Worst hotel stays ever
I just got off the phone from a lady who blew a tonne of cash getting to a very remote part of a very remote country to stay in a five star resort.
The reason she called me was that I had written about this place on my work website; a piece that she’d read when she was researching where to go. I had posted a super gushy article based on the PR information and images I had been sent.
It wasn’t entirely unfounded. I have actually been to this very remote part of this very remote country and was psyched that there was now a well-known resort brand operating in the region.
But wow – this lady’s story made me reconsider my approach.
It’s one thing to receive a press pack that makes something look like a modern day Shangri-La. It’s an entirely different thing to think it through.
The remote country in question is Islamic and has a very small population, meaning a lot of the hospitality staff are a) male and, b) poorly paid labourers shipped in from India and the Philippines. I’m not being racist or sexist – I’m merely pointing out that you have half the number of untrained people to choose from when hiring.
The resort in question is about 2.5 hours from the capital, accessible only by 4WD, meaning you’d also have to be pretty desperate for a job to work there. There is nothing else around, unless you count rocky mountains and birds of prey.
Subsequently, it starts to make sense that the service was a little dodgy.
This lady also said the food was terrible and expensive – the equivalent of AUD$90 for room service frozen pizza. Again, remoteness = limited access to suppliers. Makes sense.
After a two day stay that cost her a whopping AUD$1400, she wanted to leave and subsequently had to beg the very ill-tempered GM to refund her the remaining three nights’ accommodation and transfer her back to the city.
A bit of a horror story, wouldn’t you agree?
Which raises the question: How much should a buyer beware? How much should we look beyond the marketing to the realities of a destination when we’re booking?
Have you ever had a terrible experience? Wanna vent?