Friday 29 December 2006

The importance of being particular

Hotel satisfaction at your expense
Whilst this sounds like a play on Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, I am not about to provide a twist on the person or usage of Earnest.
However, there are essential bits of detail that need to be, just so, when one finds that living out of a suitcase and ending up in hotels comes with both work and play.
I got the keys to my room and was not particular about the bellboy getting my bags up before me, as I stepped into the room, the whiff or stench of those who had been before hit me like a hurricane, I gasped for breath as I reached for the phone.
Not another whiff, said I
“Is this a smoking room?” I enquired; in fact, it was and the receptionist offered to call me back in 5 minutes. Not on your life, I was not spending another minute in that room, so as I dropped the phone, I was on my way back. I had closed the door when the phone began to ring, I had the good sense not to return to answer it – I was about to be fobbed off if I allowed it.
So, at the reception, the concierge noted I was particular about having a room with a wireless connection, indeed, I do need that for lots of reasons, I never stay in a hotel without one.
That was the only one available with a wireless access, well, I am not having it, I am not staying in a smoking room even though I stopped smoking 23 years ago.
My mind does not need to work overtime on this, I expect to be put in a hotel of the same hotel chain (Accor) with similar or better services at no extra cost, transfers borne by the hotel, it has happened before.
Then, suddenly, a room materialised and I settled into my smokeless suite without much ado.
Hotel restaurants can surprise
Since, I was too lazy to go scouting for a decent restaurant, I decided to use the hotel restaurant, and these restaurants could be quite good especially in unfamiliar lands where one would like to sample the local cuisine. I was suitably impressed in Prague by one such offering; however, beware of the occasional burnt offering.
The elevator had a set menu and I taste-buds were already excited with what would go for the entrée; I had no mind for the main course.
In one kitchen a menu should be flexible
I was ushered to my table and the menu presented and I could not understand why that entrée from the set menu could not be found in the standard menu or offered as an option considering it was not declared special.
Anyway, I asked to have the desired entrée and a plat principal from the main menu, the waitress decided to argue that this was not possible. I had already ordered sparkling water and was about to decide on the wine,
Simple logic need be applied here, “Are these menus serviced from the same kitchen?” I get an affirmative. In that case, can I have what I have ordered, still a demeanour of recalcitrance prevailed – so, I asked for the bill as per the sparkling water.
At that point the waitress suggested I make other choices at the risk of getting me a bit angry, I intimated, I make the choices I want for food and if not available I would eat elsewhere.
At that point she offered to get the supervisor to chat to me about my choices that was unnecessary, I advised she either get an OK from the supervisor or bring the bill, I was not going to have two catering staff gang up against me because of my unusual choices.
I got what I wanted, hence, the importance of being particular.

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