I HHate the HHilton HHotel

Well...perhaps hate is a little strong, but they sure seem to be going out of the way to make my visit to San Francisco... interesting.

It started at check in on Monday night. I turned up at the hotel around 9:20pm local - 12:20am by my body clock. Looking up my reservation, the guy at the front desk got that slightly queasy, shifty look and then broke the news - they didn't have a room for me. Oh my reservation was there, alright - they were just all booked out and hadn't kept me a room.

ME: Er...but it says right here "your room is guaranteed for late arrival". I'm late. I'd like my guaranteed room.

HILTON GUY: Sorry, but I'm afraid there was no room preference stated on your reservation. We didn't know if you'd need a king bed, or...

ME: Well you could at least assume I'd prefer a room. There's my stated preference right there. I'd prefer my guaranteed late arrival room.

Sadly, there was no way the guy could just magic up a room out of nothing, but they did find me a corner to sleep in. They parked me in something called a "parlour suite" - basically a big meeting room with a sofa bed.

A bad sofa bed. One with all the springs across the small of your back mounted sideways - just to keep you writhing in cursing discomfort all night.

Yesterday, they promised to get me into a proper room. The helpful and awfully apologetic lady on the front desk cut me a key for a new room - a real one.

As I was running off to a meeting, she said I could transfer my stuff any time I was ready. She even offered to have someone move my stuff for me. Nice, but I thought that would be a bit daft - I only have the one bag.

Trotted off to my meeting, then out for something to eat with the team, getting back to the hotel about 11:30 last night.

I popped up to my "parlour suite" to grab my stuff. Problem: the key wouldn't work. I tried a number of times, with rapidly decreasing patience. Nothing. Not only did I not have a proper room, I was now locked out of my own non-room room.

Back down to the front desk. Nice lady even more apologetic. Cuts me a new key for the old room.

Back up to the 39th floor - in - packed my stuff - out.

Of course, the new room is on a floor served by a different elevator bank, so I schlepp my stuff all the way to the bottom, across, and back up again.

I slide the key into the lock of my new room and throw wide the door, to be greeted by some guy standing there in his socks with an entirely understandable startled look on his face.

"Excuse me?" he squeaks, as I retreat, mortified.

Back down to the front desk. Nice lady now almost implodes in a fit of apologies. I don't care. It's now about 12:15am local time - 3:15am according to my body. Just give me a damn room. Anything. I'll even take the stupid hide-a-bed again.

She says they'll upgrade me to an "executive" room - "it's the highest standard of room we have".

Back up to the 33rd floor with my stuff, and (thank God) this time the room is dark and empty. Tiny but empty.

So at last I have a room, a bed, and a semi-decent night's sleep.

If this is the "highest standard" of room they offer, though, I dread to think what kind of broom cupboard my colleagues must be in. You actually could swing a cat in here, but it would need to be an exceptionally patient cat. On valium. With a hockey helmet.

Whatever. It's a room. And no startled dude in his socks.