Turning down turndown
One of the putative benefits of 5-star hotels is the turndown service. You know, smiling ladies arrive in the early evening, fold down a corner of your bedding and leave you a chocolate before unobtrusively fading into the corridor.
So when does it become creepy and obtrusive? Well, there are a few tests. First, time of arrival. Nine pm is really not cool. By then you are well settled in your bunny slippers, watching reruns of Ice Road Truckers on cable and scoffing overpriced snacks from the minibar. It’s hard to be social and 5-star guest-ish.
The whole bed-folding and chocolate on the pillow – fine. No problem. Putting the book with ads for all of the other related hotels also on the pillow – bit obvious. Maybe chocolate and exhaustion will coerce me into a spontaneous booking at “Famous Hotels Belgrade”, or Algiers or something…
It got a little odd when they tidied my carry-on suitcase onto the special suitcase holder (apparently just on the floor is forbidden). Then they moved all my shoes from the corner where I (neatly) put them, to under the suitcase. I started giggling at this point, I hope they weren’t offended, because they were really very nice people.
But the point of no return was the smalls I had soaking in the bathroom sink. OK, I am too cheap (and too self-conscious) to pay a hotel $10 to launder a pair of tights. I was minding my own business pretending to be interested in Mythbusters when I heard muffled conversation and sloshing from the bathroom. I had to intervene. How do you explain (nicely and appropriately) that since you grew up you don’t let anybody else wash your smalls, not even your mum.
Well they went away quietly enough, but I am sure I’m now famous downstairs as the mad antipodean who thinks she’s a washerwoman. “Poop Poop”, as Toad would say…