Sunday, September 20, 2009

hotels in kensington

As a recent patron of two hotels in Kensington, I am uniquely qualified to give you the low down on this particular subject. Kensington is a borough (pronounced "buh-ruh") of London, and quite popular among Americans because it sounds particularly British (that is, it contains both an 'ing', and a 'ton').

Hotels in Kensington are converted from older row houses, which were devoted entirely to the storage of clothing, being floor upon floor of closets. Luckily, the hotels have gone through and added bathrooms to these closets, so you don't need to share a bathroom with other patrons1. They've also placed nice beds in the closets which sit on the same set of springs you find in American summer camps. It's quite quaint.

Quaint is also the way you can describe the curtains that have been burned through with either cigarettes, or the intense-heat-emitting lantern placed directly over the bed, and directly in the curtain's path. Design is not a strength of the British.

Quaint, however, cannot be used to describe the showers, which are not unlike the tube, in that you have to squeeze yourself to unholy proportions in order to get in. Luckily, hotel number one had a glass door on the shower, and if I were physically able to touch my toes without violent assistance from maniacal gym teachers, I probably had enough room to bend over and touch my toes.

Not so luckily, hotel number two has nothing but a shower curtain. That is, there's a corner of the bathroom where they stuck a spigot, and put a shower curtain around it. Now, shower curtains aren't all that expensive, so you'd think they would have given you a decently-sized space. Not so fast. If you weigh more than 30 pounds, you've got enough room to stick your arms straight up and twirl around2.

Of course, the best part of your shower experience is said curtain, which you wear as a cape throughout the duration of your shower3.

In keeping with the small proportions, they also provide you with a nice barbie-sized trash can, which fits a total of three starburst wrappers and a few muffin crumbs. All other trash exceeding this size limitation is placed on top, giving the impression of an upside-down pyramid, prone to spilling over the floor, causing the people in the next room to hear foul language coming through the cellophane-thin walls.

Outside of the rooms, all is wonderful and grand in Kensington Hotels. You may even be lucky enough to find a hotel that serves free breakfast, i.e., corn flakes and toast and coffee4. The other patrons appear to be very kind, though most of them seem to speak either Russian or Polish, which aren't particularly kind-sounding languages. Granted, English doesn't sound very kind either when yelled out of a nearby room at midnight, demanding some other unheard source become silent.

In summation, I'd highly recommend coming to Kensington and becoming a long-term resident of its hotels. You can iron your clothes on the bed, wash your bird-poo stained shirts in the nearby laundromat for four pounds a wash5, and even use the hair dryer to blow dry your socks you were too cheap to wash with the machine.

Bliss will be yours6.

1. Unlike the flat I was recently shown on Baker Street, where I almost laughed the agent to scorn. Do I look like a college freshman to you? I mean, seriously. You think I'm going to share a bathroom with a random tenant down the hall? Who are you people?
2. Not that I've done that. Ever. In a shower. Not while singing either.
3. This is not a comfortable sensation. Wet plastic should never find its unwelcome way to my rear again.
4. I'm going to punch myself in the face if I see another flake of corn. Ever. Starting Tuesday afternoon.
5. Then mistake a larger washer for a dryer when moving your clothes, and have a nice woman ask you politely, "do you plan on washing them twice?" Awkward.
6. And it will be mine when I move out of here Tuesday morning for St. John's Wood, bless that blessed day.


Bruce said...

This is the most hilarious thing I've read in a while—perhaps partially because I'm all too familiar with the experiences you're describing. :)

MommaMcCarthy said...

ha! i once asked for directions to "borough" to a ticket dude behind glass and he looked at me like i was insane. After repeating it at increasing volumes several times, I eventually showed it to him on my map and he smiled and said "ohhhhhh, you mean "bruh".

sometimes i think the British are worse than the French...