A weekly ode to the joys of moaning about your holiday, by Tim Roxborogh.
Ah yes, the notorious hotel mini-bar. All those hilariously overpriced little bottles, chocolate bars, bags of nuts and chippies that you never, ever need and almost always have the strength to resist. Almost always. In all honesty, I'm too much of a cheapskate to ever really run the risk of an outlandish mini-bar bill, but the times I've succumbed have all had one thing in common: I haven't been able to find the price list.
Twice in the past year I've been in hotels where the mini-bar price list was nowhere to be seen. Not buried in the fridge, not lying on the desk, not propped up between the Pringles; not a price list in sight. Feeling the surge of rebellion, recklessness and laziness that constitutes a decision to raid the mini-bar just so you don't have to leave the room, my mind was made up. I was going to have something from the mini-bar and the consequences be damned. Besides, I'd tricked myself into thinking, "how expensive can those peanuts really be?" Without a price list to jolt me back to reality, a bag of peanuts and a tiny bottle of vodka to take the edge off my highly stressful existence as a travel writer/radio host started to seem like a sensible use of my money.
Then check-out time arrived. "Anything from the mini-bar, sir?" That $3 supermarket bag of peanuts was $9, and the beverage the same size as those freebies on planes was $15.
$24 in total! Was that edge I'd needed taking off really worth $24 for 15 minutes of munching and sipping? That's $1.60 per minute of edge removal, and all because the hotel had hidden one of their mini-bar price lists. Instantly my edge returned.
Queensland's wrong timezone
"Breakfast? It's 8.31." I might as well have walked into the dining area of this large, un-flashy rural Queensland motel and asked for a nine-course degustation with paired wines, such was the indignation of the staff member. Indignation coupled with humour because as we all know, there's nothing funnier than a tourist asking where breakfast is served at half-past 8 in the morning. Or in my case, "8.31".
I knew Queenslanders were prone to rising early, a consequence of a great climate and the oddity that the state is patently in the wrong time zone. C'mon guys, wouldn't you rather have sunshine at the end of the day than it creeping through the curtains at 5am?
Evidently not. Experience also tells me broaching this subject and the state's refusal to embrace daylight saving is not an overly successful way to befriend the locals.
So yes, Queenslanders get out of bed at the crack of dawn, have their breakfast and get on with their day, even if they're not working. That said, I was still surprised to be scoffed at when I came bleary-eyed into the buffet restaurant and found that all the food had been cleared away.
Tim Roxborogh hosts Newstalk ZB's The Two, Coast Soul on Coast and writes the RoxboroghReport.com