New on the list of ‘least desirable places to die’, is a Travelodge in Bolton. Can you think of anything more depressing? For those of you, lucky enough to have never encountered a Travelodge, let me enlighten you. Imagine a room containing a bed that sinks in the middle, a brown shower and a few strands of someone else’s hair, and an overall air of despair and hopelessness. If the Travelodge were a creature, it would be a Dementor. If hotel freebies are your bag (I love stealing miniatures for the Guest Bathroom, I don’t have, in the house I don’t yet live in) you get a real treat in the form of ‘hair, hand, body, arse wash’ in a bottle so small you could swallow it whole. A toiletry form of ‘Jack of all trades, master of none’. Forget wardrobes, hang your Asda Price suit up on this casual rail so you can lay in bed and stare at it where you wonder where it all went wrong. Flick casually through the 7 random channels before deciding the beautiful view of abandoned shops is far more favourable.
When I was 17, I had a job as a cleaner in a Travelodge. They called us ‘Housekeepers’, but there are not many Housekeepers I know that have had to clean human faeces off of a wall. That’s not an exaggeration. The ladies I worked with were bitter and haggard in their role, the only occasion of happiness I ever encountered was the day I was prevented with My Very Own Caddy. A caddy is the basket in which you carry your cloths and cleaning fluids. I was thrilled. We had one guest who had to stay for several weeks as her house was fumigated. Her and her cat. Due to the nauseating smell, no one but me would ever replace her towels or coffee sachets, dodging the cat poop on the floor, the bed. Just what every 17 year old dreams of doing with her Saturday mornings.
The ‘All you can eat breakfast’ includes a soggy croissant, sour milk and a ‘sausage’ which is allegedly made from ‘meat’. They’ll charge you several quid for this privilege.
So now I’ve taken a slight step up in my life, and occasionally get to stay in one, rather than cleaning it. I have been able to stay in very wide range of accommodation over the past few years, from beautiful spa hotels to hostels, but I have a weird place in my heart for the Travelodge. It’s like a trashy tv show you love to hate, you know you’ll despise yourself the whole time, and question your life choices, but there’s something weirdly comforting about that pile of crap and stray pube.