Just One Person Has Been Living In The W Barcelona For Two Months, Like In A Twilight Zone Episode

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.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. On a related note, Loyalty Lobby covered some interesting trends in Bonvoy peak/off-peak, in that many Bonvoy hotels are (unsurprisingly) having way more peak days than off peak days, even in the off-season.

    Another reason I’m glad I switched to Hyatt at the beginning of the year (although not great considering COVID’s timing).

  2. Seems like there should be a least two maintenance people for a 500 room hotel for whatever may come up. You might need someone to hold a ladder or help lift something or ?

  3. “Like all of us, Mr. Ordoñez has been Bonvoyed.”

    I laughed way too hard at this. Very well done Gary.

  4. I stayed here on a Thanksgiving mileages run. Very nice

    It will be after November before I travel again. So someone else can spend the Bonvoys 🙂

  5. it’s about time you said something about Marriott charging peak prices at the this time of record low demand. Can you get Marriott to comment?

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