Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Hotels and all that

After so many years if travel, hotels in London still manage to surprise me with the ridiculous prices for hovels of rooms and poor service. Brought into even mire sharp relief today because I have just spent two nights in the MacDonald Spa Bath Hotel before coming here, to the Strand Palace.

The MacDonald in Bath is a wonderful hotel. Set in lovely grounds, it has rooms that are a pleasure to stay in, and staff who could not be more friendly. What's that sir, you're going to London for a few days, well of course you can leave your car in our car park, no bother at all sir.

So today is a rush over on the train. The meeting has already started so I join that thinking I'll check in later. 1830hrs arrives and I'm standing in a long queue. Not enough staff to cope. Finally get to the desk, give my name and the company I'm with. No sign of my booking. OK, well the others are booked in because they arrives last night. No they didn't need a booking reference and we don't have one. First man is particularly unhelpful, not least because he can't speak English. I leave the queue. Fire up the computer. Check and no booking reference. Back in the queue which is now even longer. Another man walking along the queue asking people if they have stayed here before. This is the wrong question to ask because my answer is "unfortunately yes, and i swore I never would again and if I'd known we were booking out meeting here I'd have got them to book elsewhere.". This does at least get his attention. I sit down while he goes to find out what is happening. After 10 minutes he comes back and tells me that he needs to speak to the conference manager. Finally returns. Yes they have found my booking but they had thought it was for two nights and booked menin last night. Si now it seems to be my fault that I was only ever coming for one night while the others were booked in for two. But this still doesn't explain how I got checked in when I wasn't here. Oh well it was a group booking. Hang on, yes a group booking but everyone turned up separately and I HADN'T CHECKED IN LAST NIGHT. My argument that surely they knew who was in a room or not didn't seem to make sense to them.

To paraphrase a famous man - never, in the field of accommodation, has so much been charged for so little.

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