TV or not TV

Hotels at conference are a bit hit or miss.

On a holiday you choose your hotel with real care. With conference, it’s more a case of who can fit you in. Like many delegates I’ve stayed in some gems and some dives over the years. You can stay in an official conference hotel, surrounded by fellow delegates, with lots of business facilities, big names in your late opening bar, etc (and pay through the nose for the privilege).

I prefer to stay somewhere a bit quieter and cheaper; it doesn’t have to be grand but these days I do like to be able to check my email and have breakfast in peace. So I was delighted to find a pleasant-looking hotel offering TV, wifi and a breakfast tray service too. All for about a quarter of the price of the HQ (and a healthy 10 minute walk away). So far, so good.

There have been a couple of blips. I prefer to hang onto my key, but the receptionist told me they ask people to hand them in ‘for security reasons’. Last night when I got back at about 11.30pm, the hotel door was open and the bar and disco in full swing, but no-one on reception. After hanging around for a bit (no bell to ring and bar staff unable to leave the bar) I found I could easily reach my room key over the counter. So now I’m hanging onto it (for security reasons, you understand).

Anyway, tonight I got back and was eager to catch ‘Newsnight”s take on the conference. Only I couldn’t get the TV to work. It had been fine the night before, but several switches on off later and still no TV. I phoned reception. A nice man came up. I explained my problem, I really wanted BBC2 because of the coverage of the conference, it’s serious, like work (indicating papers and notes on the bed). He fiddled with the controls and produced BBC2, and there it was – motor racing!

I’d forgotten that conference started a day early this year, and it’s still only Sunday….


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