We stayed at the Renaissance St. Pancras last year. It was a gorgeous hotel and very, very swanky. Swanky enough where a place like that normally wouldn’t be my first choice of where to stay (I don’t mind staying in fancy places, but there’s a level that just becomes too fancy for my comfort), but we paid with points and were able to use a Marriott Suite Upgrade certificate for the five nights, so there you go. Plus Joe knows that St. Pancras is my “sweet spot” for admiring architecture. And it was indeed a lovely building and hotel. But I wonder if I should have been a little more wary after we started talking to the front desk clerk when we checked in…
“Your room is not quite yet ready, sir and madame…” (Madame! He called me MADAME! I’ve been a “Miss” and a “Ma’am” before, but NEVER a “Madame.” Wow, this place IS swanky!)
Our room not yet being ready wasn’t the least bit surprising; after all, we had taken an overnight flight and it was only noon. We were hoping our room would be ready when we arrived so we could take a nap, but we knew going in that it only may or may not happen.
“…But you can stay in our Chambers Club until your suite available to you,” Front Desk Man, with the oh-so-slight accent that I couldn’t quite place, continued. “It’s a gorgeous room though – I think you are going to love it. It has very tall ceilings, windows that nearly go from floor to ceiling, and it’s a large room with lots of character. Best of all, although it admittedly doesn’t have much of a view, it’s on the quieter side of the building, facing the British Library, so you won’t hear all of the traffic all night long. As soon as it’s done, I’ll let you know.”
You know how sometimes you feel like someone’s trying to describe something to you like a used car dealer would when it’s the 31st and he hasn’t sold his quota of cars for the month? That’s the feeling I got. But I squelched that inner voice because I was sure he was just trying to be nice in a fancy shmancy, swanky way.
Besides, when the room became available 3 hours later, it was indeed lovely. And when we went to bed that night and slept for about 10 hours (because we had barely slept on the plane on the overnight flight the night before), the lack of traffic that Sunday night into Monday morning was deeply appreciated.
And then Monday night came.
We got back to the room around 12:30am and as we were putting on our PJs, we heard several minutes, on and off, of a BEEP BEEP BEEP sound usually associated with a truck backing up.
And then we heard this (you may want to turn your volume up):
And this one, which was so deep that it vibrated the room (you can even see the video vibrating a little) and it felt like our chests were vibrating when we got into bed:
AND even though the windows were shut, there was the unmistakable smell of fresh tar.
All this went on until at least 2 o’clock in the morning. It might’ve gone on longer than that, but that’s about when both of us finally fell asleep.
But it was a beautiful room, with tall ceilings and character and big windows and….
Usually I’m pretty easygoing and let things go, but this messed with my sleep and I was NOT HAPPY. I pulled my “Sharon rhymes with Karen” card and told Joe he needed to talk to the front desk and try to get back some of the points that room cost. But he suggested we wait to see if it continued or was just a one-night thing.
Sigh. OK, fine.
The noise continued the next night but it wasn’t nearly as loud and it ended before 10pm. And from each night onward after that, there was no noise at all. So we never did say anything because we’re not the type of people to complain about every little thing.
But now I really wonder if the front desk dude was simply doing his job and being super nice as one would typically be at a very swanky hotel, or if he knew what was coming after the weekend was over.
I guess we’ll never know.
Still was a beautiful hotel, though!
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary