Yesterday the Christmas decorations came down and I felt a little pang of sadness that it’s all over for another year. That was until I remembered it was Sunday evening and The Hotel was on.
The Channel 4 series is back, following the day-to-day activities of The Grosvenor (note the silent ‘s’ Mark) in Torquay, Devon. Last night the focus was on a wedding, a 50th wedding anniversary and a pair of secret inspectos. I don’t know which was more horrifying – watching the groom Ted get so plastered on whiskey that he didn’t even make it to the table for lunch, or the former AA hotel inspector ringing down for a Kit-Kat and a cuppa to be effectively told where he could stick his fingers.
“The trouble with upmarket guests is that they expect everything to be right”, owner Mark Jenkins whinged. It’s quite a counterpoint to the BBC’s behind-the-scenes documentary Inside Claridge’s, where we learnt how every whim of the hotel’s guests could and would be catered for, whether it was installing a Jacuzzi bath or redecorating rooms to accommodate fussy design demands.
Meanwhile, the hotel inspectors whizzed around The Grosvenor dishing out feedback forms with a sense of frenzied urgency that groom Ted would’ve done well to avoid. It’d be interesting to hear what guests really thought of the hotel, since most of them look like they’re having a pretty good time, not least Mr and Mrs Tickle who were toasting 50 years of marriage with Irish coffee glasses of warm cava in their room. Nevermind the flimsy pillows, vile carpets and tasteless food the inspectors took exception to – The Grosvenor seems to be ticking the boxes, if not for its three-star classification, then for some of its guests at least.