22 YEARS IN A TRAVELODGE
4th Sep 2007
For many people, a service station is where you stop to spend a penny or break up a long journey with a coffee or bite to eat. For David and Jean Davidson however, it's the place they've called home for 22 YEARS.
The sprightly couple spent their first night in a Travelodge in 1985 when they drove to visit an elderly aunt in Staffordshire who was in poor health.
They usually stayed for three or four nights a week at the Burton-Under-Needwood Travelodge, a pattern which continued until the aunt sadly died four months later.
However, Jean, 70, and David enjoyed their time at the hotel and the freedom it brought them so much that they stayed every weekend in a Travelodge next to the A1 in Newark in 1986. They chose Newark as it gave them easier access to their favourite antique fairs in Derby and Lincoln.
After a number of years visiting the busy A1 in Newark, the couple heard Grantham A1 Travelodge was being built at the Motorway Service Station near Gonerby Moor.
They were so impressed they moved lock, stock and barrel out of their one-bedroom flat in Sheffield and checked in on the day it opened in July 1997.
Today, 22 years since their very first Travelodge experience, the couple have made Room One at Grantham Travelodge their own and have no intention of leaving.
Yesterday, former WWII Royal Navy sailor David, 79, said: "This is our home. We have everything we need and the staff are like family now - we even get birthday and Christmas cards from them and we often give presents back in exchange.
"We get great rates because we book well in advance and we even have our own personal housekeeper. It doesn't get much better than that, does it? There's a Little Chef here so we only have to walk across the car park for meals, or we'll go to one of the other local eateries nearby."
David added: "We were one of the first couples ever to stay in a Travelodge in the UK when we booked into the newly-opened Burton-under-Needwood hotel in 1985.
"I was instantly impressed by the convenience of the hotel while I visited my aunt. Over the next few years, we moved permanently into the Newark Travelodge.
"We do have to be a bit choosy about what we keep in our room as it can fill up easily - but our must-have item is our framed personal photographs.
"The Travelodge room suits us so much better than our first floor flat in Sheffield which has no disabled access for Jean, it's important as she now suffers from a bone disease and is wheelchair-bound. Even when we go on holiday we like to stay in Travelodges. We've just returned from three weeks in Savannah and although the American Travelodges aren't owned by the same company, we still feel it is the only place to stay."
The couple are originally from Sheffield. They married in 1953 after meeting at a dance hall two years previously and have a 54-year-old son.
Paul Anstey, Travelodge's Director of Operations for the North said: "We know Travelodge has really loyal customers throughout the UK but the Davidson's are unique - they've literally made a Travelodge into their home! To recognise their remarkable loyalty, we are going to rename their room from number one to 'The Davidson's Suite' and mount a plaque in reception celebrating their ten year anniversary at the hotel.