Monday, April 13, 2009

Back to Britain

A few weeks ago I chatted about an unusual experience in a British hotel. This time I want to talk about a different British hotel experience - a bit more humorous that the other time.
The first hotel was in London - this time were had finished a busy day's sightseeing across central England's countryside visiting sites relating to the ministry of John and Charles Wesley who were central to the formation of the Methodist church.
I was overseeing a group of about fifty people - a congenial and enjoyable group. We pulled up to the hotel in Birmingham ready for a good meal and sound night's rest. After arranging for our passengers' accommodations, we accepted keys and went up to our room. We opened the door and - would you believe - there was no bed, and the room was set up for a meeting. That's right - no bed. Lots of chairs and tables but no bed. Was that anyway to treat the head of a large group of visitors?
Making our way back to the main desk we told the desk clerk there was no bed in the room. She said, "Just a moment, Sir.."and disappeared into the labyrinth of offices behind the desk and soon came back with a classic British management type. I mean, he could have come out of a British style magazine and the only things he lacked was an umbrella and bowler hat. Almost a dead ringer for the floor walker from the old PBS comedy, "Are You Being Served?"
With a melodious voice, he asked, "And what can we do for you, Sir?" I responded, "there's no bed in our assigned room and we would like a bed for the night." He stretched up to a haughty height and looked down at us and said, steely eyed: "Sir, that cannot be." I responded, "Maybe that cannot be, but Sir, there is NO bed in that room. Are we to sleep on meeting room tables with no pillows or blankets?" He sent one of henchmen (or henchwomen) to the room and they came back averting any eye contact with us and whispered to the manager, "Indeed they are right - there is no bed in the room!"
I'm not sure that the manager said anything but in no time we were surrounded by bellboys and were escorted to one of the loveliest rooms we ever had. It was complete with a view over a river - a park with classic British trout fishermen -- about as nice a room one could hope for. We stayed there several days and appreciated every moment of our stay.
When we checked out our friend, the manager, was at the desk and with erect British severity he looked down on us and asked, "I trust the accommodations met with your approval?" I couldn't think of anything fit to say except that the second room was a major improvement over our first one.

1 comment:

  1. I gotta say, that beats our honeymoon. When we got to the condo on the Riviera, we had bunk beds. But at least they were beds.