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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