NONE of a hotel room’s 40 unmarked light switches actually switch off the lights, forcing guests to play a tiresome game of trial-and-error.
Donna Sheridan, a saleswoman on a business trip, arrived at Rumwick Manor Hotel in Hertfordshire at 11:30pm after a nine-hour drive and strangely wanted the opportunity to sleep without the lights on.
Sheridan said: “This switch turns the bathroom lights off. This one turns off both bedside lamps but the bathroom lights back on. This one switches on some strip lights on the skirting boards.
“There’s even a toggle which makes all the lights slowly shift through a rainbow of colours. What would be handy is a switch that makes the room actually dark.”
Hotel manager Martin Bishop explained: “Our rooms have been designed to provide lighting to suit every mood. We can’t have guests messing up the ambience by switching things off.
“Like our complimentary pillow mint and dressing gown, we believe nothing says ‘luxury hotel’ more than a control panel on every wall like the Starship Enterprise, along with at least one switch hidden behind a chair which does absolutely nothing.”
Bishop dismissed environmental concerns, saying: “To reduce our carbon footprint, the lights turn off automatically when the room is empty. Just not when someone is trying to sleep in it.”
Sheridan eventually discovered the lights could be turned off by attempting to charge her mobile phone from the bedside power socket, leaving just a red LED on the ceiling fire alarm, which flashed every five seconds and was three times brighter than the sun.