Just spent an interesting 25 minutes standing on the pavement outside the Travelodge.
I’d come back from a wander round the town and the first thing I thought as I entered the hotel was, that smells like something burning.
However, given the hotel appeared to have a quite sophisticated fire alarm system, and it wasn’t going off, I didn’t really think much about it.
I hadn’t even taken my jacket off inside my room when I was deafened by the alarm suddenly going off (with an attractive red flashing light to accompany it).
Hmm, that probably was burning I smelt then.
Everyone wandered out of the hotel to the assembly point (a Travelodge employee holding an “Assembly point” sign gaffer taped to two long poles!) where the fire brigade had already arrived and were assessing the situation.
After 25 minutes we were allowed back in (most of the time waiting had been spent with the fire brigade using a big fan to try and clear the smell from reception)
Turned out that someone had been smoking in their room, out the window, and had managed to drop their cigarette (still lit) into the bins below and set them smouldering. Interestingly, the fire brigade thought it might have been going for some time before the alarm was raised, which would indicate that whoever dropped their cigarette wasn’t going to own up to it!
Perhaps they know what happens to people Travelodge catch smoking in their hotels. Still at least, unlike Newcastle, they weren’t trying to cook...
I should add, as a post script, that the staff at the Travelodge were exceptionally professional, perfectly calm, and as helpful as they could possibly be, despite the chaos happening around them.