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Our campaign: London hotel rooms need fridges

It’s more than just a ‘nice to have’ for diabetics

It’s my own fault. I should have checked. But, somehow, it just didn’t occur to me that a top hotel in central London would not have fridge in every room.

When looking through the hotel’s details, I didn’t think to check. Had I given the matter a moment’s thought, I would have dismissed the notion immediately.

Four star hotel? Bound to have them, would have been my reaction. But, of course, I was wrong. And it mattered.

You see, I’m a diabetic – Type 2 – the kind that overweight people suffer from. I need a fridge to keep my insulin cool plus I have a cream that should also be kept out of the warm.

I went to the hotel reception to point out the error of my ways. I hoped they might transfer me a room that did have a fridge. No such luck.

I’m not a health professional, so I don’t know how important it is that insulin is kept cool. But my pharmacy takes it out of the fridge for me and my electricity supplier made the point of asking if I needed a working fridge for the storage of medicines.

Combined, those two things suggest to me that keeping insulin cool is more than a ‘nice to have’.

I won’t name the hotel. I blame myself for not checking. But I do feel that maybe its marketing material could make the lack of fridges clearer. Then diabetics could decide whether to stay there or not.

The hotel did offer to get its security people to take the insulin from me and store it in a cool place. But the thought of trotting down (from the sixth floor) to security to get the insulin back every time I needed it (twice a day), had little appeal.

The hotel in question is about 100 years old. To say more would narrow down the choices too much and maybe identify it. Its age means that in its original form it was created around the time fridges for home use were only just getting going. I doubt if many hotels included fridges in their plans back then.

But that was then and this is now.

I take no pleasure in pointing out that it is estimated that more than four million people in the UK suffer with diabetes. That includes a figure for those who have it, but don’t know it yet. That means 6% of the population is affected. Thankfully, that’s not a big percentage although we seem to manage to take a large chunk out of the NHS budget. Nothing to be proud of. However, four million sufferers? That’s not a figure to be ignored.

So, from today, London Inspire will start campaigning for all London hotels to make “no fridge” clear in their marketing. The cost of putting a fridge in many hundreds of rooms is not small change. The sums are easy – 800 rooms @ say £500 a fridge equals £400,000. We are not pushing for that. Just let us know if one isn’t going to be available.

Treat diabetics with consideration and we promise not to lose our cool!

I put these comments to the UK Hospitality organisation for a reaction. Its chief executive Kate Nicholls replied: “Customer experience is a priority for hotels. Businesses work hard to make sure that customers with a specific requirement are catered for. If customers have any specific concerns or requirements then they are very much encouraged to contact the hotel in advance.”

If any London Inspire reader has an opinion, please share it.

PS: My search for a fridge was not influenced by the desire to keep a cool beer in my room – despite the illustrations! But that might be a consideration for those more healthy than I.

I happened across this hotel bathroom picture while researching this article. Looks like a great idea … until you realise that to have a top-up you would need to get out of the cubicle – the fridge door opens on the wrong side

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David Buckley

Dave Buckley is a career journalist. “I once went painting girders for a week and discovered I didn’t like heights,” he says. “Apart from that it has always been journalism for me in one form or another.” Past publications worked for include the South-East London Mercury*, Kent Messenger, Daily Express, Today*, News of the World* and Hong Kong Star*. All those marked with an asterisk no longer exist (trend emerging?). He owned and edited a Thailand-based property magazine before returning to England and currently works as a production editor for an East Midlands-based publishing group.

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