I have been in my share of hotels and guest houses all over the globe. The one thing that you quickly learn is that not all hotels or guest houses are created equally!
Five years ago my wife and I visited the Brookes Hill Hotel and Suits in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. The Brookes Hill Hotel and Suits is a three star hotel which indicates that this is a tourist class hotel. We were amazed at the level of service offered by this small three star hotel! Naturally it was a no no-brainer when I came back to Port Elizabeth for business to stay here again.
We were stopped at the gate by security. There where two security personnel on duty: a male and a female. The female guard checked our booking against the checklist of people that was supposed to check in that day. This was good as it made me feel safe. At least no one will be attacking me in my room that is not a guest or an employee!
The last time we where here, three porters greeted us at the main entrance. They could not wait for us to unlock the car so that they get to our suitcases! This time, there was no porters. I walked to the reception desk. There were two personnel on duty. One was helping another guest and the other (a bald chap) was doing something on the computer that required him to tap a key on the keyboard every now and then. Both saw me enter, but none of them made any indication that they where aware of me. No greeting or "Welcome to the Brookes Hill Hotel"...
The minimum I would have been happy with would have been a greeting and an offer to use the waiting area, which is available. A nice touch would have been something to drink while I waited (coffee, tea, colddrink). I would have felt welcome and I would have happily waited for half an hour, even more.
Ten minutes later, the chap behind the computer was still sitting there tapping the keyboard and the other chap was still helping the guest before me. Two other employees walked in behind the reception counter. They went to one of the corners and just stood there laughing and chatting away... I was totally ignored.
It is not rocket science... If you don't have any work to do behind the reception desk, or of you are not there to help the guest, then stay the hell away! The reception area is not an employee lounge or meeting area of some sort!
Another five minutes later, the male security chap who was sitting in the security booth when I arrived, walked in and asked if he could help. What is wrong with this picture? No one behind the reception counter is willing to help, but the security officer is?
Check-in time for the hotel is 16h00. Not in one hotel I ever have been a guest of, was this time enforced. We arrived at 15h00 and then waited another 15 minutesto be helped. The security officer pointed to the time on my booking form and said: "four 'o clock, four 'o clock, four 'o clock!" Ok, so I am 45 minutes early... He picked up the one phone and made a phone call, but he could not reach anyone. He walked to another phone and tried again with the same result. He came back and said that our room was not yet ready and that we should come back at four... How he knew the room as not ready, I cannot say. Maybe he has some sort of contact with the spirit world...
When I left, the two in the corner was still chatting away and the one on the computer was still tapping the keyboard! The fourth was still helping the guest before me. Never in my entire life have I ever felt so uncomfortable or unwelcome!
I came back at 16h30. This time only the bald chap who was sitting behind the computer when I first arrived, was there! Again no greeting or any way to make the guest feel welcome. I gave him my booking form. He handed me another form and said: "Address, phone, sign!" The form had no clear fields to indicate what should go where. I asked for help and with a very irritated voice, he showed me where to fill in the detail. There was just open lines on the form. Unless you know what information is required where, there is no way for you to complete the form properly. After I completed the form, he slapped the room key on the counter and said: "Room XYZ around the corner." That was it. I got the distinct feeling that my presence there was somehow a huge inconvenience!
The room was as I remembered: the same stuffy smell of sigarette smoke! This is a NO SMOKING hotel, but obviously this does not apply anymore. I complained about this five years ago and I was happy to find out that absolutely NOTHING has been done about it! I even found an ashtray in the room. An open invitation that smoking is allowed in the room!
The control boxes for the ceiling fans are fastened by one screw only. It is very easy for anyone to move the box cover to the one side. They are also low enough for any child to reach. Families with children should be careful. This danger could put shocking end to any family holiday!
The next day we complained about the sofa being broken. Again we where greeted with irritation. We where told that a note will be made and the sofa replaced, but the look of irritation on the woman's face told me that I had a better chance of becoming pregnant!
Will I come back here? ABSOLUTELY NOT!
Will I recommend the Brookes Hill Hotel and Suits? NOT A CHANCE!
The attitude of the staff at the hotel suggest that they are doing you a favour by helping you. To them, you are just a cash machine bringing in money. Once they have your money, you are an irritation to them. A bug that has to be squashed quickly! This may be a three star hotel, but in my opinion, they do not reserve one of those stars. I have experienced hotels with no stars that offer service that is light years better! My recommendation is to rather take your hard earned cash elsewhere!
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- Also Known As:
- Brookes Hill Hotel Port Elizabeth