Read the title of this post aloud. Congratulations: you can now speak ‘Hull’.
For some reason I can’t even think of the word ‘luxury’ without it being in a Yorkshire accent. This indicates what my definition of ‘high-rolling’ was for the best part of two decades, till I went south of the Peak District for any meaningful amount of time. And lo! Now I’m married to someone who chose a career outside the media, public sector or the Arts (code for ‘made money’) I can congratulate myself on never needing to actually go to Hull to experience LUCKSHUREH ever again. This is not, I repeat not, a diss on our City of Culture; Hull has many fine qualities. It’s just that the proliferation of 5* establishments and hostelries is not one of them.
PARENTHESES ALERT: (Although… for those of you that knew Hull in the 1980s: how amazing was ‘Medio’s’? For those that didn’t know Hull in the 1980s … seriously though: where were you? … Medio’s was the only Italian restaurant where anyone in the kitchen had even a glancing acquaintance with Italian cooking, in the whole of North Humberside. But that only scratches the surface. They also had valet parking – still blows my mind – a digital ticker-tape running round the entire room for wishing people Happy Birthday etc & sparklers in the desserts – it was basically Mahiki-on-Humber, but waaaaay better, because Prince William’s Best Man never got his nob out there.)
This gives you a neat intro to my topic du jour: Luxury Hotels. I am IN ONE right now, and while a small phalanx of grateful-looking Thai peasants sweeps the ground around my feet, I’ll explain why it’s worth a blog post.
There’s a recognised global standard for 5* hotels that is actually, surprisingly, one of the most reliable indicators of quality anywhere. I’ve been for 3 Michelin* meals that sucked badly and watched 4* reviewed plays during which I wished I’d had something sharp enough to open a vein, but 5* hotels can always be relied upon to give you 3 – very key -things:
- BED JOY
- WIFI JOY
- CLUB SANDWICHES AT 2AM
The game rules state that as long as the place fulfils these three criteria, it’s a 5* hotel. There is then a sublist of criteria that make it 5* LUCKSHUREH and these include:
- Spa (Tibetan singing bowl optional)
- Bathrobes (trussed up to within an inch of their lives, so that you can’t get them open to put them on one-handed, and fast, which is the only way anyone ever wants to put on a bathrobe, because that’s when someone rings the doorbell to deliver your Club Sandwich at 2am and you’ve been watching hard-hitting TV dramas in the bath).
- Flunkies. These are assorted human beings in assorted embarrassing outfits (bonus points for ‘tribal themed’) that perform assorted menial tasks to make your brief visitation to Planet 5 Star worth the ass-clenching amount of money you’ve spent.
- Minibar (M&Ms, the wrong flavour of Pringles & microscopically small amounts of recognised brands of alcohol in preciously dinky bottles for Adam’s Apple-crampingly high prices).
- Air Con – must be capable of turning the room into something like the inside of Scott’s tent. Your walk to the loo at night must resemble Captain Oates last, heroic act. Under no circumstances must you feel any temperatures anything above an Antarctic February.
- And this one is actually the most prime indicator of somewhere that considers itself 5* – a SAFE. Of course, all of us travel the world with JEWELS (highwaymen knew this, hence why they stood and delivered). Note: the fuzzy felt lining, all the better for cradling your diamond necklace when you’re dining at the Café Rouge just outside the Fleet Services Premier Inn.
So with all of the above criteria met, consider yourself five-starred. It’s a curious feeling, somewhere akin to how getting a Jim’ll Fix It Badge used to feel (USED TO FEEL – OBVIOUSLY – I’M GUESSING – SETTLE DOWN) and being licked by a really beautiful Golden Retriever while drinking an excellent Old Fashioned. But you’ll know it when you feel it. Of course it’s Sister-Feeling is the one you get when you log into your account on September the Whatevs and see that the whole tribal-themed bathrobe orgy cost a few thousand nicker for the privilege and all you’ve got to show for it is a selection of miniature shampoos. Because you’re worth it.