Hotel rooms

Sunday Blog 131 – 14th April 2024

While it may seem odd, I always make my bed when staying in a hotel. The room looks nicer every day and, in my humble opinion, you’re less likely to lose things. You can really enjoy the space all the time. This is perhaps influenced by the fact that, for me, a hotel stay is usually a working/writing holiday. I will usually spend some time at the desk in the room, developing something of a relationship. Plus, I always travel with my yoga mat and will do at least one lot of namaste-ing in the space. 

Currently, I’m in Singapore for a week’s working/ writing holiday. Singapore seems the kind of place where you need to be working. It’s business-like. No nonsense. It’s also a family holiday with darling husband. We’re visiting his son who lives in a lavish flat in the centre but was only here for part of the week. While awaiting him, darling husband and I have been discovering Singapore’s many gems, and staying in our own independent accommodation.

Not that I’m a control freak, but I didn’t actually take part in our choice of hotel. It was a fait accompli when I looked at some pictures on the booking app. I had some misgivings. Basic and depressing were two adjectives that came to mind. Brown was another. When the taxi driver dropped us there from the airport at two in the morning, he just asked “You’re staying here? How much are they charging you a night?” We were evasive, but perhaps warned before we walked in. The check in arrangements were simple. Nothing was locked, not the front door or our room door. 

I mean, our room wasn’t tiny. There were two desks, which is always a bonus for me. But the overwhelming brownness of everything wasn’t cheering, nor was the absence of bedside tables. Aside from the bedroom and bathroom, there was an ugly nook with a washing machine, desk and tiny cooking area. It boasted views of the surrounding apartment blocks—we were on the second floor—and even once, the arresting sight of a fellow traveller on the ground floor outdoor area, his shirt unwisely shed. 

Night two, through the paper-thin walls, a radio or TV blared until 3.30. It was a maddening vocal cadence, which must have been on a loop. Surely no-one could actually speak so relentlessly, for hours, at that speed and volume? I think eventually someone knocked on the door and the sound mercifully ceased long enough for some fitful sleep. The next morning yielded up the sounds of a guest retching over and over. I sincerely hoped it was the one who had been playing the racket until the wee hours.

Despite all this, in the room I’d written and worked. Without access to decent internet, I was tethered to its brown-ness. I even yoga’d plus used the room’s many disappointments as a yogic exercise in acceptance of what is.

But when my stepson returned from his work trip back to Singapore and had a room available for us in his magnificent central apartment for our last few nights’ stay, I couldn’t pack my suitcase fast enough.

When I leave a hotel room for the last time (with the bed made, of course) I usually thank the room. But this time there were no lingering moments, no namaste for the room. Not even for the gifts it taught me about (temporarily) accepting what is. I’m not even sure if there is a moral in this tale, but the view from the apartment as I tap out the Sunday morning blog is divine. Not a naked paunch in sight.

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