JournalismPakistan.com February 27, 2016
Nothing intimidates me like staying in a 5-star hotel. Everyone is better dressed than you are and you feel unkempt and want to rub your shoes on your trouser leg and feel like an imposter and they must know it and any moment they are going to unmask and fling you out.
Everyone is so in your face and unctuous as if you were the first rainfall after a drought and the check in clerk is so sugary polite and courteous that people like me who are not to the manner born keep looking over their shoulder to see who the man is talking to, it cannot be you. The bellhop leads you to the elevator like you were royalty and you think how much do I give him, what is the least I can get away with to avoid that supercilious sneer and then you pad down these thick carpeted corridors and you put your key in and sure enough it comes red, not green and you have to trek all the way back because no hotel has yet worked out a way to save guests this ridiculously annoying trip.
Finally, you are in your room with the TV set welcoming you and ‘you’ having no clue how to move it onto ‘program’ and there are nine pillows on the bed and you wonder who has nine pillows and the shower has blistering hot and chillingly cold and if you go swimming there is a man to welcome you and another to hand you a towel and third to give a sliver of soap and a fourth to direct you to the pool and then the waiter comes to ask if you want a drink and then some PR person trots along to ask if you are okay and you want to say yes except for the claustrophobia and the crowd scene at the health club and the three people who open the doors for you and can you just leave me alone.
And then you are back in your room and the TV is still on ‘Welcome Mr Vohra’ so instead of watching the cricket match you see the facilities in the hotel for the fifth time and you know they have a hotel in Upper Volta because you don’t want them to think you are a peasant by calling the concierge (who calls the concierge, I get a fever just trying to pronounce it) and by the time you are leaving, battered and bruised and avoiding the gauntlet of people cheerily sending you off like Caesar into battle you have got even for the Rs18,000 plus taxes a day room by stealing a mini conditioner, shampoo, a nail file and cloth slippers and actually believe you are ahead.
(The writer is a Senior Editorial Advisor of Khaleej Times and the paper’s former Editor. He has also been the Editor of Gulf News, Gulf Today, Emirates Today and Bahrain Tribune)
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