JUST got back from a few days in London. I’d hoped to get last-minute tickets for Wimbledon but no such luck! In fact, whatever the grunts, groans and upsets on court, the real game changer for me turned out to be London hotels, and there are a couple of whinges that really soured the trip. Incidentally, if you’re not into whinges, skip this bit, go and make a cuppa or do the crossword and pop back later.
Let’s start with my first gripe. You see, what I can't stand is when I arrive somewhere and the room isn't ready. I call housekeeping and it takes them three hours to get the room into shape. And I’m not thinking just about London here. This happens all over the world.
Just imagine. You've been on a combination of planes, trains, coaches and camels for the last 24 hours. You're exhausted, sweaty and ravenous because you slept through the last (inedible) in-flight meal service. It's 4.30pm local time. All you want is to check into your room, take that shower and either relax and get over jet lag or hit the road sightseeing. Your room, however, still looks as if a dozen six-year-olds have had a sleepover there. Hotels make a big deal of telling you check-in time is 3pm but no one cares. They’ll happily store your luggage for you as carefully as if it’s the newly-discovered Higgs Boson ‘God particle’, though. Isn't that kind? Bless.
And my second gripe: check-out times. For all the dosh we pay, wouldn’t you think we could checkout later than 11am? Even though the next guest’s have been informed that check-in is 3pm, and the room certainly won’t be ready by then, we’re still kicked out early. It’s almost as if the hotel’s saying: thanks for staying with us, now **** off!
And don’t get me started on London hotels doubling their prices pre-Olympics! So, in Samuel Goldwyn’s immortal words: “Include me out!” On a positive note, though, I noticed teenagers giving up seats to elderly passengers on buses and the tube. Who said the young only care about themselves? They could teach those hotels a lesson or two … So, love all to youth, but definitely game, set and match to hotels.
Nora Johnson’s novels, Soul Stealer & The De Clerambault Code (www.nora-johnson.com) available from Amazon in paperback/ eBook (€0.89; £0.77) and iBookstore. Profits to Cudeca.