Langoliers

 

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We checked into a hotel at Heathrow Airport yesterday and at first, it seemed like a great place to stay! We were greeted with a glass of champagne. The service at the front desk as exceptional. The hotel (which shall remain nameless) was dimly lit, but looked very grand! A porter helped us take our cases to our rooms and was very friendly and helpful! As soon as I got out of the elevator on the third floor I had misgivings.

Something felt wrong. Our rooms were not at all what we expected. Don’t get me wrong, they weren’t awful, but they weren’t good. The bed was well made and clean (actually looked comfortable too). The furniture in the rooms looked at least twenty years old, very dated. The rooms had been painted recently, but what was under the paint worried me! The bathroom had damp areas at the top of the walls and on the ceiling. It looked awful. The floor tiles were chipped.

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Again, this wasn’t the big problem…..it was clean and we were only staying there one night. One of the problems was, this was an expensive hotel, I expected it to be better.

We stayed in our rooms only as long as it took to dump our cases, I didn’t like the ‘feel’ of the room. We went to the executive lounge, which felt great. It had been taken good care of and updated. It overlooked the runway and we watched the planes coming in to land. The lounge had a different atmosphere. Once we had checked into our flights on-line, we went down to the bar, anything to avoid those bedrooms. The champagne was obviously a ploy to get us buzzed enough not to notice the rooms.

The barman brought me a pint of lager instead of the half-pint I asked for. When it turned up, it tasted awful, everyone else’s drink was OK! We ordered dinner, everyone else’s was fine, but mine tasted like deep fried cotton wool, with a hint of antiseptic (even though I was eating the same thing as someone else). The lager tasted bad and the food tasted worse. We sat there in the dark even though it was only late afternoon. Candles flickered in glasses in the middle of our cheap veneered tables. I started to feel like I was a character in Stephen King’s ‘The Langoliers’.

I pulled myself together and ordered a glass of wine hoping it would taste better. WRONG! My Sauvignon Blanc tasted like bad water. I looked around me. Everyone else was eating and drinking with no complaints….was it just me? I was getting paranoid.

Our friends arrived! Great, a distraction! They went to the bar and purchased a bottle of Pinot Noir for themselves and Joanna, I declined a drink, too scared to drink anything else in the twilight zone I felt trapped in.

I watched with interest as they enjoyed their red wine.

As they prepared to order more drinks I had a brain wave. “Lets go to the Executive Lounge” I said “The drinks are free up there”

What I was really thinking was “It’s in the Good Zone”. I was hoping that everything would be back to normal up there. We took the elevator to the dimension known as ‘the third floor’ and used our special cards to get into the Executive Lounge.

The smiling waitress came over with a bottle of Pinot Grigio and offered to pour me a glass. Was she human, or was she part of the conspiracy? She looked normal – I tasted the wine – YES, it tasted exactly how it was supposed to. It tasted good. Maybe the spell was broken.

“Desserts and snacks are served” she told me. My friend and my daughter ate snacks and desserts and said they were delicious. Not me! The wine was good, so I was quitting while I was ahead!

We had a good evening in the Executive Lounge, but I didn’t venture back down to the bar, and still felt a little uncomfortable in the room.

If any of you are intending staying in a hotel at Heathrow Airport – speak to me first and I will tell you where NOT to stay.

 

 

 

 

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