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Opening Arguments

You can leave, but never check out

I love staying in hotels. Somebody cleans your room and makes the bed, the toilet paper never runs out and the towels are always clean, you can come at go at will. And then there is room-service breakfast, probably my favorite decadent pleasure of all time. To this day, I vividly remember a newspaper conference in Miami about 20 years ago. Three mornings in a row I was drinking orange juice and coffee and eating toast and bacon while sitting on the balcony and alternately reading the paper and gazing at the ocean view. Man, I thought, if I could choose how to live, this would be it. If I could afford it, this would probably be me:

For most of us who visit a Travelodge, it is a fleeting pleasure. Park the car, go to bed and get away as early as possible in the morning.

But for David and Jean Davidson, it is home.

They arrived in 1985, and enjoyed it so much that they never left.

There is always something going on outside our window," said Mr Davidson, 79, a former Royal Navy sailor and war veteran, in the couple's room beside the A1.

"Our room looks out to the car park and a busy slip road where lorries pass by throughout the night.

"We have everything we need here - and the staff are like family now. We only have to walk across the car park for meals.

"There is just no reason why we'd want to go home."

The couple's love affair with the Travelodge began 22 years ago when they stopped in Newark, Nottinghamshire, during a visit to see a sick aunt.

When she died four months later they packed their bags, locked up their one-bedroom flat in Sheffield and moved into the roadside hotel.

In 1997, they decided it was time for a change.

But instead of going house-hunting they simply checked into a newly-built Travelodge 15 minutes away in Grantham, Lincolnshire, where they remain to this day.

I'd probably go for nothing less than a Marriott or a Hilton, perhaps a Holiday Inn -- cetainly not a Travelodge. But I know what they see in the experience.

Posted in: All about me