Could one sue for misuse of the word "quality"? Having just spent a night in the Quality Hotel in Birmingham I'm beginning to wonder.
I'm often having to spend the odd night in a hotel. I don't do posh, but I do do clean, efficient, comfy bed. Holiday Inn Express is the benchmark; it'll do nicely, and is the least I expect when away. If I'm lucky it might be somewhere with room service - a steak and a salad munched in my nightie, surrounded by papers and prep for the next day. If I'm really lucky it'll be somewhere like this with free wifi, a snug bathrobe and sleek lines from the headboard to the iMac. And a double bed is a pre-requisite - otherwise all the paperwork falls to the floor, and anyway, why should I revert to ten years old just because I'm away from home?
So, when some bloomin' conference was on in Brum and there was practically no room to be had, I shrugged and went with what was left: Quality.
First up: entrance like building site...not a good feeling of what's to come
Second: great queue of blokes in grey suits all looking forward to a night away. Lots of male bonding, loudness and flash gold jewellery, bickering over the Executive Suite. Gawd.
Third: shouting out of my name and room number, not just once but thrice. Give over, guys - for years hotels have been quietly sliding a scrap of folded cardboard across the counter with your room number discreetly written inside and simply tell you which floor you need to go to and how. Haven't you heard about the need for looking after single women? OK, I'm hardly in the most vulnerable category, but really.
Fourth: when was this place last decorated? My room is gloomy, drab, not dirty exactly but not clean either. The doors are bashed and look like something retrieved from a school that's about to be demolished.
Five: stains on the "clean" towels.
Six: It does room service but there is bugger all information about anything in the room. I have to trog back to reception for them to tell me that they haven't had the menus printed yet. After telling them that no, I won't be heading for the bar to place my order as I have work to do, they get me a faded photocopy which I can take back to my room.
Seven: it's a twin room - urghh - and one of the beds is broken. I nick its duvet and pile two on the ok bed. It has VINYL HEADBOARDS. It's sticky. I'm about to be sick.
Eight: the TV is so low down I can't see it from the bed. I have to move the bed til it's at a diagonal so I can watch the box whilst I eat my prawn curry. 5/10 for supper.
Nine: in the morning I head for the shower to find it's a plastic shower from Boots kinda thing and held to the wall by a rubber band. Grohe's what you need boys.
Ten: I'm so relieved to be leaving that I hardly credit them for having organised a taxi for me that arrives on the dot of 9am.
Eleven: back home my own bed is paradisical.