The Grand City Hotel, Brunei, is, arguably, as far from “Grand” as a hotel can be. I arrived as one of a party and it soon became clear that my reservation hadn’t been confirmed. After about 20mins of discussion I suggested that, in the absence of a reservation, they checked to see if there were any rooms available. It seems the hotel was almost empty (not surprisingly) and I was, eventually, given a room. No room-rate, no indication whether the rate included breakfast, just a key and a gesture towards the lift.
The room was small and smelled of stale cigarette smoke. The carpet was dirty and there were greasy marks on the window where other guests had pressed their faces against the glass (in a vain attempt to escape?) – Obviously the windows aren’t cleaned very often. As I unpacked I couldn’t fail to notice the sounds of hammering and sawing. After a while curiosity got the best of me and I went looking for the source of the commotion and found that the restaurant on the floor below was being renovated, directly below my room. I went to Reception and explained the problem. “Yes, it’s very bad isn’t it sir? We can hear it from here!” I gently pointed out that he was being paid for listening to the row while I was actually paying for it. I asked for another room and was, after much grumbling, given one further down the corridor. Seizing on the opportunity I asked if breakfast was included, “no”, and was there wifi?, “only in the lobby”.
The first time I left the room I took the room key-card out of its electrical socket, only to hear the distant sound of an alarm. Wondering if this was just a coincidence I put the card-key back in and removed it again – same alarm. On my fourth time of trying a lady from House-keeping came striding up the hallway to ask me what I was doing. I showed her my new toy and let her take out the key. Sure enough, off went the alarm. She shrugged her shoulders and looked at me blankly. “Broken” she said, and walked off…
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