I was invited to a workshop in Ottawa last September, all expenses paid. Very nice. I decided to the extend the trip by booking an extra night myself. I booked my one night, in the same hotel, on Expedia. I arrived at the Elgin Hotel early evening. My room (Expedia) was pretty rubbish; dark, overlooking some enormous drum things, but as it was only one night and already evening, I didn’t think it would matter. About 8pm a terrible sound started, like the groaning and howling of an old ship engine. It was relentless, oppressive and SO LOUD.
I rang reception who said that it was the air con which was located outside my window. Oh. Half an hour later, I rang again and said that it was unbearable. Could they move me? No, the hotel was completely full. “A lot of people don’t mind the noise,” she added, very unhelpfully. There followed a rant and eventually, about 10pm, the duty manager turned up at the room.
“I’VE COME TO TAKE YOU TO A NEW ROOM”, he shouted. “THANKS!” I shouted back. I grabbed my stuff and we shut the door on the hell hole. As we went to the lift, he started to explain a bit awkwardly that it wasn’t really a room as such. Er? Sorry? Whaddaya mean? “Well, it’s sort of an ante-room and it has a camp bed rather than a bed in it…” By this point, after a long flight, I thought I’d have slept in the lobby if it was quiet. We went up to the top floor where the suites were and he opened what looked like a cupboard door. It was a tiny room that was a box room to Suite 2. He left as quickly as he could after reassuring me that when I started my stay funded by a respected institution (and not Expedia), I would be moved to a luxury room with spectacular views.
I perched on the camp bed looking at the second door into the suite. Was it locked? Did the occupants of Suite 2 know I was in there? Should I knock on the door and let them know? What if they had a row in the night and one of them flounced off to sleep in the box room? These thoughts, combined with the crap camp bed meant that I stayed awake most of the night.