International hotel chain Holiday Inn is offering a trial human bed-warming service at three hotels in Britain this month. The “innovative” service is being provided as a response to the UK’s recent prolonged spell of cold weather.
If requested, a willing member of staff at two of the chain’s London hotels and one in Manchester will dress in an all-in-one fleece sleeper suit before slipping between the sheets, to act as a giant hot water bottle.
The bed-warmer is equipped with a thermometer to measure the bed’s required temperature of 20 degrees Celsius (68 Fahrenheit). The human hot water bottle would be fully dressed and leave the bed before the guest occupied it. Holiday Inn could not confirm if the bed warmer would shower first, but his or her hair would be covered apparently.
What? Who in their right mind would use this service? What’s wrong with a good old-fashioned ordinary hot water bottle? Or an electric blanket? And is there no central heating in these Holiday Inns?
Perhaps this service is aimed at midlife people like myself who really feel the cold; folk with poor circulation and chilblains. Maybe it’s designed for business men and women who come in very late from meetings to find that the hotel’s heating thermostat has clicked to “off”. Perhaps I can just about stretch to thinking that a bed warming service could be helpful to thaw out late night ice swimmers. But then surely someone participating in such an activity would head straight for a hot shower. Wouldn’t they?
I’m thinking that timing would have to be crucial too. And things don’t necessarily run to schedule when one is away from home, do they? Even the best laid plans can be blown asunder if one can’t find a taxi, or a train is delayed. A warm bed booked for 10.30pm would be stone cold by 11pm. And what if the human hot water bottle inadvertently falls asleep, as one is apt to do in bed? Imagine returning to a darkened hotel room to find a fleece-wrapped stranger wearing a clinical hairnet getting some much needed shut-eye. God, the mind boggles. What would you do? Wake the warmer up with a good shake and shoo him or her out the door? Or stomp about a bit and put the telly on?
The thought of a random stranger snuggling down in my clean, fresh cotton bed sheets minutes before I climb into them quite frankly makes my skin crawl. It’s bad enough staying in a hotel and not knowing who has used the bed the night before, but to think of a hot body thrashing about on MY sheets is just too much. And think of the creases this body would leave behind. Pristine ruined.
No. This midlife crackpot feels that Holiday Inn bosses are after herding in weirdos and perverts to boost customer throughput. And I can imagine that there’ll be no shortage of takers for this crazy, not to be missed, red hot offer.