A night to re­mem­ber

FOL­LOW THE READER

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel & Indulgence - KATH WHIT­TLE

GIL­BER­TON, SA AS we hur­tle to­wards our 80s, we look more and more for five-star com­fort. Un­til a few years ago, we pre­ferred B&Bs or cheap ho­tels be­cause we met more peo­ple. Of course, there were risks. We were not im­pressed with ticks un­der the toi­let seat in Su­ma­tra, some­one try­ing to break into our room in Aus­tria or, again in In­done­sia, the ad­ver­tised en­suite turn­ing out to be a trough and la­dle. But we did have one night of hi­lar­i­ously mem­o­rable lux­ury. Our ho­tel in San­ti­ago was full the day we ar­rived, so the pro­pri­etor booked us in for the next night and di­rected us else­where in the mean­time. The sec­ond ho­tel was in mag­nif­i­cent Span­ish colo­nial style, with no sig­nage but an elab­o­rately carved front door. We en­tered the small lobby, all pol­ished tim­ber and gleam­ing brass, and asked the el­derly senora at the counter for a room for one night.

‘‘All night?’’ she queried. I con­firmed just one night, ac­cepted the huge key and we pro­ceeded up the pol­ished stair­case to our room, where a blood-red satin cover made the king bed look even larger.

Cur­tains of the same colour were draped ei­ther side of french doors. Long gilt-framed mir­rors adorned ev­ery red wall. There was a mir­ror on the ceil­ing, which we thought odd. The red shades of the wall lights cast a rosy glow; the bath­room was black mar­ble.

Later, we heard high heels click-clack­ing up the stairs; they de­scended about a half-hour later. Af­ter sev­eral re­peats of this pat­tern, the peso dropped. And as much as I now en­joy the lux­ury of five-star ho­tels, none can of­fer the at­mos­phere of a Chilean bordello. Send your 400-word con­tri­bu­tion to our Fol­low the Reader col­umn: travel@ theaus­tralian. com.au. Pub­lished colum­nists re­ceive a 200ml So­dashi Mint Soother Foot Treat­ment lo­tion ($63.60) to cool aching feet and legs; the lo­tion is per­fect for a deeply mois­tur­is­ing overnight treat­ment. More: so­dashi.com.

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