Bags of Time

Our series of monthly articles invites readers to send in light-hearted stories of their travel experiences.  

 travelling, hotels, reception

As the choice of 3 lift doors in the 4th floor elevator foyer eventually pings in recognition of the middle shaft being available to descend in, I breathe a heavy sigh of acceptance and press ‘G’.

‘15 minutes earlier….’

I approach the reception desk at the city centre hotel that will be my home for the next 3 days and announce my surname.  As I have found before in similar scenarios, the receptionist waits a few seconds (as if I’m going to follow this with “……of Sweden”), realises I’ve given my surname and presses a few buttons on her keyboard, before stating “sorry we don’t have a reservation in that name”.  Off we go again, with another check-in fiasco.  I’ve already booked online, paid and added breakfast, so I am once again baffled at why I can’t just be given my keycard and be sent in the direction of the lifts.  

But…..I now give my company name in case (and I know it will have done) the hotel computer has read the second line of my booking and not the first and hey presto… booking is found.  A piece of A4 is slid in my direction and I am asked to add my nationality (I’m in Basingstoke, so not overly important) and my car registration number (n/a) (I put that once and the receptionist said “oh a personalised number plate – how nice”) and I sign the form.  Next, I am asked if I would like to pre-authorise a credit card so that I can charge items to my room. I can’t help myself (I always do this…) and ask how much the pre-auth will be for?  I am told £50.00.  I tell my new nemesis that I will drink that in Pinot tonight, so do I have to come back tomorrow to pre-pay again?  At this stage, the business-suited hotel rep has got my measure and politely says “no”.

My keycard is eventually in my grasp and I am indeed pointed in the direction of the lifts, one of which I am destined to descend in again much quicker than I should be.

‘Present day….’ 

The lift doors slide open to indicate my arrival at ‘G’.  I walk over to the reception desk, wait 8 minutes due to understaffing, request my keycard be ‘re-cut’ as it doesn’t work, go back up in the lift to ‘4’ and hope that this is not a remake of Groundhog Day.