It’s all about service


Do hotels with four or even five stars find the basics of what is expected so hard to deliver? The Porter. When I pull up in a taxi or my car, why is carrying my bags into the hotel a spectator sport? A porter should be there. No excuses. Instead, nearly all hotels are perfectly happy for me to lug cases inside when some spotty teenager dressed like an organ grinder’s monkey then expects a hefty tip as he wheels my bag from reception to the lift. I always enjoy pulling out a note then tearing off a third and saying... “That part is my share of taking these out of the car to reception.”  Internet. If I am paying a decent price for a room don’t piss me off asking to pay an additional $25 a day for Internet. It’s grossly expensive and just appalling customer relations. WiFi is now as basic a requirement as electricity, aircon and hot water. I was recently charged for internet and then given a download service of less that 1 MBPS. For those luddites reading this, it means even a simple presentation document takes so long I would need a shave and a haircut by the time it finished downloading. Unless I am actually in Africa, watching BBC News Focus on Africa is as pointless as last year’s football results. If I am in Stockholm I could not give a toss about basket weaving co-ops in Laos, but more likely a terrorist attack in London. BBC, CNN and other news agencies seem to be mostly advertising monologues for third world dictatorships. You just get endless reports from parts of the world that are as relevant to my life as Morris Pole Dancing. If you are a five star hotel with an International clientele shell out the few extra pennies to allow us to watch rolling news (Sky News for the English... and Russia Today for those who like fairy stories before bedtime). Perhaps if I should just thank Reception on check out for such interesting news channels and offer to pay in Matabele gumbo-beads when presented with the bill? Bathroom. As I wrote before (here) I don’t wear glasses in the shower so print shampoo, conditioner and shower gel in big letters and have enough lights around the mirror to let a woman do her make-up. Bedroom. One switch by the bed to turn all the lights out.

...and another thing


The chef works for the diner, not his ego. My dear late father once had the temerity to ask for butter on his grilled lobster instead of oil and the waiter returned to say the chef declined as in his opinion oil was the better choice.

I sent a note back to the arrogant bastard that I have declined coming into the kitchen to massage his head with a meat tenderiser as I believe a taser might be a better choice.

The waiter.  The typical irritants are…

“Did you save room for dessert?”

 I’m not five years old. I don’t save room. And don’t ask what I’d like for dessert. Don’t assume I want any. Just ask if I’d like to see a dessert menu.

“And yours will be out in just a minute.”

 How about my friend who has his food leaves you a tip, but as for mine it will be out in a minute?

I accept it’s hard to time everything perfectly, but when you deliver three dishes and one person has to wait, we’re all stuck. There is no excuse not being able to deliver simultaneously to six people at a table.

However, waiters who pretend to have memory skills that should be in a vaudeville act, are the worst. They show off saying they can remember everyone’s order’s and invariably don’t. I simply won’t give an order unless it is written down.

The bar staff. It was only after many years trying to attract bar staff at the Film and TV festivals in Cannes that I understood..

“J’arrive, monsieur”

did not mean

“I am coming in a moment, Sir” but actually,

Go screw yourself. You don’t look important and unless you know an actress I am going to ignore you all evening.”

If however you are patient you can get your own back. When presented with the bill and an impatient barman eager to be paid with a tip and replace your seat with someone really important smugly reply:

“J’arrive monsieur,” and make the bastard wait twenty minutes.

Next time you will get served pretty smartly.

So dear reader, if you know of any great hotels outside of Lake Como’s Villa D’Este… let me know!

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