“How much?!” As the latest uneven boom hits Ireland, it’s time for that phrase to be on the tip of our tongue, A common “HOW MUCH!” is when you find out the price of a night in a hotel.
The balance of power has swung dramatically away from the consumer. During the recession you could scrabble around the floor of the car, find a €3.80 and say to the hotel: “What do you reckon? Lookit I’ll order a steak” and they might consider it.
Now we all need hotels again and they are raking it in. If we’re going to be paying through the nose, then we should be getting better service and by better I don’t mean luxury. I mean some very basic basics that will cause us — ok mainly me — to look favourably on overprice.
These are the low-cost and environmentally friendly basics that will make a stay better.
The shower. A hotel shower should take the skin off you. It should be riot-police strong. You should be groaning inappropriately in it. There should be two nobs with big writing.
Temperature and Power with a very clear idea of where low and high is. I don’t want ‘design’. You should be able to operate a shower while hammered.
There should be a big canister of soapy stuff that an eejit could operate. For mine and the environment’s sake, let's get rid of fiddly small bottles that say ‘Escape’ or ‘Pamper’ on them in curly writing.
Tea. Nice teabags in the rooms and nice tea with the dinner. What is it about hotel tea? You don’t even need to wrap them in extra packaging or poxy silk pillows. Just have a box of them and a sign saying:
Clearly, having individually wrapped hair-dresser biscuits in each room is wasteful from an environmental point of view, and also two aren’t enough.
I eat my hotel biscuits before the door has finished closing. How about when we check in, the desk-person says “will you be requiring biscuits?” and if you do — of course you do unless you’re a pervert — they just slide across four digestives on a plate with your room key.
Light fittings. I’m representing all my sisters and some of the men here when I say that they can’t put their make up on with mood lighting. They need something brighter, more akin to ‘70s Kitchen. We’re not staying in a Scandi-drama. Put a good strong light in the middle of the room.
And while we’re on the lights can you just make it quite clear which switch switches on which light. We’re confused and tired. We shouldn’t have to play Cluedo to work it out.
Breakfast buffet. Please recognise the following fact: More people in the world like baked beans than fried tomatoes. The world is full of people who pretend to like fried tomatoes more than they do and an equal number of people who like beans more than they say. Let’s be adults here.
If it’s a space thing — beans must take precedent and let the deluded order fried tomato that arrives in a dainty ramekin an hour after they’ve checked out.
And while we’re on the breakfast, can we stop pretending the toast out of the Conveyor Belt of Hell tastes nice. It doesn’t. It tastes of what it looks like: Toast made in front of an electric fire. Make the toast in a toaster and bring it out. Toasted and hot. I’m paying “HOW MUCH?!” for this stay.
Finally, I don’t think I’ve mentioned biscuits enough but this is the hill I will, if not die, at least been grievously inured on: Desserts should have a tea and biscuits option. If you’ve been swimming in gratin, the last thing you want is a rich dessert. Seriously, people would pay stupid money for four custard creams.
The mark-up would be unbelievable. The labour saved could go on rewiring.