Home Funny Stuff The Strangest Reason I’ve Ever Used To Request A Room Change

The Strangest Reason I’ve Ever Used To Request A Room Change

by joeheg

Way, way back in the mid-90s, before we were dating, and even before I was worried about miles and points, Sharon and I booked a trip with two other friends to visit London and Paris. It was a British Airways package that included airfare, Eurostar train tickets, and hotels.

Our hotel in London was near Kensington and close to where one member of our group stayed on a prior trip. Since he was the only one who had ever visited London before, we took his word that this was a nice neighborhood.

The hotel looked nice from the outside, at least for a group of people who had never been to England before. In fact, it was just what we expected.


The Charles Dickens Hotel. What could be more British?

When we got to our room, we realized this wasn’t what we expected.

Not exactly luxury accommodations. When we inspected the beds, we discovered they lacked box springs. It was just a mattress on top of the bed frame! We didn’t care because we were in London and only staying for three nights.

What I didn’t expect when I returned to our room after our first day was an army of ants streaming in from the window, going along the radiator, and right into my suitcase.

I called the hotel staff to the room and showed them my bag full of ants. They offered to fumigate our bags and move us to another room.

Flashback to the beginning of the story. Sharon and I were friends, but we weren’t even dating at this point. So I was sharing a room with another one of our friends. The two of us were moved to another wing of the hotel, into a room that was obviously for people who were reviewing the hotel. Most importantly, it lacked ants.

The beds in this room included both the mattress and box spring.

Upon seeing our upgraded room, Sharon and our other friend (who was my best man at our wedding) went to the front desk and asked to have one of the “nice” rooms. Their request was denied because there was no documented reason to move.

At this point, our friend said a line that will forever be etched in my memory. “There is most definitely a reason. I’m afraid of the possibility of ants.”

The desk agent nodded, put a note on the reservation, and moved them into the room next to ours in the new wing of the hotel. The new rooms weren’t luxurious. However, they were 100 times better than the rooms we were in before we were moved.

We’ve always laughed that if we ever want to try to get a better room at a hotel, we could try to use this excuse. Who knows, if the hotel has a history of problems with ants, it might just work.

And if you’re wondering, The Charles Dickens Hotel is no more. It’s now the Lancaster Gate Hotel and it looks like they’ve renovated the property since our stay (Note from Sharon: I just clicked on the link and the lobby still looks the same LOLOL!).

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SKF August 13, 2020 - 3:41 pm

Did you get to the Mitre pub around the corner?

joeheg August 13, 2020 - 9:07 pm

Nope. Unless if it was by accident. We were totally newbie travelers.

Christian August 13, 2020 - 9:10 pm

The old Antaphobia ploy, eh?

joeheg August 14, 2020 - 10:09 pm

We’ve contemplated using at other hotels when they’re not wanting to give us a new room even when our has obvious problems (smoke smell, broken fixtures, etc.)

derek June 11, 2022 - 8:18 pm

London has a lot of substandard hotels that look like that on the outside but are crummy inside.

Incidentally, the Lancaster Gate Hotel is on the short street called Lancaster Gate. This was, according to Instagram’s @ideas2day , the filming location to a British TV series. Disclaimer: I am not this Instagram person but only know of Lancaster Gate through that Instagram account’s posts.

JohnnyBoy July 8, 2023 - 4:37 pm

Funny. My teenaged daughter and her friend stayed at the Lancaster Gate last summer on both layovers of a trip to Spain. It was there first big independent trip and I arranged hotels and flights for them. It was perfectly fine for them and the best combo of price and quality in that neighborhood, which is jam-packed with fleabag hotels. Also, that neighborhood is not really ‘near Kensington’, but is Paddington, because of the eponymous train station in its center.
Pro tip: the Hotel Indigo in that neighborhood is both relatively nice and a solid points hotel.

joeheg July 8, 2023 - 4:44 pm

We’ve stayed at the Hotel Indigo near Earl’s Court and loved it.


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