When we first got to the room we both noticed an odd smell. And there was a noise in the wall like steam moving through pipes. Every once in a while we caught a second odd smell. Neither of us could identify it but quickly found out.
While in the room catching up on emails, suddenly the hall light flickered and then popped and then when out. As we looked closer at the socket we could see smoke drifting out. Then we identified the smell it was the smell of electrical wire burn.
At that time the woman in the room next to ours came out and said the light went out in her room as well which told me the problem was not isolated to our light fixture. I went downstairs to report the problem. The receptionist seem to fixate on the lack of adequate lighting and made a joke about how romantic it would be. She was nice enough but perhaps to practiced at glossing over customer issues.
We narrowed the immediate source of the mini-electrical fire to the light near area near the door. The noise in the wall would coincide with turning the light switch on/off. So we turned it off.
Of course, with smoke in the room, there was reason to believe the next short-circuit or the next electrical problem could happen anytime. Sure, the building is old but there seemed to be a
customer service problem when I am addressing the problem of a possible fire in the night and the response is, can I bring in a light to help brighten the room.
We mentioned the room smell, her response was to open the window to let the smoke out. I suggested an open window would be a good idea so we could escape the fire easily in the night.
We asked for another room, but the hotel was full. We asked her to contact the manager about getting us a room in a hotel that didn't have electrical problems and smoke in the room. From the look on her face, the latter was unlikely. The manager was contacted, we were told someone would be there to "fix-it"
We left to get something to eat. When we returned a person was in the room that spoke very little English indicating the electrical problem was fixed. How or how well or if we were safe were questions lost in translation. The fix-it guy left a lit candle in the room to cover the smell of electrical fire.
Okay, different people have varying sensibilities about safety, and customer service. Sure. But is this what you expect from a three star hotel? The building obviously has electric problems. We were told as much. It seems clear the Alexander Hotel doesn't take safety seriously. Do the dots connect?
We went to bed wondering if staying was a good idea. It was late, we had four pieces of luggage up four flights of stairs, it was raining, and we had no other reservations and the prospect of losing money on this one. It was a close call.
Nothing was said in the morning. No offer of a free breakfast (they were charging 10 euros), no apology, no explanation, nothing.
I wouldn't go back. There are many choices, why take a chance?
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Welcome at Hotel Alexander, a small family-run hotel in the middle of the center of Amsterdam. The Museum-Square, the Leidse-Square (nightlife) and several shopping-streets are within 5 minutes walking distance from the hotel. The rest of the touristical activities can all be reached by a maximum 30-minute walk.All our comfortable hotel-rooms offer private shower/toilet/television/telephone and we have free WIFI-internet available in our whole hotel.We hope we will have the honour to welcome you in our hotel soon! ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Alexander Hotel Amsterdam