Notes from a weary business traveller

In your 20′s, business travel is an exotic, exciting luxury. Now that I am in my 40′s, its just a little tiresome. I left the corporate world three years ago for a number of reasons, but partly to avoid all the travelling. Ironically, since running my own business I’ve never travelled more (largely thanks to the benevolence of one particular client). The locations have been pretty exotic too; New York, Washington, Hong Kong, Stockport. OK, maybe not Stockport, but the hotel was fantastic. Which brings me to my point.

I’ve seen the inside of a lot of hotels in the last few years. The afore mentioned Mottram Hall in Stockport and the rather special Renaissance Habour Bay in central Hong Kong were particular highlights. My criteria for business hotel perfection, developed over numerous stays, are quite simple:

  • Next door to the railway station / bus station / ferry terminal (but not the airport..)
  • A hard, clean mattress
  • A shower / bath system that you don’t need a PhD to operate
  • An ironing board and iron (and in ideal circumstances a trouser press) IN THE ROOM
  • The ability to go ‘off menu’ and order beans on toast sitting at the bar (because I just can’t take any more medleys of beef sitting on a bed of spinach and fava beans, etc, etc..)
  • Finally, and most rare of all, a toast machine in the breakfast buffet that does your toast RIGHT FIRST TIME without (a) incinerating it or (b) requiring multiple passes to even warm the bread up…

Not a tricky list you would think. But to date on my travels I have found only one hotel that passes all of the tests above. So well done to the Holiday Inn Liverpool Lime Street! (they do a pretty decent house red as well..)

PS, the moral, if there is one, is as follows. Note to hotel companies: Forget the multi-channel in-room entertainment system and world class dining. Just sweat the small stuff..

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