Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Spectacularly ugly hotels (hat-tip: Sara Grønmark)

The Dog Bark Park Inn, Idaho, is just one of  two dozen examples of the world's ugliest hotels featured on the Telegraph website today (here).

About ten years ago, the then BBC Director-General, Greg Dyke, decided to hold a meeting of all senior managers in Birmingham (could have been worse, I suppose - might have been Coventry). He'd just introduced a rule that all staff staying in domestic hotels while on BBC business shouldn't pay more than £55 a night. There had been a deluge of complaints about this, and Dyke was determined to set an example to the rest of the BBC.

Of course, the DG'splan was met with howls of outrage from executives who'd been used to tipping that amount and charging it on expenses. So we ended up, all 350 of us, in two equally dowdy, frill-less, tatty downtown dumps. I remember somebody in the lobby shouting out, "I refuse to stay here another moment!" The murderous expression on the face of one of the most powerful women in the BBC as she dragged a pile of designer luggage (the only porter was evidently busy elsewhere) into a smelly, pokey little lift with holes in the carpet will remain with me always (I was standing at the back - the way she looked at me, you'd have thought it was my fucking fault).

I found the whole episode hilarious - especially given the five-star salaries many of our top folk were pulling down. Let's face it, there's nothing quite as satisfying as witnessing the rage of wealthy egalitarians denied the special treatment to which they feel their impeccably anti-elitist views entitle them.

I honestly can't remember the names of the hotels. They weren't all that bad - but from the way some of my colleagues were telling it, you'd think we'd all been forced to spend a night in the Lubyanka. The places were the sort of non-descript, early-nothing, concrete semi-skycrapers that looked like they'd simply been too bored to grow any taller. Ugly, certainly - but not in the league of the monstrosities featured below:

Hilton, Manchester

Sofitel, Tokyo - mercifully, demolished in 2006

Hotel Spirit, Bratislava 
The Standard, New York (the standard what?)
Marina Bay Sands, Singapore-  surfboard? ironing-board? You decide 
Hotel Uzbekistan, Tashkent - Hmmm! Cosy!
Tianzi Hotel, Lanfang, China

Hard to believe, but some of the others featured on the Telegraph website are even worse.

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