Then it dawns on me: Charles probably didn’t tell him anything about me. And maybe Quiska’s not the movie type. He doesn’t know what I do. He thinks I’m a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy. Most likely he figures I’m nobody. I’m some rich guy’s trust-fund kid. So he gives my old suite, the New Line suite, to another VIP he’s taking care of, pockets both our cash, and no one’s the wiser.
Five days go by and I’m still in exile. Five days, and on every one of them I purposely position myself in the lobby, right near Quiska’s desk, so that all the stars and directors and studio heads who enter can see me. They all come over to hug me or talk shop. I’m hoping maybe Quiska is seeing this and thinking, “A-ha, he is somebody important after all.” But Quiska can only smile and say, “Mr. Ratner, tomorrow I am moving you.”
Every day it gets more embarrassing, and every night it gets worse. Because at night the lobby of the Hotel du Cap is the A-list of A-list parties. You can’t even order a drink without a room key. And every night I’m there and Quiska sees me, talking to people, and — I could be wrong here — but these people appear to be happy to be talking to me.
Quiska sees all of this, but he doesn’t give a shit.
I’m deflated. My ego’s been crushed. And what’s worse, Bob Shaye is continuously making fun of me for being in the Annex. He’s merciless. And at the end of every night, as I’m slinking off to my room trying to avoid Cameron Diaz and Uma Thurman or anyone else who might stop me to ask where the hell I’m going. I’m making up crazy excuses. “I just love how the moonlight looks on the front driveway,” type of shit. I mean, I’m turning into a babbling idiot. I’m freaked out. I can’t figure out why this is happening to me. Every night, I’m taking the walk of shame.
The Kick in the Balls for Good Measure
So I go on a mission. It’s time for extreme measures. I’m going to do the thing that I hate the most. I’m going to name-drop. And brag. See, I’m dating Serena Williams. So I start thinking, sure, maybe Quiska doesn’t know me, doesn’t care about me, but Serena Williams? She’s one of the biggest tennis players in the world and everyone in France is talking about her because she’s about to play the French Open, which she won in 2002.
Now, the Open’s a big deal and Serena’s in training, but they have clay courts at the Hotel du Cap, so she can practice there. But Serena’s traveling with her trainer, her mother and her sister. Which means if she’s coming I need three more rooms for her posse, and I’m going to definitely need a bigger room, too.
So I go and tell Quiska that my girlfriend, Serena Williams — you might not know her, she’s a tennis player — wants to come stay at the hotel before going to play the French Open. And because I didn’t feel bad enough already, in the coup de grace of total humiliation, I try to bribe him — again — by telling him that Serena is going to practice for the Open on their tennis courts.
Again Quiska looks me in the eyes, smiles and tells me not to worry. “Mr. Ratner, I take care of you.”
So Serena shows up at the Hotel du Cap. The Hotel du Cap. The kind of place where bottles of water cost 30 bucks and where a bellman always takes you to your room. But Serena gets no bellman. Serena Williams gets keys and directions.
And when she goes to find the room, which is supposedly on the third floor of the main building, she can’t find it. She looks everywhere on the third floor. She walks up and down the hallway, then up and down the fourth floor, the fifth floor and the second floor. She can’t find the room. She starts asking people and no one knows. Finally, someone says, “Oh, that room. That room’s behind a panel in a wall on the third floor.”
“Oui, mademoiselle, a panel.”
So Serena goes back. About an hour after she started, she’s in the hallway where the room’s supposed to be and she sees the tiniest outline of a door. I mean, a thin shadow, barely a line, under an exit sign. She pushes it open. And behind this door is this skinny stairway. Barely passable. Serena walks down some stairs to a door with no number on it.
That’s the room. It’s tiny, half the size of my other room. It’s got a window facing a brick wall. The shower is so small that you have to crouch down to get under the faucet, like Bill Murray in “Lost in Translation.”
Serena grew up in Compton, five sisters in one room, and she never had it this bad.
I have to do something. Anything. And nothing seems to be working.
Then it dawns on me: Bob Shaye is leaving on the eighth day of his stay, but his room is prepaid for all 12. So as casually as possible, I ask the front desk what’s the process if Mr. Shaye wants to give his room to an associate, just in case he decides to leave early.
And they tell me: All he has to do is write a letter to that effect.
I’m humiliated and Bob already thinks it’s the funniest thing he’s ever heard, but he agrees to get his secretary to write me the letter, which is great. Then I realize that half the people at Eden Roc are leaving early. So I go up to several billionaires who are staying there and ask them if I can have their rooms after they depart. What do they care? Their rooms are paid for. They’re not getting the money back. So I get four letters and turn them all in to the front desk.
And the next day, my telephone rings. It’s Quiska.
“Oh, Mr. Ratner.”
“Mr. Ratner, there seems to be a misunderstanding. It seems we have four rooms on hold for you.”
“Yes, and I’m going to need all four rooms.”
“Well, what do you mean?”
“Well, you know, I’ll sleep in one on the first night, and another on the second. Maybe I’ll shower in the third. And maybe use the fourth as my dressing room. I don’t know, there are so many choices.”
“But this is preposterous!”
“Well, yes, this is preposterous.”
But I had the letters and we had four days in the nicest rooms at Eden Roc, still no TV or minibar. But it drove Quiska crazy. Occasionally I would go to the empty rooms, look inside and smile, overwhelmed with joy at knowing that I had screwed him out of re-renting those rooms for tens of thousands of dollars.
The best part happened when we got back. I got this phone call from New Line asking me what the hell went on at the hotel while I was there. Because they just got a phone call.
Apparently, I’m now banned, for life, from the Hotel du Crap.