Archives for posts with tag: Hotel

What is it about those inclusive hotel packages? In this last  in a 3-post series on holiday musings, I have a confession to make.

We recently went on holiday and opted for a half-board package. You get breakfast and dinner, but no lunch. Not only that but it was all the breakfast you could eat, in a self-serve stylee, and all the dinner you could eat. The food was excellent.

I couldn’t help myself. I can’t help myself. It’s something about the bountifulness and being able to go up as many times as you want. I would have 4 small courses for breakfast, topped off by buck’s fizz, natch. I would also have 4 small courses for dinner. It was like tapas on steroids.

We decided not to upgrade to full board – the all inclusive package – while we were there. It was €30 per day to upgrade, for which you also got lunch and all the drinks you wanted from a specific list. A long specific list, including mojitos that were €12 a pop to the non-full boarders. It was ludicrously good value.

I wouldn’t have been able to control my intake with a 24/7 carte blanche. With all inclusive it’s as if the laws of supply and demand no longer apply. We can suspend Newton’s 3rd law of physics and gorge on a seemingly unending supply of body fuel.

It’s a good job there was a gym and a couple of pools in the complex. An extra stone over the course of a week does not sit well on a 10-stone frame.

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I think there’s a kind of hotel room etiquette for regular travellers. I say for regular travellers because I refer to business travel rather than holiday travel, where I think different rules apply.

If you’re staying in a hotel room for a night or two, then I think a few unwritten rules apply. These are some of the ones I apply:

  • I get 4 pillows and 2 cushions on my bed. I need 1 pillow. I stack the other three pillows and the 2 cushions on a shelf, with a note on top saying ‘not used’
  • I get 2 body towels, 2 hand towels, 2 face towels and a bath mat in my bath room. In only use the body towel and the bath mat for everything. Seems reasonable. I make it obvious I haven’t touched the other towels
  • I sometimes take the freebie bottles of shower gel and the bar of soap, especially the ones I’ve partly used. I figure that’s OK. I can’t imagine they recycle the half-used contents to make whole bottles
  • I always tip the person that cleans my room when I leave, even if it’s only a couple of quid. My rationale is that everyone else in the hotel spends 2 to 3 minutes on me alone: the check-in/check-out person, the restaurant staff, the coffee shop person. The cleaning person probably spends at least 20 minutes getting my room ready. It’s the least I can do
  • I try and leave my room tidy. I don’t take the proverbial, nor do I subscribe to the argument that it gives them something to do if I leave it messy. If you had to clean 20 hotel rooms a day you’d appreciate some rooms taking a few minutes less, wouldn’t you?

Those are the main rules of hotel room etiquette for me.

How do you judge the quality of a place that you patronise for your meal, snack or drink?

I’ve found that the quality of an establishment’s decaffeinated coffee is a good indicator of the place, and it works from small shop where you can barely fit more than 3 people in, to the largest hotel.

Why should you even be interested in this post if you drink your coffee regular? Well, I like coffee and I limit my caffeine intake to the occasional fizzy drink. Decaff coffee is sufficiently minority for a place either to make the effort or not.

In some places you get an instant coffee out of a sachet, which is something I could make at home for a twentieth of the price. In other places you get proper coffee, but they make a a big pot for all their decaff drinkers and so your decaff is often stale or burnt. Then there are places which make your decaff for you to order. Then it boils down – no pun intended, because it’s not a very good one – to the quality of the bean and how well they make it.

Places that make good decaff, I’ve decided, that put that much effort into providing a good experience for their fringe customers, are the best places for all of us to go. This can lead you to some unlikely conclusions. For example, the best decaff I’ve had in a long time was at a motorway service station.