Exactly ten years ago, I was working as an office lackey in this swanky hotel in Perth. I'd been travelling for over a year by then and was desperately trying to save up a few dollars for the last few months' travelling before returning to the UK. I was temping in the marketing department there and part of my job was to go through the guests' questionnaires about how they enjoyed their stay. This was a five-star hotel and it used to really wind me up that ANYONE in their right mind could complain about staying in a five-star hotel (especially as I was skint and sleeping in horrible cockroachy hostels or on people's floors at the time). And it always seemed to be the people who were staying in the penthouse suite who whinged the most, about the stupidest little thing. Moany tossers, I'd think, rolling my eyes and huffing as I read through more gripes about air-conditioning or other trivial, pathetic little complaints. Get a grip, for Chrissakes! Get a life!
You know where this is going, don't you?
So. Anyway. Just to refresh your memories, partner and I went to a swanky hotel on Friday. Not five stars, but still the poshest place I have ever been in my life. We're talking flash. We got there and this bloke came striding over towards me with his hand out. I'm Brian, your concierge, he said.
Oh, all right, Brian, I said, shaking his hand. Nice to meet you.
That was when I realised he was holding out his hand for my BAG not for my hand. (I am rubbish at this posh lark.)
Anyway. It was that kind of place. Concierges taking your bags and pretending not to notice you were a pleb and thought they wanted to shake your hand. Splashy waterfall thingy in reception and huge overstuffed armchairs and ginormous bed in room, plus bathroom to die for.
I know. Do you hate us??
First we complained about the fact that partner's veggie dinner (grandly called Vegetarian Gourmand in the menu) consisted of boiled carrots and green beans, a single tomato, a single mushroom, about five olives and two little bits of potato. That was it. (I'm sorry, but having a laugh or what? And for £14! Our six year old could cobble that together.)
THEN - oh, there's more - we complained about the fact that the hotel website and brochure had gone on and on about what a perfect place it was to relax - but all we could hear in our room was really loud and really crap sub-club dross until midnight. You know, if I wanted to lie in bed listening to the Macarena blasting through the wall, I'd have stayed above a pub on Brighton sea front.
Ahem. So we complained. And I know damn well that the 26-year-old me of 1997 would probably have slapped the 36-year-old me of 2007 around the chops. And wouldn't have been in bed at midnight in the first place, anyway. Oh, and called me a moany tosser, and told me to get a grip, and a life while I was at it.
Still. Fifty quid off the bill. You know, it pays to be a moaner sometimes. And we did really enjoy ourselves despite that, honestly...
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