I bet that you thought this post would be about me confessing an addiction to reality talent shows…
Nope. Although I will confess to having fantasies about being on The Block, I’m proud to say that I’ve never seen an episode of The X Factor, Australia’s Got Talent or any of the others.
The X factor I’m talking about here is that indefinable something about a hotel, a resort, a tent even, that makes that place memorable.
It mightn’t be the poshest, or the most expensive, or the most wished for- in fact very often, it’s exactly the opposite- but it’s the accommodation you remember. And, just like the reality show, the reasons that place is memorable may make no logical sense to anyone else.
On my list- in no particular order…
The B & B we stayed at in Warwick, UK. It was an old property (even by English standards) across the road from Warwick Castle. The clock on the Castle walls chimed all night. I’m not sure whether it was the floor or the ceiling that was crooked, but I’ll always remember my 6’1” husband pacing the floors attempting to prove it to me- and banging his head in the process. The next morning we eavesdropped on two extremely clichéd and horsey women talking in very posh voices about how it had been so wet that they’d had to hang the horse rugs over the sweeping bannisters. I spent the whole of the next day attempting to imitate their accent.
The pub in Chepstow, Wales, where we arrived in darkness and paid extra for a river facing room, only to wake up the next morning and find our view was of a steep, muddy river bank with hardly any water- yes, the tide was out.
The hotel in Venice where you had to have your feet inside the shower, but at a really weird angle, in order to sit on the toilet.
The Park Lane in Hong Kong. I loved the position and the bookmarks, but the most memorable thing about this place was how each night a different taxi driver would take us to the same wrong hotel. Park Lane must sound very different in Mandarin…or is it Cantonese…I always get them mixed up.
The hotel in New York whose name I have no chance of remembering. Aside from being right on Broadway (I could see the Times Square ball from my window), this place is memorable for other reasons. There was the lesson in tipping the housekeeping staff that I had to learn very quickly if I wanted my soap or teabags re-stocked. There was the lesson in converting farenheit back to celicius in order to work the air conditioning. There was also the bar fridge that registered when something was taken out of it- meaning that I couldn’t do my usual thing of taking their beer out to put mine in. The first two nights I simply rested my cans on the window sill- after all, it was February- to keep them cold. After that I requested the mini bar be emptied.
Watching hot air balloons from my bed at the Sofitel in Melbourne. The view of the MCG lit up on match night in all her glory is amazing from the ladies toilets on the 35th floor. Just saying. Hashtag.
The pool at the Padma in Legian, Bali. The first time I wallowed in this pool was a few days before Christmas, and just 2 days after I’d been retrenched. The trip had been booked to coincide with the redundancy- to provide a fullstop to 12 years. The previous year had been emotionally and physically exhausting, and one of the most difficult in my working life. That pool felt like paradise. I walked into it and felt the stress melt away. It’s what’s brought me back to this hotel/resort four times. Speaking of which- why have I never posted a piece on the Padma?
Watching the fireflies dart through the rice fields from our private terrace at Wapa di Ume in Ubud.
What about you? What have been your X moments- those indefinable somethings about a hotel that have made it stick in your memory bank?