I am fortunate to find myself staying in a pleasant enough hotel in Newcastle upon Tyne. It is called the ‘Malmaison’ which is a little pretentious for my liking (for an unpretentious city where people wear T-shirts, white socks and mini-skirts in the depths of winter) but a colleague is also staying here and it does provide a clean bed and a shower which meets all of my simplistic requirements.

My confirmation email seems to confirm my suspicions with the following gems:

May we commend you on your choice of hotel. We’re sure you’ll find Mal life like no other. Superior service. Choice cuisine. Dazzling drinks.

Fantastic introduction. They are praising me (the customer) for my superb choice in hotels. They are already promising fantastic cuisine (even though I may choose to eat elsewhere) and ‘dazzling’ drinks (even though I will undoubtedly choose to drink elsewhere). In any case, I wasn’t aware that Newcastle Brown Ale could be described in that way due to legal constraints of the Trade Descriptions Act.

Perfect pampering. Memorable meetings. And of course sleep, with plenty of zeds.

As for ‘memorable meetings’, I have attended lots and lots of business meetings. In fact, I am not sure that I can actually remember a single one.

Well, there we are. That should be all the bases covered.

Promising use of management consultant speak.

Please note that after 14th Feb, plastic is only fantastic with a PIN!!!

Excellent use of triple exclamation mark.

However, even my rusty ‘O’ level French is still good enough to tell me that the literal translation of ‘Malmaison’ is actually ‘Bad House’ which seems an odd choice of name for a supposedly quality hotel.