows, and figured I probably had a parking lot view. Which, as it turned out, I do. But it wasn't til morning that I could see the whole picture. Fenced in directly below my window is the maintenance area -- garbage bins, spare propane units and a tool shed. But beyond, if I stand on my toes and look out at just the right angle, just over the treetops, I can see a sliver of water in the harbor.