You swipe the magnetic strip of your door key flush to the lock, a grinding noise ensues followed by the sheer elation of green lights flashing. You pull the handle down and swing open the door to what is essentially the hotel room lottery. Yes booking a hotel room online can be like throwing your money on the roulette wheel, unless of course you have plenty of it and then you pretty much know what you’re getting. But for most of us, there is a grey area between 2.5 – 3.5 stars and what is a half star anyway?
As the door opens letting light shimmer into the room you are instantly greeted by a creation of art, so abstract it should surely be gracing the galleries of London and Paris – yes that’s right I’m talking about Towel Art. The careful constructing of towels to form shapes, typically of the animal variety, placed lovingly on your bed, welcoming you to the hotel.
I have to say I love it, but perhaps what I love more is the fact the hotelier has made a conscious business decision that guest’s first impression to the hotel room should be this fine creation – I for one am a convert. So it’s a little cheesy and doesn’t last long past the first shower but come on…it is a swan made from a towel! I wouldn’t even know where to start. The best I could do was a towel snake and that’s just a towel rolled up.
Towel art is like a sand castle – it’s comes from humble beginnings, rises up gathering shape until perfection is reached, then the tide comes in and washes the slate clean and just like that, it is a fleeting but brilliant memory.
I have seen some marvellous Towel Art in my time travelling, but also a few which should never have seen the light of day. Unfortunately this is one art form that needs to be perfected before being unleashed to the general public.
When working as an adventure tour guide in Egypt on a 3 night River Nile cruise, towel art reached epic proportions. New shapes engulfed the bed with accessories such as glasses, books and fruit. I relished each time I walked into my room, and pains of guilt raced through me as shower time approached. This came to a grinding halt when a complaint was made that the towels had been ‘interfered with’ and it was then outlawed. The world of towel art can also be fierce.
I have seen creations in galleries which I wouldn’t deem as art, one that springs to mind is a sheep inside a case of formaldehyde by Damien Hirst. This doesn’t make me think, feel or touch any part of me and that is what art is about. I can’t help but feel that towel art is the underdog of the art world and has been saved instead for underground travellers and cruise fanatics alike.
But there is a fine line of being art and scary – exhibit A below is a clear case of towel art gone mad. If I saw this is my room, I would fear for my life, I would sleep with one eye open and the double lock on. Clearly the work of an amateur!
I hope next time you walk into your room and see a swan peering back at you, you stop to admire the thought process and effort behind a memory which was designed to last only seconds. Stop to think of the cleaner lovingly building sand castles specifically for you before a wave washes it away. Perhaps you could leave them your own creation – I would steer away from the towel snake.
Happy travelling folks!