Exceeding expectations

By | Category: Travel rumblings
An inside view of the Opera

An inside view of the Opera

I have spent my whole life being disappointed with the hotels I stayed in.  Occasionally I have felt I got what I paid for.  It is only recently that I stayed in a hotel which exceeded my expectations!

So what do I expect from a hotel? Probably the same as you.

  • Cleanliness
  • Sufficient room to walk around the bed/get dressed
  • A good shower
  • A comfy bed
  • Temperate rooms (and air-conditioning if hot)
  • Wifi (free)
  • Easy check in and check out
  • Ability to leave baggage prior to/after check in
  • Friendly staff
  • Local knowledge
  • Affordable (For London/Paris: ~80-120 GBP/night)
  • In a location near to where I need to be


There is no wonder that I have been disappointed so often, for a start free wifi seems to be a rarity!  The worst hotel I have ever stayed in was where I was given a room with no air-conditioning (it was over 28°C outside, and reached 38°C in the room!) and had no windows!  (How can you have a room with no windows? Isn’t that a closet?) To add insult to injury, they had “run out of towels” and none appeared throughout my 4 days stay (I ended up buying some – Something which is so expected I did not even add it to the list!).

It seems so simple, and yet so many hotels have let me down. They include hotels where the food was so awful so I ate breakfast elsewhere after the first night; hotels where I turned up to meetings after a restless night in an uncomfortable bed/room which was too hot / cold or the air-conditioning rivalled the sound of an airplane and hotels  where I walked the streets awkwardly with my suitcase because they had no luggage room.

There seems to be a philosophy of “Well, you are here, you are desperate and it is not like you will find anywhere else if you leave now… we are busy even without your custom in the future!” It is customers service and customer satisfaction or dissatisfaction at its worst yet it abounds amongst hoteliers.

And yet, last month, I left a hotel in Paris feeling like I was flying!  Not only had my checklist been fulfilled in full but, additionally, the hotel offered:

  • A breakfast which rivalled my own mother’s cooking – I indulged in fresh fruit, and scrambled eggs with smoked salmon and freshly baked French bread!
  • Open Free Bar: every afternoon from 13:00 to 21:00, the open free bar offered a selection of non-alcoholic hot and cold drinks, together with a variety of pastries and snacks (sweet and savoury)
  • Staff who acted, rather than reacted: I limped in after the end of the first day (I broke my foot last year and it is still troubling me), the staff at the door noticed and brought me ice.
  • Interested staff: I mentioned my love of French music, and that I had missed so much since leaving France in 1999, and upon leaving, the staff presented me with a list of music which I should listen to, based on the tastes which I had expressed.
  • The best shower which I have experienced in years!
  • A bed so comfy that, upon returning home, my new mattress of only 3 months was a disappointment.

It seems I am now doomed to be disappointed in any hotel I stay in in the future…. But at least in Paris, I know I will be happy at the Malte Opera Hotel

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