Hotel upgrade

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I've stayed in many fleabag hotels in my day, from roadside inns in the Rockies to a little shack on a Greek island where six of us (unbeknownst to the landlady, who threw us out once she caught on) piled into one tiny room. But one of the worst was a B&B in London that was supposed to be charming and affordable. In reality, it was smelly, dirty and all-around revolting.

Last week, British Tourism Minister Janet Anderson announced a government-sponsored initiative designed to force hotels not only to give tourists a square deal, but to let them know up front what they're going to be paying.

Hotels in the U.K. are notorious for inflating telephone charges and visitors have little to go on when it comes to nationwide hotel standards and ratings.

Now Anderson says the government plans to require that all hotels post telephone rates clearly. She also said that a whole new grading system for hotels and guest houses is in the works. Sounds like a fine idea.

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