Travel: The Splitting Bed

2022, Feb 20    

Visit enough hotels and you start to realise how different and quirky they really are, even those within the same chain. The more you visit the more you spot the things that aren't quite right, though occasionally you do still manage to miss the obvious (typically to your own detriment). This is a cautionary tale for those who believe all beds are made equal...

It was one of my many trips to the Netherlands where this story begins, with a non-central customer requiring my services for a few days. Technically it was more of a show-and-tell, with me presenting a solution to them and going over the technical benefits (and why they should go with the proposed solution). I'd travelled to the Netherlands many times and have always enjoyed my time there, so this trip wasn't considered to be anything different at the time.

My choices of hotel were somewhat limited given the customer location, with none of the usual brands/chains available and only a few independents to choose from. A few checks on Tripadvisor and the best of the selection was chosen and booked ready to go. The hotel pictures looked nice, and in fairness to the hotel it was very nice and very clean. So far so good, and the customary food and beverage after check-in also went well. Smooth sailing you might say.

It's no surprise to most to book a hotel room where there are twin beds, or some combination of multiple beds within the room. What I've always found uncommon is to have two single beds pushed together to make a larger bed. It's rare, but not something new to me. The principal is simple; push two single beds together, change the sheets to the larger variety so it appears as one bed, and find a suitable duvet that covers both (though in some cases you do get two single duvets which I still find strange to this day). This approach works well and allows a hotel room to be flexible depending on the situation/occupants, all good so far.

The unusualness in this instance was two-fold... First, it was the first hotel I had visited where the floor wasn't carpeted, but was instead tiled throughout. No big concern here as I suspect it makes it easier to clean (especially if people spill things), albeit its colder to walk on without underfloor heating. Second, the two single beds don't have the wider sheets and duvet, they are simply two single beds pushed together. A little odd, but still usable for me.

It was the above assumption that caught me out however, as with the beds being pushed together I had not considered that they might not be fixed in place or have a latch to fix both together (which is quite common). With no sheet to join them both together, and with the beds being on wheels for easy separation, you can see where this is going...

Being a light sleeper I am known to move around somewhat, including rolling over periodically during the night. Unfortunately for me my final roll of the night was into the middle of the beds whereby they promptly split in two, resulting in my fight with gravity and the tiled floor (from a relatively high position). While a wooden floor covered in carpet would have had some flex upon impact, this floor had zero. I managed to land on my right side, including my head determining that the floor tiles were in fact fixed to the concrete floor and had no consideration for my fall.

Attempting to get back to sleep after this was a futile effort, with my entire right side in pain and my head feeling reminiscent of a childhood accident involving a tree and a large amount of momentum (another battle I lost). A few hours after (as the sun was rising) my attempt to eat breakfast was hindered by my inability to move my right arm in any usable way, and my vision being patchy at best.

Two hours later I was stood in front of my intended audience attempting to present for the duration of the day, complete with a bruised face and considerably bruised right arm that flipped between pretending it wasn't there to a mix of pins and needles and shooting pain. Typing with only one hand isn't fun, nor is learning to use a mouse with your non-dominant hand. Kudos to the customer however, as they saw the amusing side to it all at least. The presentation went well despite this, though my bruises took more than my stay to disappear.

Travel tip: When you are sleeping on two single beds pushed together, make sure they are actually fixed together...