There are hotels – and there are hotels

Last night I finished the Reading workshop and drove up to Birmingham.
My usual hotel was fully-booked and so I spent the night at the Ramada in Solihull – a finalist for “worst hotel of the year so far”. At an investment of 110 pounds I was able to check into my poorly decorated and minute room, in which three of the four lights were faulty.
You know when you “know” it’s going to be a bad night?
I “knew” at reception, when the duty manager and receptionist managed to avoid making eye contact and ignore me for a good 2/3 minutes whilst they read through some paperwork – the fact that the receptionist had food stains down the front of her jacket didn’t help.
The hotel doubled as a pub in which a large group of overweight, foul-mouthed Brummies watched England play Poland in World Cup soccer and entertained themselves in the quiet moments with jokes about flatulence and gay drinking preferences.
Leaving my half-finished pint of Fosters, I wandered back to my room, asking reception to deliver an iron so I could press some clothes.
That was at 8.45pm. My phone calls at 9.30pm, 10.00pm and 10.30 pm explained, calmly, that I had a 5.00am alarm call the next morning and would appreciate the delivery of the iron before i could sleep.
It arrived shortly after 10.30pm, after they had found the lost key to the cupboard.
Usually, I rise at 5.00am, make a cup of team and write emails in my room. Not this morning – I dressed and left the place at 5.30am and drove to the Renaissance, where our workshop will be today.
The staff at 5.45am greeted me with smiles – the overnight duty manager – Bob – asked me if I would like a drink and the cleaning ladies opened the kitchen and made me coffee and biscuits.
We chatted about the corporate party that was held here last night, leaving the place looking a disaster area – but it didn’t matter, because I was in the hands of “people who listen and people who care.”
Sometimes, the road warrior lifestyle is just horrible. Sometimes, you turn a corner and meet some really nice people.


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Chris Barrow

Chris Barrow has been active as a consultant, trainer and coach to the UK dental profession for over 20 years. As a writer, his blog enjoys a strong following and he is a regular contributor to the dental press. Naturally direct, assertive and determined, he has the ability to reach conclusions quickly, as well as the sharp reflexes and lightness of touch to innovate, change tack and push boundaries. In 2014 he appeared as a “castaway” in the first season of the popular reality TV show “The Island with Bear Grylls”. His main professional focus is as Coach Barrow, providing coaching and mentorship to independent dentistry.