Security? What security?!

We've just got back from a nice 5 day break in London, seeing a few places never visited before, doing loads of walking and exploring and eating at places we don't get to eat at back home. We had originally booked to stay around the corner from Paddington Station, in Sussex Gardens, just off the Edgware Road, as we've stayed in that area several times before but this had to change when we saw the room…  We'd booked into the Castleton Hotel as the one we normally stay in, just a few doors up, was fully booked.  On arriving we found that the room we had been allocated wasn't big enough to swing a cat in, had one of those awful 'pod' rooms for a bathroom and the air-con was not functioning.  The window also only opened 3″ at max – for “safety” reasons, apparently. As it was about 26C in London that day we were less than impressed in seeing what we'd been allocated, especially as we'd already asked when booking for a room on the first floor with a better sized room.   We decided to cancel at the Castleton and try out the Hilton Metropole at the top of the road, where we have also stayed several times before.  Luckily the Hilton had a spare room so we started to pay by credit card…. “Do you have any photo ID?”, we were both asked. “Ummm no, driving license at home, no passport as we don't need one here” “We can't let you in if you don't have photo ID” “What? We have a Hilton Honours number as we've been here before so you know who we are – does that help?” “Sorry, hotel policy, you need photo ID – it's for security.” …and so it went on for a few moments as the ludicrous situation unfolded where even though we had been there before at least 4 or 5 times they wouldn't sell us a room. We wandered out of the hotel and wondered what to do next, when Helen suggested ringing them and trying to book online.  She went back into the hotel to get the phone number and was told “You don't need to use your own phone, you can use the red phone to the side of the check-in desks, it's direct to 'reservations'”. So, we called from their red phone, right next to the check in desk.  Used the same credit card we had offered them at check-in desk.  Were asked no other information and booked a room.  We then stepped a few paces to the left, gave them the reference number and checked-in – no request for photo-ID.  How ridiculous!?! We could have picked up a credit card that was lost, phoned up, given that name, booked a room and that was that.  However, if you walk into the hotel and try and book a room you need photo ID. So they stay cost us double what it would have done at the Castleton but at least you get a quality stay at the Hilton and all was resolved in the end. As for their “hotel policy” and “security”, what ridiculous security is that then?!

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