Crowne Plaza hotel here at ExCel – the accommodation was first class, facilities funky, modern, contemporary (just how I like it) and the customer service was consistently excellent throughout. Bearing in mind that the hotel team were multicultural (I chatted with Africans, South Americans, Asians, Australians and Chinese over the three days) I want to acknowledge their courtesy and helpfulness at all times. One situation I haven’t shared with you yet is that I was orginally booked in at the Custom House hotel on the other side of ExCel. I drove there from Birmingham on Wednesday night, after a busy workshop day, and arriving after 9.00pm I took one look at the exterior of the hotel and the local environment and just carried on driving. Sorry – environments are important to me and I wasn’t prepared to spend 3 days and nights in a dump surrounded by slum housing. So, driving to the front door of the Crowne Plaza, I spoke with Carmen on the reception team and we negotiated a great rate for the stay in a junior suite, so that I would have plenty of space and a desk to work at. I asked her for the telephone number of the Hilton, to get a competitive rate – and she offered to throw in breakfast free of charge if I confirmed the booking. It was a fun conversation at the end of a long few days – with a well-trained young lady who knew exactly how to handle me. And so, after 2 days of emails, phone calls and meetings, I finally managed to get out of the front door on Saturday morning and walk the 200 yards to ExCel itself.