Have you noticed that when you book into a hotel, whether there seem to be other guests or not, your room is always the last one at the end of the passage?
I check into my hotel just off Oxford Street, London, impressed by the facade and foyer. After taking the lift to a mid-level floor, I follow the numbers down interminably long passageways until I reach what looked like the last broom cupboard on the right and find that it matches the number on my key. I haven’t passed a soul on the way.
Stumbling through the door like Scott of the Antarctic, I prepare to behold my luxurious suite, which is costing me an arm and a leg, and find that Oh, no! it is the broom cupboard. They’ve managed to squeeze in a double bed, two bedside cupboards, a writing desk, wardrobe, coffee table, 2 chairs, TV set, luggage rack and a fan. A fan? It’s about 30 degrees in the room. Throwing back about 3000 yards of green satin curtains, I observe that my air conditioner is the 3-inch gap in the sash window which is stuck.
Further bad news – I have a magnificent view of the fire escape stairwell, giving me uninterrupted viewing into the rooms of similar unfortunates. I can’t tell if it’s the building next door, or part of mine. I close the curtains to give them privacy and turn on the fan. Clambering back over the coffee table (there is no floor space), I lie down on the actually rather comfortable double bed and contemplate the ceiling. It is very far away and reminds me of the Sistine Chapel, sans paintings. The room is twice the height of the floor area, bringing new meaning to the word ‘double-volume’. I could see now why it was so expensive. They had booked me into the floor above as well.
But wait! A further treat is in store. There is an en-suite bathroom to explore. Toilet, bath with shower (Please ensure curtain is on inside of bath before turning on taps) and basin in an inviting shade of avocado green. Enough soap and shampoo for a month, but no shelves. The top of the toilet cistern is the only storage space.
More excitement in the wardrobe! A table with a tray of goodies and a kettle. Yes, inside the wardrobe. I presume I will take this out if I want to hang any clothing inside.
The kettle can be boiled if you put in on the floor in the corner of the room, because that’s where the plug is!
And yet the hotel appeared to be almost empty. Sound familiar?