I have just spent a night in the most basic hotel I have ever been in. Initially I was a bit depressed by the come down in my circumstances. Sitting in the hotel bar, alone, I took time to have a look around not only at my environment, but at what was inside my head. The decor was the pinnacle of “cheap and cheerful” – great big 60’s daisies wallpaper in pink and green, shocking pink plastic-moulded chairs and a cheap, but cold Pinot Grigio. No barman, no little doilie under my glass, no buzz of conversation from the smart set chilling out after work.
So? Would I talk to the barman? Do I need the doilie to affirm my specialness? Would I engage with the smart set? No. So not having those things didn’t really make any substantial difference.
Up to the bedroom – the sort of fundamental reason for being in the hotel in the first place. Ghastly, tacky, plastic carpet, grey, furry fleece curtains( I kid you not ). No shampoo, bath gel, body lotion or proper glasses. No satellite TV, no wireless connections, no central heating. But – a big space, windows on two sides, spotlessly clean linen, piping hot water, plenty of towels, efficient wall heater and a working telly. Everything I would have had at home and absolutely everything I needed for the 10 hours I’d be there, most of which I would be unconscious.
On to the breakfast. Oh my, a very spartan affair. Fairly nondescript coffee, juice from concentrate, toast, fruit, cereal and a bog standard selection of so-called Danish pastries. What would I have had at home? Middle of the road coffee and a banana – if anything.
What did I pay for this? £30.
Now, what struck me was, why would I pay anything more than that for stuff I won’t use, things I won’t do and bits and pieces I don’t need? I don’t want satellite telly, a beauty counter of weeny bottles of ‘stuff’, including – almost religiously – a shower cap and a shoe horn. When last did you use or need either?
The extras and non-essentials are costing us and the planet dearly. Strip it back. Stop paying extortionate prices for hotels when all we really do there is shower, sleep and drink a cup of coffee.