It started out with a innocent business trip and a stay at the Park Hyatt Chicago. How many hotel bath products have you used in your life?  All of them forgettable, unregistered even.

For the first time. Head over the heel, I fell IN LOVE with this scent the minute it hit the shower, I don’t know what else to say.

I came home, with 3 little bottles as souvenirs.

***

I googled everywhere. I called PH Chicago for this perfume that has no real name.

Do you sell this product?

No.

Is this the same stuff that’s available at the PH in Paris (PH Vendome) and Dubai?

I dunno.

Do you know where I can buy this online?

No.

What about the perfume maker’s website?

I dunno.

What kind of scheme is this?

Sorry, Miss, Can I help you with something else?

***

The perfume was “commissioned” by the Park Hyatt and is available for certain PH locations only.  It was created at the Park Hyatt Paris (Vendome), for the hotel itself.  I encountered this at the PH Chicago, which appears to be the closest location anyway.  So do I go back to Chicago?

To do what?  I have no other reason to go back to Chicago

So, maybe I should go to another location and make a trip out of it.  But…isn’t it a little crazy to fly to Paris or Dubai just to get some lotion?

I should go quickly.  They could discontinue it any time.  Which is why I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.

Now I understand what it feels like to be lovesick for something to the point that you’re almost going crazy. You’ll search till the end of the earth. And the more elusive this thing is the more crazy you become. It’s completely irrational, base, stupid.

What you fear is that time has run out and they will not make this anymore.

Then what?  Kidnap the perfume maker – and force him reveal the “secret formula” under knife point?

Oh my god. What am I thinking.  I’m really surprised that the image actually occurred to me.

***

Out of desperation w the obsession raging on, I thought of a last ditch effort to pursue or leave my hope.

I left work early and drove in traffic well over two hours to the Park Hyatt in Washington DC, and showed up at the front desk with a little bottle in hand.

Yes ma’am, I have a funny request!  If you could help me, you would make me one of the happiest people in the world.  See, I’m absolutely in love with this.

“No. We don’t carry this anymore.  We’ve switched to our new scent about a month ago.”

NOOOOOOO!!! I felt crestfallen.

“But we may have some leftovers in the stock room.”

No. You’re joking.  What are they doing in the stock room?!?!?!?!?! 

“I’d like a shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, and body wash!!!!”  I said, too enthusiastically, like a crazy.

She writes everything down on a piece of paper. She calls Bruno.

While she and Bruno talk, the bellman, someone of Middle Eastern or African descent, who looked like he eats Halal meat, taps me on the shoulder. He tells me how much he loves this scent too.

He says, “You too?”  Even the bellman loves.

Yes!  Me too, me too, me too!!! I found an article written by the New York Times Perfume Critic, Chandler Burr, on the “bespoke” scent that contains 18 secret ingredients, including Spanish orange, two types of vanilla, woods, leather…the New York Times has a Perfume Critic, did you know?

Terrific, I’ve fallen in love for a perfume scent created for a hotel lobby.  Created by an elusive perfumer who doesn’t show his face, and doesn’t grant interviews.

Actually if you want to go one step further, you could eat the perfume.   It comes in macaroons.

***

As they ring me up, the concierge sprays some of the perfume on a piece of crisp hotel stationary and hands that to me as a souvenir.  I open one of the bottles to take another whiff. The concierge says, “It’s obvious that you love this. I could tell by your face every time you smell this. Your face just light up.”

I thought it was 4 bottles for $50.  No. It was $50 per bottle.  Total tab: $200. I walked out of there with one bottle of shampoo, conditioner, bath gel, and lotion.  On my wind shield there were two traffic tickets: $100 for an expired tag, and $25 for an expired meter.

It took me another hour to drive home to drive a 9 mile distance in the DC rush hour downtown gridlock, on the way I see ambassadors, diplomats, politicians, aids all over the city.  And I am spending another couple of hours writing about it.

So, you do the math, well over $2000 for 4 bottles of toiletry.

I’m not sure.  But when I need some clarity and inspiration, I open the bottle and smell it.  For special occasions, I wash my hair with just a little dab.  I don’t care where it’s made.  The quality of the conditioner isn’t even great for smoothing hair.

My hair looks fried  like it’s been done with dynamite.

***

How is it possible that a woman guest can love this scent as much as a man guest can walk into a corporate board room after washing his hair and hairy armpits with this?

Maybe I could just get the concentrated form, as in a perfume, instead of washing everything down the drain?

Then I found out 1 oz of the perfume costs $4,259.

Ok.  You win!  OKAY?!  I don’t want you anymore.  (But I’ll be still thinking about you).