Friday, April 03, 2009

Why can't five star hotels get it right when a California Best Western can?

I’m fed up with staying in five star hotels that ignore the basics and charge the earth for extras. Take Rome’s EUR600 a night Hotel de Russie which charges for DVD player rental or the Grand et Milan which has closets the size of gym lockers and charges EUR6 for a small bottle of water.

I know I wasn’t supposed to be reviewing the Best Western where I stayed last night, especially when they gave me a swanky upgrade because they found out for whom I write, but I was so impressed with the bells & whistles they throw in just because, and which some of the best hotels in the world don’t consider necessary, that I can’t resist giving them an extra shout out.

The bathroom. They provide everything from make-up remover wipes & nail varnish remover pads to hair conditioner (even the smartest hotels seem to forget that most women use conditioner as well as shampoo), thick towelling bath robes that reach to the feet (I’m 5’6”), rather than stopping at the knee, & plenty of towels and flannels (but with an eco laundry policy).

The room itself. All these were present and correct: a four cup filter coffee machine with real & decaf, a mini bar that charges shop prices (and includes gummy bears, family size packs of chocolate chip cookies and Laughing Cow cheese), padded coat hangers as well as wooden ones that aren’t perma attached to the rail, two collapsible luggage stands (the norm is one), the biggest safe I’ve seen in a hotel: large enough for a generous handbag and more, a real hairdryer – not a beige one attached to the wall wafting air, a whole set of closet drawers rather than annoying cubby holes for your clothes, a DVD player, a proper alarm clock, an Ethernet cable (as opposed to assuming you have your own for when the Wi-FI isn’t working) and an eiderdown AND a duvet for extra squishy comfiness in bed.

These things are not rocket science. Why then do I have to be amazed that a motel franchise in California gets it?