Un cauchemar

The students will be returning around now to Passfield Hall student hostel in Bloomsbury, London WC1, where I spent a nightmare (un cauchemar) night last week. I can only hope they will be aiming for degrees in finding their way around, as the following letter to the manager may explain:
Dear Manager, I would have enjoyed my stay with you (date) a lot more if I hadn’t been unable to go out, and had been able to get back into my room when I returned at 11.30pm.

It would be helpful if you would put more notices and labels around your buildings. Too late I realized both your annexes are identical in layout, and almost identical in numbering. I was becoming desperate when my (T305) key would not open door T303. When the (no doubt) startled occupant called out that I had the wrong room, it was then that I literally thought I had gone mad (wine, yer honour? Only two teeny-weeny glasses). The layout of this annexe is identical to the layout of the annexe I was booked into. A very kind man on reception helped me renegotiate the maze of stairs and corridors finally to find my own room. I have to admit I was sobbing by this time.

Earlier I had felt trapped in a seemingly deserted building as I tried the exit door to go out for the evening. From dark basement back four floors to my room (luckily the ‘phone was working) and reception told me I should ‘push the green button’. This turned out to be a dark button on a dark background about three feet away from the door. It would be very helpful to have a large notice beside this, for the dazed and confused such as myself.

On the positive side, the building was clean and picturesque, the staff exceptionally pleasant and helpful, and the breakfast perfect.

Yours sincerely, EMS

Writing this letter has relieved my feelings but, more importantly, I hope it just may help future visitors. Tip: the John Adams Hall round the corner (jah@ioe.ac.uk 15-23 Endsleigh Street, WC1 0DP 020 7911 5300) was a much easier place to stay at five years ago.

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