Hotel Schmotel

First posted November 2012

Yep, I’m away from home at the moment and contemplating the humble (or not) hotel room…

Hotel rooms are weird. In 40sq metres or less they attempt to combine a bedroom, living room and kitchenette to create a beautifully colour co-ordinated corporate prison. Having all this in one living space is like those food trays they used to give you at school that had a trough for your  lunch, desert and drink. Yummy, so appetising. I don’t know why they don’t use them in restaurants.

Bless hotel rooms, because they do try to be homely with their strategically positioned generic paintings, job lot of cushions and soft lighting but this faultless finish is almost its undoing. Like Michael Fassbender’s character in Prometheus, the robot passing as human is exposed by his clinical perfection. We almost need to see the flaws to be convinced of something’s authenticity.

Perhaps, to be more convincing as a home, hotels need to add some more believable touches. Instead of alcohol in the minibar, they should have a half empty bottle of salad cream, some out of date olives and a couple of floppy carrots.

There should be a dripping tap they’ve been promising to deal with for the last 18 months and a load of crap under the bed that needs sorting through.

If they did this, then weary travellers would enjoy the most peaceful home-away-from-home sleeps ever.

Until that day comes, here’s some ideas for de-corporatising a hotel room (for those wanting something a little more wholesome than adult movie services).

Fruit and snacks

Not only do I feel like a lawless rule breaker for smuggling contraband into the room, circumventing the room service cartel but it’s also a much healthier alternative to the late night in-house options (usually limited to what they call pizzas and us normal folk call cheese on toast). Also, a strategically placed fruit bowl in the room breaks up the corporate monotony and makes the place feel less like a hamster cage.

Slippers

OK, now I’m really sharing. I always pack my slippers when I go to a hotel, ever since I treated myself to a new pair a few years ago whilst filming in Liverpool. Slippers are the bomb and I don’t care who knows it. My old pair (leopard skin pattern, very cool actually) had pretty much had it. I wore the new ones in my hotel room and they had the most remarkable effect. As soon as I slipped them on, I felt more relaxed and defo more homely. I decided there and then that they would always come with me every time I went away. I nearly wore them down to breakfast that time too but I don’t think the staff were quite ready for that. I imagined them whispering ‘how long does she think she’s staying for?’

Candles

A friend of mine also suggested taking candles with you when traveling. Candle light is known to be soothing and can help you wind down even in the most un-relaxing of environments – unless, of course you’re on the side of a mountain in a tent. In this case a candle should be considered one of your many enemies.

But I tried it and I have to say, it really worked. Obviously, safety first. Don’t put the candle near anything flammable, so basically EVERYTHING IN A HOTEL ROOM.

Hula hoop

Not the crisps, my friend, an actual hula hoop. Now, you will never see me walking down the street dragging a wheely suitcase and rolling a hoop like some Victorian hawker. I found a hula hoop, on Amazon that dismantles into six easily transportable pieces. It’s a weighted excersise hoop (1Kg) that is a good travel replacement for gym visits which can be massively tedious anyway. On the road it’s a challenge to keep a good exercise routine going so this has been a perfect solution for me, a good ten minutes of hula hooping while watching Phil and Holly on This Morning.  And  remember, it’s a really good idea to move all the glasswear out of the way first…. (I can’t believe they charged me for all that stuff).

So there, you go, if you find yourself on the road, these are my slightly oddball suggestions for making the whole thing a little more bearable. And tbh, after a hard day’s graft – those 40 sq metres can feel like a god-given elixir of comfort that you can’t wait to collapse into.

Happy hooping, ppl – and not burning stuff! I forgot the hoop this time – whaddya reckon to star jumps?

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