Hotel Life

Hotels are strange places. Particular the big chains that always give me pause when I am woken from my slumber by an early alarm, those initial few seconds it takes to remember where I am in the world when confronted by yet another bland room with the exact same layout as the other bland rooms I’ve stayed in before.

To be fair, most of the time I only every stay in a hotel for a few nights so as long as it’s clean, has a decent bed and a shower, I don’t need much more. It is but a roof over my head, a base to explore the world from, so my requirements of a hotel room aren’t the most extravagant. As long as it’s good enough it’s good enough for me, as I’m sure someone else once said.

It’s no coincidence that I am writing this very post whilst sitting on a not too uncomfortable chair, in front of an almost usefully sized desk in a Premier Inn which, as expected, is as perfectly innocuous as any other. It’s quite a skill to have the interior design of such places broken down into a perfectly repeatable format that is used so often I’m sure most of you can picture the room I’m in without any more description.

This is not to putdown this, or any other, budget level hotel. They have a valuable place in the world and part of that is down to their insipid offerings. The fact that each Premier Inn room is essentially the same, that every Tune hotel has the same offerings (no I don’t need a window or more than one towel thanks), and all come with such similar colour schemes that there becomes a tranquility and comfort in their familiarity. When you’ve spent a day exploring the world, or been working in a new location, it’s nice to have a calm space that doesn’t challenge or overload your brain. Long live mediocrity.

I guess that’s why, when you do stay at a hotel that has put some thought into the little details or offers decorative touches that stand out, those are the ones that leave an impression. It can be the simplest of things – USB charging points next to both sides of the bed for example – that stand out, and many times it’s a tiny detail that in hindsight makes you wonder why EVERY hotel doesn’t have such a thing.

As mentioned staying at a hotel with USB points, as well as standard plugs, on both sides of the bed, seems like such a trifling matter on its own, but if you include a remote control for the air conditioning, a choice of pillows in the cupboard and not one but three different, large, surfaces to accumulate all the junk we end up with us when we travel, and what could’ve been a basic hotel room quickly goes up in your expectation. Add in some unique design touches, maybe eye catching wallpaper, or a luxurious armchair (to throw your clothes on) and suddenly it all feels so much more luxurious.

The flipside of this though is that such rooms aren’t familiar. The minute I step into the room of a more upmarket hotel, one that has a bigger budget to equip and decorate the room I’m always aware of the money I’ve spent, and try to take in the details, make sure I use all the facilities. I act like I’m staying in a hotel, I’m aware I’m staying in a hotel and I always feel a little out of place. As much as I like my creature comforts, I’m a man of simple tastes for the most part, happy to make do with the basics as long as those basics are good enough.

A posh hotel room is too far from what we have at home, it doesn’t feel familiar, it doesn’t feel safely unchallenging, it reminds me that I am not at home, that I am far from my loved ones.

So you can keep your high thread count linens, and complimentary robes and slippers, give me something bland and familiar.

Wow, I’m not sure I could be any more middle-aged than this.

I am Premier Inn.