I tried to book into the previously featured 'Eynsham Hall' near Oxford this weekend, but they told me my favorite room (the only one I have stayed in) was booked, because they are hosting a large wedding this saturday, but they had a similar room available. They warned me about the noise of music, etc. late into the night, however.
I debated as to whether or not a wedding would enhance the stay or ruin it, and tried to find a way of subtly asking the receptionist if it was going to be a high-class affair, or the sort where the male guests hang around the bar in tuxedos and trainers, insulting each other to the point of fist-fights at 2.00 in the morning, but couldn't think of a subtle way of putting it, so I just came out and asked her direct. She never responded to this vital question, so we decided to give it a miss.
I once stayed in a hotel where a newly married couple were having their honeymoon, and the highlight of the trip was when the groom (having drunk himself into near-oblivion) tried to drown his new bride in the swimming pool, and was arrested by the police for attempted murder at about 3.00 in the morning on the night of the wedding. I wonder if they are still together?
The T.V. series, 'Fawlty Towers' was based on a real hotel run by an eccentric and hostile old buffer, somewhere in the West Country. Apparently, many people would travel from far away to stay in this entertaining establishment, just to be insulted by the owner.
The absolute WORST hotel I ever stayed in was a Travelodge, somewhere in Hampshire. It was like paying to be in an open prison.
The strangest hotel experience I have ever had was in Hamm, Germany. We arrived late at night and had been fore-warned that the keys to the front door would be under the mat. In the dark, the place looked like a cross between 'Bates Motel' and the Addams Family residence. We found the keys and unlocked the huge, oak door.
The place was in utter darkness, and we couldn't find any light switches, so we fumbled and groped our way to what felt like a large staircase. I was at the front, and made my way up the creaking wooden steps until I came to the first landing. That was when I heard the deep growl of an enormous dog which was lying - at eye-level - across the top stair, threatening to attack at any moment.
In the darkness, I could not see what sort of breed it was, only that it was the size of a small horse. I guess it must have been some sort of mastiff. It didn't budge from it's position, but just lay there, growling menacingly. After about 3 minutes, I decided the only alternative to sleeping outside in the bushes was to step over the damn thing, so this is what we did. I had to lift my leg quite high to get over it, and I felt it's hot breath on my crotch area as it growled.
Once past the dog, we made our way to an even darker corridor and had to resort to using a cigarette lighter to read the numbers on the doors. Since our rooms were pre-booked, we each found the appropriate number, let ourselves in and went straight to bed.
The next morning, we went down for breakfast. The dog had gone, and we found the breakfast lounge by the smell of bad coffee coming from it. In the room were the exact number of places laid out on the table for us (4 - we were a touring theatre company), and hot bacon and eggs, etc. were sitting under silver covers. There was nobody else around, so we just had breakfast, went back upstairs, then came back down to put our keys on the desk and leave. Not once did we see another human being. It was like the scene where Harker is entertained by Nosferatu in the film starring Klaus Kinsky.
I stayed in the fabulous 'Windsor Hotel' in Cairo once. Once in my room, I thought I would wash the desert dust off myself in the shower, then found that there was no hot water. I called the man on reception and told him there was no hot water.
"I know," he answered.
"When will there be hot water?" I asked.
Since it was a monday, I decided to have a cold shower, but - once freezing my arse off under the cascading water - found that there was no soap, so I climbed out and got back onto the phone.
"There is no soap in my shower," I shivered through gritted teeth.
I didn't bother to ask which day the soap was delivered.