Charmed Life

I've discovered that it's not only me. Other people do it too - at least one other person does. My friend, Mrs Y-B, also does HRT. Nothing to do with hormones - well, maybe it is. What I am talking about is hotel room transferral.

It was whilst I was staying with the Y-Bs (in a wonderful guest bedroom) that Mrs Y-B and I discovered that we were not alone in our little habit/phobia/ritual - (men, call it what you will). Mr Y-B could not believe that someone other than his wife did this. He thought he was the only poor guy who had to continually repack his clothes and smile apologetically at the porter when, yet again, the hotel room just wasn't good enough for his wife.

She was relieved to find someone else who had also gone through a third of life constantly changing rooms. She did it on her honeymoon. So did I. Except she went one better - she even changed hotels.

In fact, Mrs Y-B and I worked out that over the past 10 years we had asked to move from almost every hotel room we had ever stayed in. Scenario after scenario, we'd both been there: crap decor; tiny room; awful view; broken shower; strange odours. But more often than not the reason was this: "The room is not as nice as I envisaged when I booked. I know that there is a nicer one and that's the one I want to stay in." Simple. Come on, you work all year, live in your nice house all year, so when you go away for some R & R, you do not want to stay in some flea-pit with stained shag-pile carpets, a powerless shower and a view of the kitchen extractor pipe, do you?

My all-time worst was on a ship in South America (which I wasn't even supposed to be on, but that's another story). I was expecting un peu de luxe. Maybe not the Britannia, but at least the sort of cabin that James Bond might find himself in. So, when I see a 6ft-square grey Formica cell which looks like a filing cabinet and has a porthole the size of a Sindy doll's Dutch Cap, you can imagine my angst. I knew I would surely die if I had to spend so much as one night in there. So after: "Please can I change cabins?" "Sorry, no." Then: "I will die of claustrophobia unless I change cabins." "Sorry, no." Finally: "I will sue you bastards for every penny of this trip unless you give me a nice cabin." "How will this suite do Madam?" Sorted.

The Y-Bs are off on holiday next week, and I know that they will be staying in the best hotel room in the Caribbean. Not at first, but as soon as Mr Y-B has unpacked his suitcase, his wife will have arranged a sea-view, super-kingsize royal honeymoon suite that has featured in a film. I expect no less.

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