The Elephant Outside the Room
There’s something a little bit extravagant, if not indulgent, about room service. Firstly, you have to be staying in a hotel of some luxury, because many hotels just don’t offer it. Secondly, someone has to spend the roughly ten minutes ferrying a specially packed tray or trolley to your room.
In my travelling days, I did occasionally make use of room service. A few occasions stand out. A pot of rich hot chocolate on an icy day, at a hotel in Oslo. A Sunday morning flask of coffee at a hotel in Hong Kong while reading the FT Weekend in bed.
There’s a lot to be said for the convenience of food and drink arriving at your door without you having to get properly dressed before going out in search of it.
I can’t recall the location of eating the inevitable club sandwich, that somewhat ridiculous multi-layered standard of room service menus, but I do remember the oral gymnastics required to eat around the skewer without piercing my lips or impaling my gums.
I’m almost certain that none of my room service experiences took place in a room large enough for me to eat a meal ‘properly’, and this seems one of
the dark secrets of the service. Hotel rooms deliver the minimum amount of space in which to sleep, wash, use the toilet and work. This doesn’t strike me as being the ideal space in which to also eat. Or, to sleep in the same confined space in which we’ve just eaten.
You’d think that this simple fact would be the elephant in the room, and you may not be far wrong.
No, the elephant is in the passage.
Having finished your room service meal, you definitely don’t want to sleep with it. So, the trolley gets wheeled outside, or the tray is dumped on the floor. Guests on their way back to their rooms, having dined in more salubrious surrounds, have to walk past the detritus of these meals.
I’m a big fan of leftovers when they’ve been retrieved from a sealed container in the fridge. Messy room service plates with congealed bit of sauce and pasta do the genre no favours.
What is needed, fellow travellers, is a shroud to cover the tray or trolley when it’s in the passage. We don’t need to be confronted with this horror.
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