By Dian Vujovich
Stopped by The Breakers the other day to meet a guest staying there. I’d forgotten that there was no place to park along their entrance road so wasn’t particularly happy when the less-than-friendly gate keeper told me the only parking was valet.
When I asked him about the little lot to the south of his stand (I could see a few cars were parked in it) he told me it was closed. I asked about parking in the spaces by the spa and he said that wasn’t possible either. Since the nearest non-valet place to park that I could think of was blocks away, literally, I had no other choice but to valet.
The valet attendant was pleasant, gave me my ticket and when I asked the cost, told me $20.
“Twenty dollars? That’s four gyros.”
“Well,” he explained, “If you spend more than $20 on lunch or something in one of the shops they will validate your ticket and there won’t be a charge.”
The cost of our two coffees was a far cry from twenty big ones. And since twenty bucks can buy a lot of stuff these days to anyone counting, throwing it out the window to park a car wasn’t something I was going to do. Realizing that The Breakers was going to get the cash out of me one way or another, I decided to spend my parking money on cards in their gift shop. Actually spent over $21. Free parking. Yippee. Yeah, right!
On the way home I got to wondering about whatever happened to the days of the $5 valet? So I called a handful of hotels in town and learned that during the day, valet parking is either free or can run $20 or $30 bucks. The phone person at The Breakers quoted me $30—I must have gotten a deal. The Ritz’s policy in Manalapan is the similar—spend $30 bucks and it’s free. Spend no money and it’s $20.
But decide to pop into the Brazilian Court, The Colony or the Four Seasons for drinks, or lunch, coffee, tea or to visit a guest and you’ll pay nothing. Nada. Not one red cent to park your ride.
That’s the way it ought to be, if you ask me.
I don’t know about you, but I’m concerned about what these high valet fees could mean for future guests at the Big B.
Can’t you just see a bride parking in front of Testa’s, getting out with her suitcase and bridesmaids in tow and running down the street back to The Breakers?
“What are you doing?” asks a pedestrian.
“We got a great rate for our wedding but can’t afford the parking. I mean, it was either dessert for our guests or parking.”
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