Written in 2005 – what a shit day. Some of the hotels we are put in are beyond a joke. I walked in one and the first thing I noticed was that there wasn’t an actual reception. All they had was a diary and a paper registration book. I was then asked to choose what I was going to eat that evening, three hours before I was going to eat it. On my way to the room I noticed that one side of the staircase was shut off. The woman who signed me in explained that a guest left the tap on and that they were waiting for the insurance to come through. Not a pretty sight. When I got to the room it was tiny. I couldn’t open the door properly because the bedside cabinate was blocking the way. I dumped my stuff on the single bed and found the “one” towel that had been left for me. If that wasn’t enough , it was ripped and had a slab of soap on it. The bathroom! What a joke. It wasn’t a room at all. It was just a closet with taps in! 

After lots and lots of tears I got hold of the agents who do the bookings for us and they arranged for the hotel manager to show me a bigger room. Well it had a double bed in it but it must have been shoe horned in. The sink was in the room with the bed and the shower and the toilet had been squeezed into a smaller room than the other one. When I mentioned to the manager that I really didn’t think it was better he started to raise his voice to me. He kept asking me what I was expecting and what I thought was wrong. According to him I wasn’t going to find better in this town. He was getting very aggressive and I was standing there shaking. 

I thank my lucky stars that the agents chose that moment to ring and ask if the room was better. I just left that room and told them I was feeling intimidated and that they had to get me out as soon as they could. As soon as I had put the phone down I heard the hotel phone ring. Again that was perfect timing because the manager was in the middle of telling me I would have to pay for the room anyway! 

By the time I had got my stuff to the car the agents had rung with another hotel, which was ten times better than the other one was, and I only had a twenty minute drive to the store. From the second I arrived I was made to feel welcome. They helped me with my luggage and asked if I was okay. This puzzled me until I got in to the room and looked in the mirror. My make up hadn’t just run, it was all the way under my chin! 

I have now worked out how to spot the perfect hotel. Firstly the staff have to be friendly and down to earth. They must not look down their nose to you. The room must look clean on first glance and be clean under closer scrutiny. A duvet is a must as no one can sleep with a starched sheet and itchy blanket wrapped round them. Dinner must not be too posh for normal folk and must have at least three dishes that are not fished based. Breakfast must be quick but hot and the self service buffet must not include cereal in big bowls. The individual packets are the only hygienic way to serve them. An added bonus is a hotel that has marmite on the tables and jams/marmalade available on the buffet. The other way round shows that they have their priorities all wrong.