Publicity of any kind?

Any publicity is good publicity is a trite old adage. That it is not true in a number of instances can be gaged from hotels that hit the limelight inadvertently owing to factors such as indiscretions of public personages which oftentimes does not reflect well on the hostelry. A hotel in Southern California, the storied (of a positive kind) Mission Inn finds itself some unwelcome spotlight owing to a legal dispute between toy industry titan Mattel and MGA Entertainment. A legal spat over the rights to the “Bratz” line of dolls finds the rival companies seeking the same accommodations.

The law blog of the Wall Street Journal reports that in a somewhat unusual deal with the attorneys for MGA, the Mission Inn agreed to bar the attorneys for Mattel from booking at the hotel. Mattel’s attorney petitioned the presiding judge (of the trial) to deem the contract unenforceable but the judge declined to intervene. The matter appeared to have been resolved with “lawyers representing the Mission Inn point(ing) out that there was “an exception to the exclusionary contract” that gave Quinn & Co. the option of booking rooms at the Mission through a travel agent, but not directly through the inn”. A clever out but as it turned out Mattel’s lawyers chose to stay at a neighboring Marriott instead.

Too bad that the hotel did not consider adopting the model of the Bellevue Palace in Berne, Switzerland which during the second world war was a meeting point for the intelligence and diplomatic services of the warring powers with its bar serving as a haunt for rival intelligence chiefs and its restaurant clientele split between guests from the Allied and Axis powers.