rooms with views
8th October 2016If you’re working away from home, the little things make a difference. The softness of the bed. The speed of the wifi, the squeaks from the lift-shaft, the screams from the couple in the next room.
Over the years, hotel rooms can blend into one forgettable experience. East, West, Hame’s Best. The terrible ones are memorable, but not in a good way. Really gorgeous ones are those you are given for just a few hours. The minibar is free and the towels luxurious, but somehow you can’t assimilate the experience, feel the jet-setness of it.
Lie on the King Size bed and roll about. Run a hot hot bath. Have a needle shower or two. Marvel at the way the dimmers work automatically, the marble tiling, the Japanese toilet that does things even a doctor won’t consider. The luxury experience is essentially vacuous. Without a loved-one to share it, an hotel room is really just a place to not be working in.
The view is another matter. It can be a comfort or a distraction. The really top-notch, five-star frame stacker offers you an eyeful of something you’d write home about. The ghastly hovel just underlines what you guessed at the reception desk.
For the last twenty years, I’ve snapped the view. I've had lift-shafts, dumpsters, the Serengeti. I travel with a red lipstick and these days, a smartphone. I write the name of the hotel over the view. I like a blind, a bit of architrave, a nice net.
Occasionally a room becomes my office. I move in on the recce, set up the desk, gaze out of the window, and get to work. The transient experience is gone. I’m in residence. For several weeks last Summer, my desk overlooked the bus stop in the village of Sawrey, in the Lake District. This June I spent eight days typing while looking straight at an exec in a corner office across Lexington Avenue at 45th Street. For the next five weeks I’m sharing a white-washed villa on the island-nation of Anguilla with a Production Manager and a container load of cameras, batteries, tripods and drives. The view is of the island of St.Martin, or Sint Maarten if you’re Dutch, a few nautical miles away across straits of Caribbean blue.
In the morning the rain comes from the east and reminds you the washing’s still on the verandah. In the evening, the darkness falls like a stumbling drunkard from the west. This being late summer, it’s from the South that my colleague and I might get our first view of an approaching Hurricane, an event that will make us wish we were looking at Dean Street.