Donald MacInnes: Two singles won't always make a return

In The Red

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The Independent Online

Last week I detailed our arrival in Munich, whereby we forgot to collect our bags from the luggage carousel and blundered straight through customs, like a couple of sleep-deprived laboratory rats missing the cheese dispenser and going straight for the door marked Cats Only. We eventually managed to negotiate our way back air-side to rectify the situation.

Our next challenge was to understand the city's underground system, which, on paper, seemed straightforward. But finding the right escalator to the right platform was akin to entering a Paris roundabout in rush-hour, while two baboons squabble over the last bottle of banana milkshake in the passenger seat.

We finally managed to cross the city and found our hotel without too much bother. But our relief was short-lived when we saw our room, which was the size of a cheese and ham toastie. And therein lies the problem with booking your hotel rooms online.

Certainly, the price we paid when we booked suggested the room should be bigger than it was, but I suppose our approach should have been: buyer beware. Since when were images of your hotel a realistic representation of the facts? Even back to the days of glossy brochures and travel agents, the hotel room you chose would always be made to look like Mark Zuckerberg's games room by the judicious use of a fish-eye lens. And things haven't changed much. When you book online, the image of the room you book is rarely an image of the actual room you will be occupying. But is this too much to ask? Surely we have the technology!

One thing which no amount of disclosure will be able to fix is the mystifying habit in German hotels of shoving two single beds together to create a "double". Now, this is fine if you are sharing a room with someone you won't be cuddling throughout the night. But why would those who anticipate no bodily contact even need a double room? If you request a double, you probably envisage a situation when you or your partner might fancy a 4am snuggle. And my wife will testify that, if you chance your arm and attempt said togetherness across the border of your faux double, you risk a very real drop into the void between the two beds. And that sort of thing can ruin your night. And mine…

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