The story goes that a couple of weeks ago, I was shocked to wake up in good quality London hotel room to discover that I was sharing the bed in room #457 with unpaying guests. And to discover more bed bugs crawling up and down the grooves in the headboard, and one squashed on the pillow. (They pretty much match the Wikipedia entry photo. The modern equivalent of proof by Readers Digest.)
After washing more thoroughly than normal, and checking through my luggage for signs of infestation (seemed limited to the area of just the one bed), I took two captured bugs down to reception as evidence in one of the bedroom glasses (with an ashtray on top in case they decided to escape)! Glad the other passengers in the lift didn’t ask what I was carrying.
Handing the glass across to the bemused receptionist, she quickly hid the evidence under the counter and agreed to store my luggage until that night when another room would be free. It's one of those inevitabilities about running a hotel that isn't widely or openly talked about. They moved me up to the posher sixth floor: an “upgrade” consisting of a daily bottle of free water and a Kit Kat, along with room to swing a marginally larger cat!
Checking out two days later, I was surprised to be presented with a bill for the full amount for the three night stay. Despite being recognised by reception as the customer who’d had that problem, they had no notion of cancelling the first night’s charge and wanted to take the full amount … eventually agreeing to knock £50 off the bill. (And subsequently promising several thousand membership points as a good will jesture.)
Being a inquisitive sort, and knowing fine well that I couldn’t avoid staying in the hotel again, I emailed the manager to ask what they had done to eliminate the unwelcome guests from room #457, and prevent their wider migration across the floor.
I would like to confirm that the first room you occupied is currently out of let and therefore not being used by any guests whilst our pest control company eradicates the problem . They are also monitoring the situation in the immediate vicinity, both below and either side of the bedroom. In addition to this my Executive Housekeeper and Chief Engineer are carrying out an inspection of all rooms in the hotel - although I realise that this is of little consequence to yourself at this stage.Oh, and if you've read this far, stop scratching! And before you ask, I'm being kind and not mentioning the hotel name or chain. Not until I've been back to see what the promised "when next making your reservation ... contact my PA ... will ensure that you are well looked after" amounts to. Two Kit Kats?!
But just in case, avoid any room numbered 457 in London. Say you're superstitious.