I used to like the idea of working away, based in a hotel room for weeks at a time. When the reality struck, two or three days a week in London, the romantic notion rapidly dissipated to mundane reality and cabin fever. That’s not to say that I don’t miss the huge number of Radisson reward points I built up in those heady days wondering why the hell a bankrupt bank was spending a small fortune sending me down to the smoke.
I also miss room service breakfasts. Where I’d order everything and stash unopened cereal packets and mini jars of jam into my bag to present to a young Chris as gifts when I returned home. He loved it. So easily pleased!
These days I see hotels as a means to an end. A basic expectation of a comfortable bed and somewhere private for my 4am wee is enough to survive on. And regardless of quality the same box shaped space can cost anything from £30 to £300 depending on location.
And regardless of that cost, each hotel room has the same potential for frustrating traits. Not things that make them unusable, but stuff that makes you wonder just who the hell designs a simple 12ft x 12ft space with such little thought for the punter.
A modern room refurbished a year ago. Or a brand new hotel. And the nearest plug socket to the bed is on the opposite wall. Or cramped at floor level behind a bedside table where there’s a light plugged in. It’s 2017. I’ve had busy day. My phone desperately needs charging. And I want to crash into bed. I don’t want my effing phone ten feet away from me! Pillow high sockets next to my bed please. Nothing less is good enough.
Baths. I love a good bath, especially after a day on my feet. I get the shower only hotel room concept and embrace it wholly. Better use of space and less plumbing to go wrong. But if your hotel room does provide a bath why the hell would they provide one that’s four foot long? The average bloke is six foot tall and has no desire to stare at his knees inches from his face when he takes a soak. As I’ve become a little more infirm in recent months I’ve noticed a trend for no handles on or near many baths. Trying to lift myself out without slipping and smashing my skull open is a challenge!
Air conditioning systems. I’m a simple man who isn’t an engineer. I took an office job because, frankly, I’m crap at practical stuff. When I arrive in a hotel room I don’t want to be greeted by a six button temperature control system with meaningless pictures of triangles that, when you set it to an ambient 21 degrees Celsius, puts a picture of an icicle next to the number 21 and turns your evening into a Bear Grylls polar survival experience. Often producing a noise drowning out the mediocre choice of TV channels that never include decent sport!
Most UK rooms provide tea and coffee making facilities. The oversized kettle that doesn’t fit under the tap is a favourite of mine. I mean, really! Usually a problem of the hotel that supplies thimble sized cups so you end up having to fill the kettle with a series of tiny water runs. Give me a proper sized mug!
If you like girly camomile tea great. But being supplied with six tea bags only one of which provides proper healthy brown British tea is a travesty almost matched by de-caffeinated coffee. What is the point of decaf? Give me a proper Nescafe sachet please!
Those milk cartons are another beauty. A family of four checks into their room. Tired after a long day on the road. They turn to the kettle in relief to discover four tiny milk cartons that don’t provide anywhere near enough milk for Mum, let alone the rest of the family! Give me a proper bottle of milk or at least a dozen mini-cartons please.
The Americans don’t escape my frustration either. I love that a high percentage of motels supply a fridge. I’m less happy when I discover that it makes a noise similar to a Ferrari doing 0-60 in 2.8 seconds and continues that noise throughout the night. And what the hell are those complicated coffee machines? By the time I’ve worked out how to use them I’ve irreparably damaged the coffee sachets. Except, of course, the decaf one that remains. And don’t get me started on the Yanks and tea!