Wednesday, February 26, 2014


Behold the glorious, romantic beauty of Italy!

Well, that's the view out off my hotel balcony in Milan at any rate.

I've only been on holiday for a couple of days, but already I'm learning new things. For a start, Milanese hotels function on a different starring system to the rest of the world.

5 star – acceptable

4 star - wretched

3 star – a box under a freeway overpass

2 star – a box under a freeway overpass with a rabid badger in it.

1 star – being beaten to death by street youths

My hotel is a 4 star establishment. This means that it is dirty, poorly maintained and meanly furnished.

The interior design is what I’ve come to understand as the Italian way – in design, the only bad idea is an unexpressed idea. My room is mostly decorated in florid Victorian style, with fringed cushions, a regency-striped sofa, ornate brass lamps and framed neo-classical prints.

All except the ceiling, which looks like it came from Simon LeBon’s apartment in 1983. It’s a weird black laminate lattice with downlights, with green laminate soffits.

Both looks have their merit… just not at the same time, It’s like having the Eurythmics suddenly teleporting into one of Elizabeth Bennett’s garden parties.

I could forgive the idiosyncratic decorating if it had been well built and well maintained. But it wasn’t and it isn’t. There’s torn wallpaper, mildewed grout, a stained toilet, and a weird mould smell in one corner.

It’s also run along miserly lines There’s only one sad, flat pillow on my bed. There’s only one tiny bar of soap in the bathroom. There’s no toothpaste, or hand cream, or a one of those little complimentary sewing kits. There’s no minibar or room service, and the kitchenette is stocked with nothing other than two disposable plastic tumblers. There are free mints in a big bowl in the lobby, but they taste like despair.

Perhaps all of the beautiful people and celebrities stay with friends. Either that, or they’re so coked up they really don’t mind the badger.


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