Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
You’d think that five-star hotels would be used to catering to the famous.
You’d even think that they research their guests beforehand to make sure they can surprise them with personal touches.
But then there were the peculiarly personal touches offered by the Boca Raton Resort, a Waldorf Collection Hotel to one of its New Year guests.
Vitaly Zdorovetskiy is a very well-known YouTube star. He makes prank videos. People like them.
However, once the Boca Raton Resort discovered who he is, it decided it didn’t like him after all.
All we currently have is Zdorovetskiy’s explanation.
Well, that and the video, in which hotel personnel arrive with two police officers to have him removed on New Year’s Eve.
It seems, though, unclear what he’d done wrong, other than be who he is.
He says he wasn’t going to film anything in the hotel. Indeed, he had his girlfriend with him, rather than his equipment.
Still, watch and listen to his story and see what you think. (Warning: His language isn’t pristine.)
It seems that it all started with a phone call from the hotel to his room, which Zdorovetskiy didn’t want to take.
But can it be that the next step was for management knock on his door to check whether he intends to make prank videos in the hotel?
Now YouTube stars aren’t like you and me. Zdorovetskiy’s own admission is that he may have told the manager to go away in a rather rude-imentary manner because he wanted to sleep.
Within the hour, though, he says a manager broke into his room with a couple of police officers to have him removed.
He claims they ordered him and his girlfriend, who was naked at the time, to get dressed in front of them.
A man who appears to be a manager accuses him of posting a prank video the day before — but not one at the hotel.
The manager seems, indeed, to have no idea what the video was.
Still, some might wonder whether the hotel thought through its strategy as thoroughly as it might have done.
Naturally, being a YouTube star, Zdorovetskiy encouraged his 9 million followers to post poor reviews of the hotel.
He encouraged them to go to Expedia, Hotels.com and Priceline. These weren’t affected.
He also encouraged them to go on Yelp.
At the time or writing, the Boca Raton Resort has sunk to a one-and-a-half star rating on Yelp.
Perhaps Yelp doesn’t matter — it certainly doesn’t to me — but a general flow of online ill-will toward a hotel is rarely a good thing.
And, in this case, surely it could have been avoided.
The senior manager explained to Zdorovetskiy that “due to the nature of your postings, we reserve the right as a private company to have you removed from the property and not do business with you.”
Some might find this explanation odd, as the very same manager admitted he had no idea what Zdorovetskiy had posted.
Worse, he then told him that he’s being “trespassed” for one year. This means that if he returns in that time, he’ll be arrested.
And all for, well, what?
I contacted the Waldorf Astoria to wonder what it thought of its staff’s behavior and will update, should a response be forthcoming.
Zdorovetskiy does have something of a reputation.
He was arrested last year after climbing the HOLLYWOOD sign.
He was also charged with criminal trespass after streaking during the World Series.
I can’t say I warm to his public charm at all.
But some famous people are very different in private.
It’s odd that the hotel didn’t seem to know who he was when it accepted his booking.
Moreover, if the manager had told him he’d done something — behaved rudely toward a member of staff, for example — it would have been entirely understandable that he’d be removed.
Yet to expressly look a guest in the face and say they’re being kicked out and banned for a year — just because of the videos they make — seems exactly like the haughty half-wittery many might expect from one or two snooty establishments.
But only one or two, surely.
Some will say that the mere chance that the hotel might suffer damage of some sort justifies its stance.
To which I wonder: So how do rock stars ever get into a hotel?
Now, what are the chances that members of Zdorovetskiy’s team will pay a secret visit to the Boca Raton Resort and really have a good time?
High, I’d say.