Waltzing in Vienna: The duvet dilemma
Communication is so important and yet it is impossible to be able to speak the language of every country one visits. Here is my story about my duvet dilemma - and how the inability of me and the housekeeping staff to communicate in either German or English caused some funny moments and nearly cleared out the Hilton linen supplies. Well- not quite.
Here's the thing. It is common practice for hotels or cruise ships to make up beds with a fitted sheet and a duvet. I love the duvets when I get into bed and feel cosy and warm. BUT inevitably during the night, I wake up uncomfortably warm and like to throw off the duvet, and fall asleep again with just a sheet as cover. Usually when I travel, if I discover that my bed has only a duvet, I ask housekeeping for a top sheet under the duvet, and get it with no problem.
Arriving in Vienna late at night after a long plane ride, I had no problem falling asleep in the very comfortable bed but woke up several times feeling uncomfortably warm. So the next morning as I left my room, I found the floor housekeeping staff and tried to explain what I needed. No dice - after lots of smiling and anxious looks of total incomprehension, we got an English speaking member of the housekeeping staff who seemingly understood what I was asking, and said it would be no problem to get an extra sheet on the bed.
I arrived back from my day of exploring the city and checked the bed. There was no extra sheet on the bed but one was left in the space in the chest of drawers. I hauled off the duvet and remade the bed with the additional sheet. Problem solved. I thought.
Next day I returned to my room after another day out exploring. The extra sheet on the bed was gone. This time I went down to the front desk and explained to the puzzled check-in person what I needed. Housekeeping sent up the night housekeeper who was from the Philippines and spoke great English. She went and got another sheet and together we made up the bed. She also said she would make sure that the housekeeping staff understood that I would like the extra sheet on the bed every day, and she left a clean sheet in the space in the chest of drawers, in case something went wrong with communications and I needed one the next day.
The next day was the start of the Waltz Week classes and I was out most of the day. When I returned, my bed had been correctly made up with both fitted and top sheet - and there was another folded clean sheet added to the one already on the chest of drawers. So now there were two.
For the next few days, my bed was made up correctly with the extra top sheet ... And another clean folded sheet was added to the collection in the chest of drawers. I just laughed. I have no idea what they thought I was going to do with these extra folded sheets, but I did not dare risk asking in case we had to start the whole explanation over again. By the end of the week I had had 5 great nights of sleep, snuggling into a cosy bed and then able to throw off the duvet when I got too hot. And a pile of clean folded sheets in the drawer space.
But Saturday dawned - weekend staff? No communication? Bed was made up in the usual hotel way - no top sheet. Boy was I grateful for my spare sheet collection. For the rest of my stay I remade the bed each evening, taking a sheet off the pile that had accumulated. When I checked out there were still two sheets left neatly folded in the space in the chest of drawers.