I went away for the weekend and needed a hotel room for one night. There were various events on in the city and most of the hotels were either full or beyond my price range. I didn’t want anything particularly fancy, clean, en-suite and with parking that was all I needed. Well, I found a hotel – not exactly in the city centre but convenient to where I wanted to be; it sounded modest but looked fine on the images I saw so I booked it.
I used Delilah the satnav, because although I roughly knew the area, the hotel was on a main road and I wasn’t sure I could creep along looking for it with all the traffic. Delilah the satnav told me I had arrived – the hotel was supposed to be on my right as I was driving along, but there was no sign of it. I drove on, turned round and drove back again, but still I couldn’t spot it.
I parked up and walked back to where it should be, following the property numbers. There was a strange-looking restaurant and then I spotted a board, the hotel!! But the board was attached to a wall so it was only visible if I was going in that direction. There was no sign of the hotel. I wondered if it was behind the wall the board was attached to – no that was a nursery. I wondered if I accessed it through the dodgy looking restaurant; I went up the concrete steps, but there was nothing to tell me that this was anything to do with the hotel.
Between the restaurant and the wall with the board was a narrow alley, about the width of a car. I walked down it, past some absolutely reeking dustbins. There was an area at the end with a few cars parked, and a building which might possibly be the hotel although there was no name and nothing which said ‘reception’ or anything similar. The door was locked but a stuck on piece of paper directed me back to the restaurant.
Back to the restaurant and I went in and there was a small hatch; two people were there, a young woman on the phone and a man. Eventually he rather timidly asked if he could help, and then signed me in and gave me a key. He led me through the restaurant out the back and down some rickety wooden stairs to a yard full of broken furniture and rubbish which led round to the locked door of the building at the back.
I put in the code and opened the door, and as I went up the stairs, past several notices warning me not to smoke, that smoking was forbidden. Two men came down he stair and greeted me pleasantly enough but they were what you might call dodgy geezers. I opened the door into the corridor, a door plastered with more no smoking notices, and walked into a cloud of smoke… Repulsive! I came across a cleaner and she directed me to my room. To be fair, it was clean, the bedding looked new and the towels were soft, fluffy and spotless.
I spent the afternoon and evening with a friend and returned to the hotel. I had particularly wanted a parking place but, typical of this place, they were all full so I managed to find some street parking just down the road. I walked back to the hotel and noticed there was a big illuminated sign, flickering on and off ‘HOTEL’ in red – when I had been trying to find it during the day the sign had been switched off… The flickering sign was like something from a third-rate thriller movie! I returned to my room and watched TV – which worked perfectly, had a couple of cups of tea (kettle worked perfectly) then, weary after my early start and long drive, settled down for the night.
I slept well; I woke early because I wanted to pick up my car, not sure whether I had left it in a parking area, and not wanting to get a ticket. I watched a bit more TV, had a cup of tea, went to have a shower… and the shower didn’t work… so much for having lovely fluffy towels!
As I got dressed an enormous foul-mouthed row erupted right outside my door as a woman, a fellow guest presumably berated hr boyfriend/partner/husband for something or another. I gathered my things and left. I wanted to complain about the shower but the restaurant was closed and there was a box to post keys back. as I walked away I noticed that the sign board attached to the wall hadn’t even written the name of the place correctly…
Oh well, it was an experience… when you read about one of my characters visiting a dodgy hotel in one of my stories you will know what it was based on!
When I got home, my daughter asked if I’d looked up any reviews of the hotel… well… no, I hadn’t… she looked at me… I’ll let her sort out my accommodation next time!!
This is definitely not a third-rate thriller… but I did keep thinking about it!
Here’s a link to my books…
There’s a haunted hotel in this one: