One man has spent the past two months living in the W Barcelona hotel. He’s in charge of maintenance. The property closed in mid-March but Daniel Ordoñez stayed inside. He “agreed to self-isolate inside in order to avoid any deterioration of the premises that could delay its reopening, whenever that might be.”
Every five days, Daniel Ordoñez opens 1,400 pipe taps in a waterfront hotel here in Barcelona that locals call “The Sail” because of its shape.
Each tap has to run for about five minutes, so the task takes him a full day. “It’s probably the most boring part of my job, but it’s needed,” he said, to avoid a form of pneumonia that can be spread by bacteria in the water: Legionnaires’ disease.
At first he thought he’d be there for two weeks. It’s been more than eight. He lives by himself on the 24th floor of the hotel, and cooks his meals alone in the huge hotel kitchen. He washes his socks in housekeeping’s gigantic industrial washer. In normal times Ordoñez had a crew of twenty. Now he faces the challenges of performing repairs alone.
I’m not sure whether this is more like an episode of The Twilight Zone where there’s just one man left on earth, and he spends his whole days continuing to do his job because his entire identity is wrapped up in the role he played – and if he stops he has to confront the end of the world – or whether meeting him is somewhat akin to discovering Desmond, living inside ‘the hatch’ in the first episode of the second season of Lost?
Hopefully other properties have their Daniel Ordoñezes, sentenced to roam the halls of empty hotels for all eternity, because without them properties won’t be ready to re-open and guests risk Legionnaires’ disease.
While the W Barcelona is taking reservations starting July 1, Ordoñez is unlikely to see any Marriott Bonvoy redemption guests for quite some time. Despite the biggest dropoff in hotel occupancy in recorded history, Marriott wants peak pricing for those first dates in July – 100,000 points per night for this category 8 hotel – and there’s not a single ‘off peak’ redemption night until November 22.
Like all of us, Mr. Ordoñez has been Bonvoyed.