Pamela Cooper

PAMELA COOPER checks into a London broom cupboard

Have you noticed your room is always the last one at the end of the passage when you book into a hotel?

Impressed by the facade and foyer, I check into my hotel just off Oxford Street, London. After taking the lift to a mid-level floor, I follow the numbers down interminably long passageways until I reach the last broom cupboard to find it matches the number on my key.  I haven’t passed a soul on the way.

Stumbling through the door like Scott of the Antarctic, I prepare to behold the luxurious suite that’s costing me an arm and a leg, and find … Oh, no! It is the broom cupboard.  They’ve managed to squeeze in a bed, two cupboards, a writing desk, wardrobe, coffee table, two chairs, a TV set, luggage rack, and a fan.  A fan?  Throwing back yards of green satin curtains, I observe my air conditioner is the gap in the sash window, which is stuck.

I have a magnificent view of the fire escape stairwell, giving me uninterrupted viewing into the rooms of similar unfortunates.  I close the curtains to give them privacy and turn on the fan. Clambering back over the coffee table (there is no floor space), I lie down on the bed and contemplate the ceiling.  It is far away and reminds me of the Sistine Chapel, sans paintings.  The room is twice the height of the floor area, bringing new meaning to the word ‘double-volume’. No wonder it was so expensive.  They had booked me into the floor above as well.

But wait!  A further treat is in store.  There is an en-suite bathroom complete with toilet, bath with shower (ensure curtain is on inside of bath before turning on taps), and basin in an inviting shade of avocado green.  Soap and shampoo but no shelves.  The top of the toilet cistern is the only storage space.

In the wardrobe is a table with a tray of goodies and a kettle. Yes, inside the wardrobe.  I presume I will take this out if I want to hang any clothing inside. The kettle must be put on the floor in the corner of the room to boil because that’s where the plug is.

Yet the hotel appears to be almost empty.  Sound familiar?