After a day of dangling by the ankles and buying commemorative T-shirts visitors to New Zealand need somewhere welcoming to rest and recuperate. The search for the perfect motel can be more challenging and nerve-wracking than bungee-jumping . On behalf of all those of you who will hit the road this summer in search of motel Shangri-La, I've forwarded the following guidelines to every motelier in N.Z.
1. Building a motel to look like a Swiss chalet or a Tudor manor (especially if it’s beside the beach and in N.Z.) just doesn't make sense. Neither does naming it El Dorado or Lorna Doone.
2. Concrete block might be cheap and stain resistant but it’s ugly. Painting it peach or operating-theatre green doesn’t make it beautiful. Not even a framed photo of a kitten in a basket prettifies it. Better to aim for industrial chic and leave it unadorned.
3. Please emerge from your lair when guests ring the reception bell. A motel seemingly devoid of human habitation is unnerving.
5. Less is more when it comes to air freshener. The omnipresent reek of it doesn’t make guests believe your motel is spotlessly clean. It makes them suspect a body under the floorboards or a backed-up septic tank.
6. Size does matter. If the sliver of soap you supply is so tiny it slips from the grasp and won’t lather, please upsize it.
7. Guests need to be convinced that you really will plant 5 trees in the Amazon if they forgo a fresh towel each day. Also please note that printing “eco-fresh” on the foil shampoo packet doesn’t make it biodegradable.
8. Guests are more likely to support your Amazon afforestation programme if the bathroom has rails upon which they can drape their damp, pre-loved towels.
9. Finally, most people understand that you’re in a precarious and costly business. That’s why - if you’re halfway nice to them - they’ll forgive your concrete-block Tudor chalet with the mock-marble Formica, the chenille bedspreads, the lurid carpet and the bad art. A bit of warmth and enthusiasm from you is all it takes. Then your guests will rave about this fabulously kitsch motel they discovered last summer and its charming host.
Hell. They might even stay again on their next road trip…