Saturday 21 November 2015

South Africa: Hotel life at first glimpse

A wary European
It is quite unusual not to have written about my hotel life, maybe because there hasn’t been much of an event to make of things.
I did say that when the airport shuttle came to pick me up at the airport, they had mangled my name, this was after the lady I called heard me spell my name twice and she read out the letters of my name and my phone number for confirmation.
It is, however, possible that in relaying the message to the cab company, some of the message was lost in translation. The driver from the airport was quite affable and friendly, he offered to do all sorts of things, get me a SIM card, give me a tour of Johannesburg, be a stand-by chauffeur and so many other things. I think the wary European in me slightly uncomfortable at the familiarity that borders on inveigling into my life just decided, whilst he was being helpful, I just did not need to be helped that much.
It is tolerable enough
I had to wait almost 90 minutes for a room to be ready for me to occupy, it gave the impression that the hotel has a high occupancy percentage though I was a bit sceptical about that. When I booked the hotel, I saw there were charges for early check-ins and there were for late checkouts.
The room was a slight disappointment at first and I cannot understand how when a manager sees a customer about to spend 3 weeks in their establishment, they dump you in a room as if you are passing through a motel. No views, no air, no welcome home feel.
It had a twin bed, immediately, I remonstrated and the bellboy called reception to have the problem fixed. At least I was told I would be called, I never got called.
Change, it must
After two nights in the room, which also did not have a fridge and the middle-of-the-night parting of beds which had me on the verge of repeating my coconut days of falling out of bed when I was 5, I went to the reception and asked for my room to be changed.
On returning from work, I immediately asked if my request was granted and I was moved 4 rooms up the corridor were a king-size bed and fridge had been installed. With the rooms being in close proximity, I really did not need help to move my stuff. That was done in about 15 minutes and I settled into my new room which was laterally opposite to the one I left.
All teas abound
To forestall the near disaster I had at breakfast when I was at another hotel in Johannesburg, I determined to carry my supply of Earl Grey tea over from the UK. All that I forgot to pack into my bags, but the situation was saved at the duty-free shops where they stocked Fortnum & Mason’s Classic Earl Grey tea.
Then, at breakfast, I needn’t have bothered, they had some many teas to choose from and Earl Grey tea was just as prominent. I have only been to dinner once, the food was alright.
I guess I could endure the absence of more comforts at this hotel, it is, however, not bad for a 4-star hotel.

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