Inn Affinity ; Childhood Vacations Foster Lifelong Love of Hotels, Motels

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I wasn't allowed to watch "Hotel" as a kid.

The sudsy '80s show about the St. Gregory Hotel was apparently a smidgen too racy for my elementary eyes. A few times, though, I sneak-peeked an episode on the bread box-sized portable TV that I won in sixth grade from the "Gilligan's Island" Castaway Quiz on TBS.

It wasn't the romance between James Brolin and Connie Sellecca's characters on the show that intrigued me as much as the simple, weird fact that I've always loved hotels - even motels.

Surely, the main reason for my inn affinity is that I associate hotels with vacation. One of my first memories, perhaps as far back as preschool, was the old neon Holiday Inn sign outside our room window with a palm tree nearby.

But the weirder wherefore regarding my fascination with hotels pertains to the smell. Chain hotels had a particular scent, and in retrospect I think it was a blend of those old, long rectangular air conditioner units under the room's windows and - disgusting as this sounds - cigarette smoke. We always stayed in nonsmoking rooms, but you could tell that previous occupants bent the rules, and the cleaning staff vainly tried Lysol-ing away the evidence.

Having searched Demeter's fragrance library, which includes fun items like Dirt, Black Pepper and Earl Grey Tea, I was disappointed not to find '80s Holiday Inn Room. …