Sunday, July 09, 2006
Sunday Scribblings - Hotel Stories
I have stayed in hotels under many different circumstances. I have been part of a family unit, just with my husband,or just my daughter and I on a girlie trip or sometimes just by myself. I must admit to getting a quiet thrill of excitement when I am staying alone in a hotel, I just adore registering and picking up my room key and establishing myself in my room. Its probably the novelty of being alone without any other family member, a sort of time out from what is normal. I have to put my own stamp on the room, even if I am only there for a night. I have to place my books and magazines on the bedside table along with my journal and favourite traveling objects, usually my crystals, my little mascot and sometimes a small scented candle. I have a small lavender sleep cushion I like to travel with and if the stay is for more than one night I have a favourite extra soft throw, not too large a one, that I like to put on top of the bed. I then empty my bag and then check out the television and radio and what has been left with the tea and coffee making facilities.
When I return to the hotel at the end of my day I love to to kick off my shoes, make a cup of coffee and switch on the radio, find some quiet music and then relax on the bed reading my book. I also love breakfast in a hotel and would never dream of having it brought to my room, oh no, part of the joy is going down to the breakfast room, helping my self at the breakfast buffet and sitting eating a leisurely breakfast, whilst either watching the goings on outside in the street, if I am near a window or watching the coming and goings of other guests.
I can become absorbed by what is going on outside of my hotel depending on the views from my window and what floor I am on. I remember one London hotel where my window looked down upon the entrance to a railway station and I spent many minutes watching the entrance and exit of people and the mini dramas that occurred. Another hotel overlooked a block of flats, and I was constantly amazed that when night fell people would happily switch on their lamps never closing the curtains and people from the hotel rooms could see right into their living rooms. It does turn you into a sort of voyeur and you desperately try not to watch people living out their lives across the street, but you can't resist a sneaky peep every now and again, after all I'm only human. A hotel in Bloomsbury I stayed in as part of a family break in London was opposite a very busy public house which we could see from our window, and every evening a very old man in a wheelchair would turn up and visit each of the outside tables, people always seemed to buy him a drink and the more drinks he had the more elaborate became his manoeuvres of his wheelchair, he would zigzag and turn tight circles and start singing and shouting very loudly, he always seemed to be thoroughly enjoying himself. My children were fascinated with him.
I think my worst hotel experience happened in a hotel in Liverpool right at the pier head beside the River Mersey. I had just returned to my hotel after dining out at a lovely Spanish restaurant, I had had a nightcap and was lying in bed reading a book that was just about to fall out of my hand as I fell asleep, when suddenly the fire alarm went off, I was totally confused but did not panic, I even took time to get dressed again, grabbed my handbag and made for the door. I was so glad I had taken time to change out of my nightdress, when I saw the various states of dress in which people came out of their rooms. The lifts had been stopped and we had all to make our way down many sets of stairs and out of the hotel into the cold November Liverpool night with the wind blowing in icy blasts from the River Mersey. We all milled across the street, no one seemed to know exactly what was happening, but the staff didn't look too concerned. Once the hotel was empty, we were told we could all go back, it had just been a fire drill. I was furious, I know they have to have them, but I felt so sorry for some of the older people, and there was a family with two very young children who were being carried in their parents arms wrapped up in blankets, looking totally confused. The explanation was that a Saturday night was the best night to have a drill because as the hotel was usually used by business people, it was always at its emptiest on a weekend evening. That was not one of my most restful nights in a hotel.
I think that every stay in a hotel is an experience and mini adventure, the things that happen, the things people do and say and the sense of living in a little bubble that is apart from your normal home life.