This may surprise long-time readers to hear this, but I am rather spoiled. Shocking as that is to hear, I do believe at least 52% of us can agree on it, ergo it is the truth.
It was not always this way. I was not born into money, so did not get to experience a hotel until my early 20s.
It started off with occasional 4-star hotels on work trips, with sheer incredulity over what extra 5-star prices could bring to my life. Clearly my curiosity took over, as by the ripe old age of 25 I was regularly staying in luxury properties and have since worked my way through some of the best luxury hotels in the world.
After my first 5-star hotel, I have only ever fallen off the wagon twice: once on a trip to Russia that I may have spoken about one or twice before. Try as I might, and believe me there was a lot of trying, the best option was a 3-star. I hated it so much that I waited at an airport for 5 hours for the next flight to Moscow, so I could enter restful slumber in the Four Seasons.
The latest relapse was this Saturday, after needing to be in my fiancés homeland in the Czech countryside. Little did I realise that Russia was just a test, but this was the real exam.
It must have been competing for an International recognised award of bad taste. Congrats to them on their uncontested victory. The room had barely enough space to walk either side of the bed without sticking to the creatures that call the wall their legal residence. There we no toiletries, no bottled water, no AC for the 31C heat, just some specially un-designed see-through curtains and two single beds pushed together with a large gap in the middle that contained relics of the previous guests. It is good to get to know the locals, but this time I felt I got to know them rather all too well. It’s the kind of place that has more health inspectors than guests.
And no wonder, when you take into consideration my favourite facility: a wellness area; a pool, sauna and whirlpool that required additional payment of £40/h to use. Financial crimes come in many shapes and sizes, but this was the first time I would have voluntarily paid to contract a disease, if you ignore those visits to Amsterdam, which I totally do. There is no insurance company on earth that would have accepted my claim. You don’t go swimming in sewers and not accept a bit of responsibility.
And then the next day we were due to stay in the Four Seasons, Prague. Our 3rd visit in just over a year, with the first not exactly setting the world alight. Yet none of that mattered: I once again got to experience the world as a child. I could see what actually consisted of a luxury experience. It was majestic. I was 20 years old again and got to experience luxury hospitality for the first time. I have never been more pleased to stay somewhere I dislike.
I walked into that hotel and was greeted by a human being that grew up with parents who loved him, or at least acknowledged his existence; I stepped through a lobby that didn’t smell of rat piss, cider and bee stings, but tasted like an angel’s fart; I opened a door and saw a clean room, with actual curtains and a bed that wasn’t banned in 43 countries. I had a shower without risk of stepping on a used needle. I smiled. I was home. No, better, I was in the greatest hotel that ever existed.
Having spent the best part of a day reading your fine work I can only say thank you and please never stop! This sort of entertainment belongs in a needle.
It’s fair to say “exercise” isn’t your favourite hobby, with your distain for gyms, but would you consider reviewing another Cheval Blanc? Say in Courchevel?
All the best,
Not a Russian