Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Travelodge - make yourself at home

The Telegraph reports: [edited]

For most people, a cut-price weekend away in a Travelodge hotel or an overnight stay to break up a long journey is enough. But one couple found they enjoyed not having to cook, clean or do the washing up so much that they have lived in one of the roadside hotels for 22 years.

They experienced their first night in one of the roadside hotels in 1985, when they drove to visit an elderly aunt in Staffordshire. They enjoyed it so much that four months later, when that relative died, they decided to ring the changes. They turned their back on their flat in Sheffield in favour of a Travelodge on the A1 in Newark, Notts.

Ten years ago they transferred their allegiance 15 miles south to take up residence in a new Travelodge, which opened in Grantham, Lincs. Mr and Mrs Davidson have spent £97,600 on their hotel costs in 22 years, which could have bought them a two-bedroom terrace home or flat in the Lincolnshire area.

Sitting in the hotel's room one yesterday, Mr Davidson, 79, a retired banker who served in the Royal Navy during the Second World War, said: "This is our home. We have everything we need here - and the staff are like family now.

"We get great rates because we book well in advance and all our bed linen is laundered too. It doesn't get much better than that does it? We only have to walk across the car park for meals as there is a Little Chef here too."

They pay around £8,000 a year at Grantham, depending on room rates. Help the Aged say the cost of a residential care home for one person is between £21,000 and £25,000 a year. They still own the flat in Sheffield, which they bought for £25,000 in 1980. It has quadrupled in value.

Mrs Davidson, 70, said: "I really like living here as it's so convenient and our room is on the ground floor so there are no stairs or lifts to deal with. I don't have this kind of room in our flat in Sheffield. It's spacious and makes things easier for us. We don't get hit with huge heating bills over the winter and it's safer than a lot of places these days. For us it's a better and cheaper option than an old people's home and we're well looked after."

The couple visit their first floor flat fortnightly to check for mail and describe their Travelodge room, adorned with family photographs, as "home from home".

"Our room looks out to the car park and a busy slip road where lorries pass by throughout the night."

No comments: