Every town or city has its unscrupolous operator and I suppose that by the law of average one will encounter one such on each trip. It remains disconcerting that someone can be so callous in attitude to risk destroying a once in a lifetime holiday by his or her actions - or perhaps lack of it.
We were enjoying a marvelous holiday tour and having been to Scheviningen before we decided to go there a day earlier than originally planned. Scheviningen, a suburb of The Hague, is a charming resort town on the North Sea of South Holland.
Anyway, we contacted the hotel into which we were booked but they were unable to accommodate us a day earlier so we opened the old laptop,fired up the internet and went a-hunting for accommodation..
Great was our consternation when we found that hotels etc did not accept online reservations less than it seems a week in advance and we were goint to arrive in 72 hours!
Then we fount this really neat hotel web site which had a room available AND would accept the late reservation provided only we presented our credit card details.
Warning bells should have sounded but THE WEB PAGES LOOKED SO NICE!
So after some quick soul searching we took the plunge - the credit card thing is a bit risky and we are generally reluctant to provide details on an unsecured internet based form. We got a confirmatory e mail so the next morning we set off with the ever weightier luggage in tow.
On arrival in Scheviningen we found the Street location without too much difficulty but the street numbers were perplexing to say the least. The street changed name, the numbers stopped and still no Hotel Empire!
By now were were getting a little antsy, could there be something rotten in the state of... Well, what to do but ask a local. After a few shrugs and head shakes a lady suggested we look further up the road closer to the harbour.
Yep we found the street number but no obvious entrance so ask again. We are assured that we are at the right place. A closer scrutiny of the building in question reveals a narrow door with an intercom.Right opposite the statue of the 'Fisherwoman' and a church with a bell to rival ol' Big Ben.
Push the button, someone does answer and yes that is indeed the hotel entrance! We look at each other, very apprehensive now and open the door. At the head of the narrowest staircase you have seen in your life is a gentleman beconing us up. The first impression is not good, the place smells so heavily of paint fumes to make your head spin!
It is getting late now so there are few options. We climb the stairs - luggage in tow - and get shown into the dining room. That is okay but opposite is an open (store)room filled with paint cans, dirty rags and other maintenance paraphernalia. We are quite light headed by now and say as much. Not to worry, our room is one floor up and has a beautiful view we are told. It is also far enough from the store room so the smells won't bother us...
Shock number two, we must pay cash in advance, the credit card was just to confirm the reservation. This gentleman is really not friendly nor helpful. His attitude is one of 'you're here you booked so shut up and pay' !
Ok it's only one night we'll shut up and put up.
Shock number three, The room is at the front of the hotel overlooking the street we just came in from and up a staircase so narrow the suitcase only fits sideways!
The room is somewhat dingy and really small! With our luggage inside there is hardly any space to move. The tv probably served Noah on the ark. The beds are two singes - well we sort of got used to this arrangement by now - but the mattresses are none too firm, actually quite hollow in the middle and the bed lamp so low one cannot sit up without getting a knock on the head. Not that it mattered, it didn't work anyway.
Shock number four, THE BATHROOM IS 25 METRES DOWN THE CORRIDOR! Past another room full of painting debris.
Towels, yea well, You'll see in the photos attached..
We went to bed with the church bell tolling every half hour throughout the night!
We spent the night fuming, worse than the paint cans but it seems every cloud has a silver lining. The far off bathroom had ample hot water, contrary to expectation and the gentleman on duty of a far better disposition than the one the previous day. He had straigtened out the dining room. It was now quite servicable. The store room was closed and the windows opened so the paint smell was greatly diminished.
Here's the kicker, he actually baked us fresh rolls for breakfast which was one of the better ones we've so far!
Unfortunately, I cannot in all fairness to this gent recommend the Hotel Empire to anyone. Ir it bound to put a sour note in Your holiday. The reality is noway, nohow by any means or manner reconcilable with what they adverise on the internet and the price way too expensive.
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