Joeblade

Living It Up

Not being much of a traveller, my experience of hotels has been slim to the point of non-existence. In fact, last year during the @media conference was the first time I’d even stayed in a hotel, which was unfortunate as it was a God-forsaken Holiday Inn Express or some such, with the bare minimum of walls and ceilings and only dry bread available for breakfast. This year I was again attending @media, but this time — fuck it, I thought, I was going posh.

There were a few hotels I had my eye on, all 4-stars and utterly unaffordable to me, which I decided would be an incidental fact that I wasn’t going to allow to spoil my enjoyment. I discarded those hotels which didn’t let me easily book online, and eventually narrowed my selection down to one — the Westminster City Inn. Going by their website alone, it all sounded pretty good — a gym, broadband, some appealing menus serving only the most obscure parts of the bird, full English breakfasts and the promise of not just complimentary tea and coffee in my room but an ironing board as well — man, I was sold on that alone.

I arrived here on Wednesday evening, approached the desk and saw that the immaculately-coiffeured young GQ model waiting to insult me was named ‘Florien’. I wondered whether this meant he would be an arrogant Frenchman. “‘allo, Meester ‘aine, will you be dy-ning wiz uz tonight?” he asked, sneering at my tattered jeans and in tones of barely-concealed contempt. I mentally squealed with delight — he was! This was exactly what I’d paid for.

Your muzzer was a ‘amster

My first evening was spent meeting h for some ‘World Tapas’ in THE REDDEST ROOM I’VE EVER SEEN, otherwise known as the ‘Millbank Lounge‘. World Tapas is an odd one — it’s just tapas, conceptually, but supposedly tapas from America, England, Asia etc., which led to oddities such as bite-size beefburgers in little, doll-like buns, and piles of cocktail sausages. This is probably ironic.

Still, it was a nice enough place, and the evening proved to be successfully anecdotal due to the elegant, middle-aged American woman who urinated on the floor of the hotel lobby, calmly and without fuss, before walking away leaving someone else to deal with it — hopefully Florien.

When you’ve got to go…

The only problem I really had when trying to go posh is when it came to paying for things that I would buy in real life as a matter of course. Take bottled water, for example — I can’t bring myself to pay £2.50 for a 50p bottle of Evian. I just can’t, particularly when there’s a perfectly servicable cold water tap. Breakfast was included in the price of my room which I was pleased about, because I don’t think I could have brought myself to pay £19 for a full-English breakfast, knowing that I could step outside and pay the same price for the same food after a five-minute walk.

Paying a lot for the hotel room; that, I could cope with, because I don’t really know how much these things cost, but I won’t be swindled on the basics. This is why, ultimately, no matter how much money I may or may not have, I’ll never really be posh. If I refuse to pay five times the normal price for water just for the convienence of having it in my bedroom, what hope do I really have?

By Paul Haine, in