I’ve just got back from Hong Kong where I spent a couple of nights at the new W Hotel on Kowloon. What a hotel! Loved it. I’ll tell you all about it next issue but I thought I’d relate one lasting impression: detail. I know attention to detail in design costs good money but, wow, at this hotel it was just so rewarding. I spent a hour nosing around my room: everything seemed to have a twist or a surprise. The taps, the shower, the lighting controller, the welcome note, the cupboards… it took me 20 minutes to figure out how to reveal the telly! But I loved it, I felt like Charlie in the Chocolate Factory.
Contrast this with my previous night’s stay where I spent half an hour trying to repurpose a whole bunch of increasingly unlikely implements around my room so as to open a bottle of beer I’d purchased from the store downstairs. The bottle was too big and stubborn to succumb to the usual ‘bottom of the cigarette lighter’ routine. No problemo, I’ll bang the cap on the edge of the steel bin under the desk. No go. The aluminium window frame? Uh uh. Spoons, coathangers… by this stage I was getting increasingly desperate, and I was in real danger of doing some lasting damage to my hands, so I rang housekeeping — not sure why I didn’t do that in the first place, I guess it’s my ‘mustn’t grumble’ Anglo Saxon bloodstock. Unable to think of anything else, I waited, eyeing the beer balefully like a castaway might silently interrogate a can of baked beans. Then finally, mercifully, the maid popped by with a bottle opener.
End of story? Not quite. I had to sign for the bottle opener, and much in the same way that a petrol station uses a spare tyre or a socket set for a toilet block keyring, this rudimentary, army rations bottle opener had its own ‘keyring’… presumably to make me think twice about secreting it on my person, abandoning my luggage and running off into the streets of Honkers, whooping for joy — astounded at my good fortune — to catch the first flight home.