The double doors to the lift on the restaurant floor rumbled towards each other. They were very slow, as was everything else that moved in The Envoy Hotel, which, as we’re on the subject, included the staff as well as anything mechanical or administrative. Maybe because it was a longstanding structure that had seen thousands of guests come and go over many years gave it an excuse. Maybe it had held its head high and its nose in the air for so long that it had forgotten to move with the times. Maybe now it was time to raze it and make way for a concrete and glass monstrosity of which there were many now towering all around it as it languished in Dale End. The City of Birmingham in the West Midlands of the United Kingdom had seen many changes since The Envoy had been built in nineteen hundred and one, but it appeared that the city had turned a blind eye to it ever since. Its exterior hadn’t changed a great deal over the years, but in nineteen fifty five it did undertake major renovations in the elevator department. The old cage design along with its attendant just had to go, and there were no two ways about it. Opinions had been divided of course as they so often are when money was involved, but even the staunchest stock holders realised they were beaten after the single old cage was replaced by a full time service lift and three modern self-operated designs that went up and down twice as fast as the old system. This super speed revolution soon fell behind with the pace of life again and half way through the sixties the structure was in dire need of modernisation again, but this time there were definitely two ways about it, and this time money had won. The main reason being that guests were becoming more mobile in the outside world, more independent, driving their own motor cars, so the installation of another level was decided upon to garage patrons vehicles, and the money for any lift improvement went in that direction. This underground level was excavated below the existing basement. The total footprint of The Envoy now contained a penthouse level, storage level, restaurant with dance area and bars, fourteen roomed floors, the lobby along with a coffee lounge on the ground, one basement and the new car park making a grand total of twenty levels all of which were serviced by an outdated and misfiring electronic elevator system that on most occasions hadn’t got a clue where the lifts were and where they were supposed to be heading. If you reached your floor in one easy stage you were lucky, and that fact alone usually made its way into breakfast conversation the next morning. And, whilst on the subject of food and amenities, if you required room service it was good practice to think ahead and order food an hour and a half before you were hungry, or put your shoes out for cleaning two days before you required them.
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