Tales from Hotel Heaven to Hotel Hell

Cycling along, I got to thinking about hotels. There is no special reason for this, since we are not staying in any this trip. But sometimes, maybe in the winter we might take off somewhere and stay in a hotel, often as part of a winter sun package.
Anyway I got to thinking about the hotels I’ve stayed in, the favourites, the memorable and the forgettable.
There was a time back a while, perhaps when I was in my thirties when I lusted after hotels. To stay in one had an appeal akin to nirvana. This was because I didn’t actually go anywhere. It was something others did-travel to exotic locations and stays in beautiful boutique hotels with infinity pools, spas, luxurious shower items, en suites and coffee making machines. Once these wilderness years had passed I began to make forays into the travel arena.
There are the good, the bad and the downright ugly. Among the most beautiful, a tiny, quaint hotel on the island of Naxos, Greece, accessed through a gorgeous Mediterranean garden and the wonderful Sheraton Beach Resort at Krabi in Thailand, occupying the entire bay with landscaped tropical gardens and three sumptuous pools; a friendly, fun hotel on Grand Anse Beach in Grenada which hosted evening crab racing and a basic but charming one in Leh, Ladakh, Northern India, which I got to appreciate once I’d recovered from altitude sickness.
Among the bad-a terrible beach front hotel in Brighton with nasty, damp, inhospitable rooms and grotesque food, where we actually abandoned our weekend to come home, and a truly awful one in Boston, possibly the worst hotel experience I’ve ever had.
We’d arrived in Boston by train [this is another long story involving a lost ‘flydrive’ that I’ll leave for a future post] without reserving any accommodation and in our innocence assuming we’d be able to walk into a hotel and get a room. We hadn’t reckoned on it being a big university weekend. There was no room at the inn-not one, according to the woman at the station tourist office. Seeing our helpless faces she rustled through a folder and packed us off on a tram into the suburbs with a scrap of paper bearing an address. The streets here were lined with attractive, wooden homes sporting all manner of period features such as verandas and shutters.
We located the ‘hotel’. Reception was up the steps in a large old living room with a polished wood floor, dark, heavy framed mirrors and plush sofas. Relieved, we checked in-the room was not cheap, but all we had.
When we were directed along the road to another building we felt somewhat puzzled. The building housing our room was in the same period style, though you could be forgiven for thinking it was from the stage set of The Munsters, so decrepit was it. The interior, as we attempted to locate the room was filthy-dust and litter strewn. There was a tiny, grimy kitchenette with doors hanging off and half-eaten items on the surfaces and the floor. The so called bathroom was indescribable, leading me to hope I wouldn’t need it-a hope unlikely to be fulfilled. The room itself was not only also soiled, but had a door to an adjoining room occupied by others! These others completed this night of pleasure by undertaking an extremely loud and violent row late into the night.
The relief of escaping this hell hole next day cannot adequately be described. These days such a place would not survive the workings of the likes of Tripadvisor. Hooray for the internet!

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