Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Great Reservations

If you’ve ever had that feeling of euphoria, that ‘God’s in His Heaven, all’s right with the world’ sort of mood, when the sun’s shining brightly and the birds are singing your song, yet at the back of your mind you have the sneaking suspicion that you ought to be brought down to earth, well I have a sovereign remedy for you.
Try booking a hotel room in London over the Internet.
Here let me define ‘hotel’ as being one up over a doss-house. Two or three stars as opposed to two or three blots. I mean an establishment where ladies, and if necessary, gentlemen can get their heads down for a night in some comfort without having to take out a second mortgage to pay for the privilege.
‘Ha,’ you say, ‘that’s easy. The Internet is awash with sites offering every conceivable configuration of accommodation at discount prices.’
Well, having found on my last visit a comfortable, if bijou, residence at what passes in London for a reasonable price, I was miffed to find that others had found it also. Even worse, the management had seen fit to give the accommodation to far less deserving cases than mine. In other words, there was no room at the inn.
I turned to that modern cornucopia, the Internet. Sure enough, there were the agencies offering rooms at unbelievably low prices – except, of course, when one went to make the reservation, inexplicably these bargains had all disappeared. It was the Bermuda Triangle of the hotel world, an unresolved phenomena that will occupy the minds of the scientists for years to come.
However, a bed’s a bed fur ‘a that, as Rabbie Burns once said, so wisely, and so I started on the list of runners.
The descriptions of the various hotels are clearly written by estate agents in their spare time, glowing accounts of the wonders therein. But then, rather foolishly in my opinion, there is a link you can click on to read the comments of previous weary travellers who have stayed there. From most of these, it becomes apparent that the composers of the paean of praise to the place had never actually stayed there.
A depressing litany of complaints and problems, mildewed carpets, stained bedding, windows not opening or, as a variation, windows not closing, dirty rooms and bathrooms without much in the way of hot water, all clogged the pages, plus a few quite remarkable occurrences that I would never have thought of. Every now and again, someone would have enjoyed their stay, apparently, but not too often, and they must have been uncritical and inexperienced world travellers.
Bathrooms are, of course, a perpetual problem for small London hotels. ‘En suite,’ they say, since nobody in this day and age will stay anywhere that doesn’t include this line in their description. So these aquatic arrangements are shoe-horned into such a small space that there must be some emergency service on hand to extricate the overweight guests who must inevitably become trapped.
And why do they always put the taps inside the shower so that you get soaked with cold water when trying to adjust the temperature?
I finally settled for a hotel that had received no damning comments from previous guests. It fact it had received no comments at all.
I can only assume that they’ve only just opened


Anonymous Las Vegas Hotels said...

I was in some small hotels in London. I cannot say they are so different from the small hotels in any other big city of the world. I got my shower, my bed and my internet and that's what important. This year I have a business trip to Las Vegas, I'm shore I will get the same conditions, even better:)

8:18 pm  

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