Bob Salsman stashes his shotguns and fishing rods in the right corner of his hotel room. He is using a stove top in the kitchen area to fill glass jars with pears in fig preserves. Salsman, 63, has lived in the same room at Homewood Suites by Hilton at Kingwood Parc-Airport for five years. The Kingwood area hotel hosts long-term guests, usually businessmen in town for week-long trips, but Salsman is the only person to stay more than a year, said Elvin Carrera, a hotel maintenance worker. Salsman works as a contract manager for his client, Antares Exploration Fund, and helps customers locate oil drilling spots. Boxes brimming with files clutter his one-bedroom suite, and a computer and telephone serve as his primary workspace. “I worked behind a desk for 20 years,” he says. “I don’t need that much room now. It better suits my lifestyle to live in a hotel.” Living out of hotels, which he says he has done for 15 years, allows Salsman to avoid his archenemies: property taxes, house cleaning, utility bills, waiting for repairmen, landscaping and yard work. He says he pays a daily rate as part of an arrangement he made with owner Philippe Cras. He cites lack of space as one downside, but living minutes away from the George Bush Intercontinental Airport airport allows him to travel easily and the Houston area offers a host of entertainment options. “I will never get a DWI,” he says. “If I’ve had too much to drink, I can call the hotel and they’ll come and get me. They would take me to get my car the next day, too.” He owns property in Louisiana and moved his 84-year-old mother there, he says. He visits her annually and also takes time to pursue his passions—fishing, hunting and fine cooking. He offers stuffed salmon in a puff pastry stuffed with champagne sauce as an example of a signature dish he cooks. “I’m always designated as the camp cook on hunting trips,” he says. When his family, which includes two sons and a daughter, visited two weeks ago, he says he rented two extra rooms. The hotel also helped him install a satellite dish and a big screen TV, which involved routing cables and taking out small parts of a wall. “I figured I should enjoy the Olympics, so I bought a big screen TV,” he says. Carrera says Salsman frequently sits in the dining room or stops at the front desk to chat with hotel employees. He cares about the staff and asks nicely for assistance instead of demanding attention. “We celebrate his birthday every year and that’s how I met him,” Carrera says. “Anytime he needs something, we get it.” Salsman lists the Hurricane Rita aftermath as one of the memories he has accrued living at Homewood. Cras opened his hotel’s doors to hundreds of additional guests, some sleeping in the hallways. When he discovered the large amounts of food that would spoil with no electricity, he asked Salsman to help him cook it all on the outdoor grills. “People don’t think about staying at a hotel as an option,” he says. “I still enjoy life too much to live in a retirement community.” Photo: Bob Salsman, who celebrated a five year anniversary at Homewood Suites by Hilton at Kingwood Parc-Airport last week, sits at his makeshift office desk. He helps customers locate oil drilling spots by reviewing titles and contracts, most of which he can do from his hotel room. Photo by Robert Kleeman

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