What's new with Janey
23 May 2011

Holidays and hotels

I am old enough to really appreciate the internet, years ago in the dark days of pink and grey striped wallpaper, big perms and China in our hands (the 80s) we booked holidays solely based on the glossy photos in a holiday brochure that got sent in the mail.

You picked your hotel, town and free weeks and looked down a chart to see what the price was based on two people sharing and then got a big train ticket all the way to Cornwall only to discover the bed was made of sticky foam, the sheets were pink bri-nylon, the TV in the bedroom had a slot pay-to-view box and the sea view was nonexistent. They had your money, via a cheque sent in January and the Hotel Kon Tiki in St Ives was nothing but a rip off. It was the 80s we didn’t have 360 degree images on the laptop, we couldn’t drag a wee yellow man onto the street in Google maps to see the location nor could we check various other peoples reviews of the place.

I recall having to share a breakfast of cold ravioli (for breakfast!) with a dull couple from Durham who were made to share our table at the Hotel Kon Tiki. Hubby and I quietly slipped away from the table, packed our cases, spoke to the manager, got our deposit back and got to the famous Headland Hotel in Newquay.

It was a beautiful Victorian castle type building, old fashioned and with a huge dining room that required a tie and a very 1980s dress code- husband and I have photographs from that holiday where we both look very dressed up and old for 24 year old kids. And they didn’t serve ravioli for breakfast nor did they make us share a table with a woman wearing slacks that worked in a pottery factory and liked Cher.

The bedrooms were still Victorian but adorable, it had a huge claw footed chest of drawers, a giant wooden framed luxurious bed and a solid brown wardrobe that would have survived a bombing campaign during WW11 (which it did) and the bay windows looked out to the rugged Cornish coastline. We had such a great time there that we conceived Ashley in that room….she just couldn’t be conceived in a room with manmade fibres, bad lighting and cheap food. I came home relaxed and pregnant from Newquay.

Anyway, nowadays we go online and stare endlessly at the destination we are going to, we can get 360 degree views of the toilet we will be using, we can see the view we will see from the window and we can check every bus, train and bar open within 3 miles of our door! The internet is good….but I still recall with affection the surprise I felt when I opened the door in The Headland Hotel and saw the amazing room….something’s are worth waiting for.

On the other hand times have moved on and hotels are no longer exciting for me. Especially lately when I went to Newcastle, I love Geordie land but the city is now a destination for drunks, stags and hen parties so it feels like one big giant wobbly fairground ride at the weekend. Like almost everyone has stepped off the waltzer and can no longer cope with walking or talking straight at all. They both dress up in various outfits including men as women, cowboys, babies or sailors and the women dress in pink cowboy glittery hats, or as cats and in one case 80s wrestlers…it’s all very strange.

Late night coming home from the comedy gig, my stomach is in knots as I zig zag behind big staggering groups of men in the city centre, am not scared of them but I worry one will fall and bang his drunken head in front of me, a phobia I have had from my years in a bar in The Calton where I once saw a man’s head split open like a deep red coconut as it smashed off the concrete outside the pub. I never want to see that again.

I also get really nervous as I watch drunken walkers all over the road, it makes me anxious but the worst feeling is when they all come back to the hotel I am staying at- the budget chain that the comedy clubs book for me- and the stags and hens run riot all night. This is adult men and women on a drunken weekend, they feel they HAVE to have something happen, and get up to all sorts of shenanigans late at night as the booze seeps in. The clubs and police keep them basically in check as the night progresses but when they are let loose in a hotel corridor, they seem to go ape shit mad and make sure other guests don’t get much sleep.

They bang on doors, scream and giggle in the corridors and fight in rooms until I basically wake up exhausted in the morning. I think there should be dedicated Stag and Hen hotels so folk who don’t like Simply the Best screamed at 4 am in the doorway can go elsewhere.

Yes, I complained to the hotel, yes they apologised and offered compensation, but it doesn’t change anything. I want to go back to the 80s when hotels were genteel and suits had to be worn for dinner not drunken men and women screaming in pink glittery cowboy hats or with plastic penis dangling off their heads throwing bread rolls at each other and pissing in the lift.

I am whiny today aren’t I?_