There I stood, in the middle of a luxurious five star hotel, with a coffee stain on my shirt, half-polished finger nails and a no-name backpack ripped beyond repair; to my left perfectly manicured fingertips chatted away during a high tea and to my right an oddly shaped, highly-expensive sculpture filled a corner.
Clearly, I did not belong, but somehow I ended up in the capital of fancy.
The hotel manager – dressed in designer labels from head to toe – marched over to my side; her salon-approved curls bounced up and down and the sun beamed off the jewellery wrapped around her wrists.
“Welcome” she said and gave my hand a dainty shook, “Where is your car, a staff member will park it for you?”
“That one”, I mumbled as I pointed to a teeny tiny car parked between beefy SUVs and shiny sedans, “The small one”.
Clearly, I did not belong, but somehow I ended up with a coffee stain on my shirt, half-polished finger nails and a no-name backpack ripped beyond repair at a five star hotel where the staff scurried around the clock to fluff pillows and sweep away particles of nothing while fancy bits filled the air with aromatic flavours of exquisite.
A staff member guided me to a room three times the size of my own bedroom.
"Here is some complimentary coffee, and here you have snacks and drinks in the fridge. You can settle your bill on check-out.”
*Mental note: Things to drink, coffee. Things to avoid, the rest.
She showed me the rest of the room, the colossal bathroom and gave me a quick lesson on the nine (not so) cleverly unlabeled light switches.
I’m not a five-star person.
I’m a plain Jane who doesn’t know the difference between Egyptian cotton and cheap sheets. I’m a plain Jane who shudders at the thought of formal wear, who would put on sneakers or flip flops to any and every occasion; my socks occasionally match, the napkin on my lap always plummets to the floor and the multitude of knives and forks confuse my appetite away. I’m not a five-star person, but somehow I ended up in the middle of a luxurious five star hotel by accident with the echoing voice of my mother, “start with the cutlery on the outside and work your way in”.
Pfft. I knew that. Sort of.
For the duration of my five-star stay I tried to be on my best behaviour – a difficult yet possible task.
I pretended that I was quite used to having my bath drawn for me with scented salts by strangers. I alternated between two pairs of shoes. I talked about politics over a glass of wine. I rubbed shoulders with someone who pretended he was famous (it took me 6 days of intensive Googling to find this person). I messed up just one white towel with my freshly coloured-out-of-a-box red hair. And I only spilled soup on my clothes the first two nights.
*Mental Note: Give people bibs to wear while dining, not napkins on their hidden-under-the-table laps.
As I opened the unpleasant and unexpected surprise of a bill open upon check-out I suddenly remembered that I forget something in the bathroom.
My favourite pink, golden oldie.
I hurried back to the room to check if it was still there and suddenly remembered why I am not a five-star person. My eye caught the trolley of a housekeeper, and there, in a trash next to a coffee sachet, I saw something pink. My underwear; my favourite, golden oldie, with a very noticeable rip.
*Mental note: Buy new underwear.
* Anje Rautenbach is the writer behind the blog Going Somewhere Slowly, find her Facebook,Twitter or on Instagram!
What to read next on Traveller24:
- A hotel booking site is spying on me...
- What happened to travellers' inside voices!?
- Weddings or wanderlust?