Updated: Mar 20
I stayed at the Islamabad Marriott hotel many times before it was blown up in 2008. On my first visit, I was put in a room at the front of the hotel. This made me uncomfortable and I asked to be moved to a room nearer to the middle of the building.
At that time, there were two big hotels in Islamabad - the Marriott and the Serena. The Serena was known to have better security and as a result a lot of Westerners stayed there. The Marriott was more of a hotel for locals. It had a large banqueting suite for weddings and a lobby with a restaurant that was a meeting place for politicians, journalists, dignities and businessmen.
On one of my stays, probably in 2003, I saw Michael Palin being escorted out of the hotel, presumably on his way to do some filming of his Himalaya series.
Luckily for me, I was not staying in the hotel on 20 September 2008.
I did see the coverage on television and was horrified to see firemen pulling what looked like a body out of one of the rooms at the front of the hotel...