Hits 4700 | Created 2007-09-27 | Modified 2007-09-27
My idea was to return to the hotel and sip a Martini and smoke a cigarette before retiring. I was dismayed to find that there was a large Xmas party occurring, and so the bar was rather busy, the staff looked harassed.
'Do you do cocktails?' I ask the barmaid.
She looks uncertain and consults the barman. He shakes his head.
'What, none at all?'
So I order a bottle of Becks beer. 'Oh, and a box of matches please, or a lighter.'
'Sorry, we don't have any matches or lighters.'
'Oh.' I say.
I wander over to reception and ask for some matches. There is then a lengthy search of drawers. None are found. The receptionist lights my cigarette with her lighter. However, a little later I need another light and so return and ask if any matches have turned up yet, as I don't want to bother her every time I need a light.
She says, 'Please go and take a seat, I'll find you some matches or a lighter and bring them over to you.'
I thank her and sit down. Twenty minutes later, and I'm still waiting. She forgot about me. I go and complain. The bar manager turns up.
'What's the problem?' He asks.
I tell him about the matches, the promise of a light and then being ignored / forgotten. I also tell him that I think it's pretty shoddy that his bar doesn't do cocktails.
'What can I do to make you happy?' He asks.
'Well, you could get me a Martini and a box of matches?'
'So, if I get you a martini and a box of matches, then you'll be happy?' He says.
'Yes, I will.'
I wait. He turns up some time later with a wine glass filled with an odd-coloured liquid. And an old box of matches that have already seen some use.
I stare at the glass. It doesn't look like a Martini.
It's tequila and lemonade.
'Are you having a laugh?' I ask. 'This is tequila.'
The bar manager goes away and talks to the barman. He returns with this spectacular news:
'It is a Martini. That's the way the barman makes it.'
'What? With tequila?'
Fairly angry, I leave the drink and go to bed. I'm looking forward to chilling out in my room. This is from the Hilton website, and one of the reasons I booked the room:
"Feel at home in this modern 24m² room with Internet access and Sony PlayStation. The bright and airy room, decorated in rich, warm tones, has floor-to-ceiling windows. Work in comfort at the desk with ergonomic chair or pamper yourself in the marble bathroom. Some rooms have high-speed Internet."
There is indeed a Sony Playstation controller, but it isn't attached to anything.
I call reception.
'Hi there, I can't find my playstation.'
'Sorry sir, there is no playstation in that room.'
'Well, can I change rooms to one that has then?'
'No, sorry sir, we don't have any rooms with playstations.'
I decide to have a look in the mini bar to calm myself down. The mini bar is empty. I don't even bother to call down this time. I go to sleep instead, miserable.
In the morning I can't turn on the lights in the bathroom. I call down and am told that I have to insert some card near the door. Small point, but why not mention this at check in?
There's no toothpaste. I call reception again.
'Hi, there's no toothpaste in my room.'
'Sorry sir, we don't supply toothpaste.'
'Right. I'll suck a mint then shall I?'
I go down for breakfast, which I'm chirpily informed isn't included and would I like to pay £16 for it?
It isn't exactly stated clearly when you book your room that it isn't included. Generally, this sort of thing is, isn't it?
I refuse to pay for breakfast and instead check out and ask for a taxi, which arrives promptly.
The taxi arrives at East Croydon station and the drivers says, 'Ten pounds please.'
I say, 'Can you explain why last night a black cab in heavy traffic cost £7, and today, in light traffic in a private taxi, it costs ten?'
Silence. He whitters on about rates until he realises that I'm not buying it, and finally admits, 'We just charge everyone £10 that comes from the Hilton to the station.'
Just imagine, one ride a day, pocketing the extra £3 each trip, would give a nice bonus of over a grand a year. Not bad.
The worst hotel I've had the misfortune to stay in for many, many years, and a disgrace to the Hilton name.