'Hotel Eye-Wateringly Expensive'
London. Day off.
It's been a day off and I actually managed to get out and sit in the sunshine for a while. I headed down to St James Park, where you can rent a deck chair for £1.50 and sit by the lake. Today there was even a brass band playing in the band stand which gave the whole place an ever greater air of Victoriana than usual. Whenever I wander round the St. James's area of London, I always feel like I've fallen into the missing scene from The Forsyte Saga and today took that feeling all the way.
Rounded the afternoon off with an early dinner at The Wolseley, a fine restaurant housed in a former car showroom on Piccadilly. Afterwards I strolled back to the Hotel Fabulous in the last of the evening sunshine, where I discovered I had made a terrible mistake. Today's hotel is not just Fabulous, it's actually the Hotel Very Fabulous Indeed a.k.a. the Hotel Eye-Wateringly Expensive. Seasoned users can usually successfully navigate around the expensive bits though, and enjoy a few days of Fabulousness without breaking the bank.
Today though I blew it. When having a bit of a sort out yesterday I had stuffed a load of laundry into one of the hotel laundry bags with a view to taking it home to wash tomorrow. However, it seems that I had inadvertently left the laundry bag on the end of the bed rather than sticking it in my suitcase out of sight. When I came back into my room, I was surprised to see a smaller wicket basket on the bed, containing a great deal of tissue paper, topped with lavender bags. At first I assumed that this had been mis-delivered. Clearly some other sucker had opted to have their laundry done at the hotel, no doubt hand soaked by Tibetan virgins then gently aired dry by the flapping of dragonfly wings, at a cost for which you could have comfortably bought yourself a whole new wardrobe. Including the wardrobe.
Just to make sure, I lifted up the tissue paper and my stomach dropped when I saw some very familiar looking underwear. Deeper in the basket was a shirt of mine and so I knew I was in deep trouble. My first instinct was to call the manager and complain that my clothes had been stolen and washed without my consent but having left them in my hotel room in a hotel laundry bag, I could see I had no defence. I had made a touring faux pas that any rookie would be ashamed of and will (literally) have to pay the price.
My only comfort came from realising that I hadn't put that many items into the laundry bag - it could have been a very great deal worse. I tried to find joy in seeing my clothes utterly born again - shirts in cardboard, everything ironed and folded like new, scent of lavender, etc., but it was a hard pleasure to muster.
Perhaps to heal my hurt we should have a readers' contest to guess what the total laundry bill will be? How much do you think it will have cost to have laundered at London's Hotel Very Fabulous Indeed the following: Four pairs of Macy's short socks, three pairs of M&S underwear, two Gap t-shirts, a short-sleeved linen shirt and a long sleeved cotton shirt.
Winner gets... oh, I don’t know, a clean pair of socks or something.
Monday 17th August 2009. London. Day off.