The staff were exquisite. We'd barely walked in the door, one of the receptionists heard our surname and immediately said "Happy Birthday", this was reiterated throughout our stay by many more lovely staff members. On arrival in our room we were greeted by this divine piece of deliciousness too...
This was a completely different world for me. I've stayed in nice hotels, but this was luxury par excellence. After a gorgeous dinner that bought me and my husband both many memories of our homeland (wiener schnitzel and shellfish being staples of our New Zealand diet) I was given another surprise...
None of this had been arranged by my husband, he'd mentioned it was my birthday and this is obviously what they do for those who choose to celebrate their special occasions with them. Every staff member we encountered was professional, courteous, gracious and kind. What I expected to be a once in a lifetime experience already has us thinking about our next stay. These touches that cost a company so little, but mean so much really do make all the difference. (We had similar at a local 4* hotel I took my husband to for his 40th).
On top of all this my beloved then took me to see Phantom of the Opera. He'd wanted to take me there the night he'd proposed but couldn't get decent seats so we went to We Will Rock You instead, a fantastic substitute.
Although we saw Phantom a couple of years ago on tour, nothing can compare to the atmostphere and magic of seeing it at Her Majesty's theatre, and John Owen-Jones was heartbreaking as the Phantom.
Unfortunately, my DH awoke feeling very unwell, and while I dug into a hearty breakfast he had to return to the room leaving his salmon bagel and scrambled eggs untouched. After an emergency dash to Tescos for painkillers. I let him sleep a while longer, making us leave the room later than intended. Once downstairs we chatted happily to the hostess that had shown us to our breakfast table. It is because of these delays I ended seeing my literary hero, JK Rowling. The woman that inspired me to actually put my fingers on a keyboard an begin to write. As I almost hyperventilated my other half wondered what was going on. When I told him, he smiled and sent me off to get the kids a gift (we'd intended on that already), whilst he settled the bill. As she was with children I didn't want to be rude or indiscreet, but I had to say something. I'm not even sure what I said, it's a blur, but it was along the lines of "Thank you, for writing your books." She was gracious and lovely, and as I was leaving the shop, I also told her I was loving the new Robert Galbraith. To which she again thanked me.
What I really wanted to tell her was "You're amazing, you inspired me to write, I have "I solemnly swear I am up to no good" as a decal on my car, I already have tickets to The Cursed Child, I admire your charity work and your courageous efforts to make this world a better place. And why can't Robin see that Strike thinks she's brilliant, but wants her to be safe, and that Matthew is a pillock? Plus can I have a picture with you and an autograph please?
But none of this would have been okay. People don't want to be harrassed when they're out with their kids, and kids don't want to hear crazed fans rant at their adults. Which is also why I haven't named my wonderful hotel, though I'm sure it would be easy enough to figure out for anyone who cares.
It's not often you get to speak to someone you admire so deeply. It's mind bending that one weekend could be so filled with dreams made into reality, yet that is exactly what happened. So to conclude my long-winded post I just want to say thank you to all the people that made my birthday exceedingly special, whether you knew it or not, and most especially my husband for choosing me. I may not always act like it, but I know everyday how lucky I am to have you. XXX