Brain feeling blah? Exercise it.

On New Year’s Eve I spent an hour or so engaged in the board game Battle of the Sexes with friends. I think that was the name of it. We were on vacation at their house in Ottawa, Ohio. A few hours before the game, the female half of this couple took me on a drive through town to show me where the water line was when the town flooded this summer. Their basement family room was royally trashed by water.

Thanksgiving weekend, I spent an hour or so playing some other brain engaging activity with my husband’s family in Hinckley, Ohio (It’s where the buzzards come to roost each spring.) It was a short vacation; we didn’t stay overnight, but the trip involved 5 hours of driving, so I call that getting away. I can’t remember the name of Thanksgiving’s game, but I do remember it involved drawing, acting and trivia.

According to a post at Intelligent Traveler, this game playing is part of a travel trend. Wow! I would have done a better job and won if I knew I was cutting edge. Since playing games gives your brain a workout AND helps you relax, people in the hotel business are wooing guests by providing game playing and brain exercise options.

Some, like Hyatt Resorts are providing board games for guests to use. Seminars, workshops and classes on how to get your brain on fire with vim and vigor while you’re on break from the rest of your life are also in the mix. Westin Hotels have brain exercises they hand out to their guests.

When I stayed at the Westin in Taipei, I was so thrilled with the bedding and the bathtub since it was such a contrast to the funky, odd, kind of uncomfortable apartment we lived in Hsinchu with its hard as a rock mattress, tub that you really couldn’t sit in, and hot water that barely lasted through one shower , much less two, that brain food would have been a distraction from the luxury.

After reading about this game trend, it occurred to me that southeastern Kentucky is way ahead. One of the regular activities at the Buckhorn Lake State Park resort is playing Bingo. That’s a game I can win. The last time I stayed there, I left with a ceramic mug.

Hotels to Start Building 13th Floors?

Thanks to the commonly-held superstition that 13 is an unlucky number, hotels have traditionally been built without a 13th floor (or, more accurately, mis-labeled their floors so that 12 is followed by 14). The practice is so widespread, in fact, that most travels can’t recall ever seeing one. But, while most new hotels follow suit, the Starwood chain appears to be bucking the trend, recently including the 13th floor in four of it’s new Westin hotels.

So has the move caused mass hysteria? Have the builders all fallen mysteriously ill or disappeared?

The answer, in short, is no. It’s certainly been a conversation starter, but a recent USA TODAY/Gallup Poll suggests that the vast majority of Americans wouldn’t mind staying on a floor labeled “13,” with only 9% saying that they’d be compelled to request a room change.

A bigger problem than traveler discomfort, it seems, is the potential confusion this move might cause for fire departments. It’s so common for hotels to skip the 13th floor, that most assume it isn’t there.

What about you? Would you be uncomfortable staying on the 13th floor, or is this merely an out of control superstition?