Friday, July 29, 2011

Checking Into The Wrong Hotel

When one travels a lot and is subjected to many time changes it's easy to get confused, forgetful or disoriented. Of course if one is pre-menopausal or menopausal, the symptoms are much the same, however for the sake of this encounter, I claim my symptoms to be a direct result of excessive travel and not due to pre-menopause!

While home for a brief break a while ago, my driver and I were sitting in the lounge room on a very rare occasion, watching a bit of television. However, I confess that for me sitting still and watching television doesn't exactly mean that my mind is focused and my concentration is on what is happening on the television. Sometimes I may be pondering something in my mind, or I'll be reading while one eye occasionally darts up to the screen for a quick catch-up, or I'll be fiddling on my mobile phone, or I may actually to talking on my mobile phone, or I could even be emailing someone from my iPad.

On this particular day, I have no recollection of where my mind was or what was stopping me from focusing on the television program, but I do recall - with rather vivid memory, that we were watching a program called "Getaway". At the end of the show the presenters very often mention to viewers that they have some or other "special" that is currently being run.

It's a bit like those programs where the presenters sell products that would never sell in a shop if they were ever allowed to gain entry. They tell you this story about how fantastic the product is, then they tell you the price - which is usually exorbitant - then they very quickly grab your interest again by telling you that if you call in the next ten minutes you will get not one - but (wait for it...) two of the same products for the price of one. But you have to call in the next ten minutes!

The so called "special" on the Getaway program was much the same, call in the next ten minutes to qualify, but have your credit card available....

I was still doing what I was doing, which was focussing on something totally different, when in the distance I heard my driver ask if I was familiar with the hotel the presenter was advertising. Since I had been periodically checking-in I was able to confirm that I knew exactly which hotel was being referred to. My driver then wondered aloud whether it would be worth spending a night in said hotel to unwind and spoil ourselves.

It was at this point that my senses became fully alert and I realized what was being said. A night in a luxury hotel in the city sounded marvelous. I briefly inquired why one would spend a night in a hotel in the city when one lives exactly fifteen minutes from the city, but was shut down when my driver asked if I thought it a perfectly ludicrous idea.

"Are you kidding? Of course not," I replied. "What a wonderful idea"

While thinking about what we could do in the city for a night, I jotted down the telephone number on the screen and began to call. We could figure out the details later, right? For the next half an hour the number was busy. I'm almost convinced businesses take their phones off the hook so that patrons can't get through immediately to make them more determined because that's exactly what happens to me!

I kept on dialing the number and I kept on getting a busy signal. Eventually the phone rang and went into voicemail. At this point I was convinced that I had missed out on the deal, but just in case I stood a chance, I left my contact details and forgot about the whole ordeal.

The following day while out shopping, my mobile phone rang and when I answered it the voice on the other side announced that they were returning my call from the night before. By this stage the novelty had worn off and I didn't really feel like a hotel stay but then when the sales lady told me that if I booked two nights I could get the second night for free, I weakened and made the reservation. What can I say, I'm a sucker when it comes to a good deal!

The following day we had our little suitcases packed and the only consideration was whether I wanted to take my sports car or my drivers car. We were booked into a fabulous hotel right on the Sydney Harbour, so naturally it would be great to drive the little sports car there, but when I thought about the valet driver taking my car on a drive around the city before parking it in the underground parking, and when I thought about some jealous person walking past my car in the garage with his car keys "accidentally" scraping against my car from front to back, I decided to leave my sports car at home for safety reasons instead. I think my driver was hoping we'd take the sports car, particularly since I had told him we were going to be staying in one of the poshest hotels in Sydney, but you understand where I'm coming from, right?

Before we left the house my driver asked me - like he always does - whether I knew where we were going, whether I had a print out of the booking confirmation and whether I needed directions. I was incredulous because I know Sydney like the back of my hand but I agreed to all of the above, everything was well under control.

I directed my driver to the hotel and was glowing when we arrived and the valet attendant opened my door for me and helped me out of the car. He walked around to my driver and asked for the keys so that he could open the back to remove the suitcases. He was gushing when he asked us whether we had a good trip into the city and I smiled back and told him it was just great.

He asked us for our names and at this point I told my driver to leave the check-in procedure to me. I announced who we were and he immediately directed us to the check-in counter.

As we approached the check-in counter, a young man stood up and walked towards us with his hand extended. He grasped mine and said welcome, then he asked what my name was and of course I obliged by telling him everything; name, surname, mobile number, availability.... Only kidding, but I could have if I really wanted to...

He then introduced himself and asked how I was. "I'm most well, thank you and thank you for asking. How are you?". He was very obliging too and told me that he too was doing just great. He sat us down and asked me if I had a reservation number and I told him that I most certainly do. At this point my driver became agitated and asked me where the print outs were and I flashed him one of my famous glares which mean - in no uncertain terms - butt right out Buster!

If truth be said, I actually have no idea what I did with all the print outs between getting into the car at home and back out when we arrived at the hotel. I started to panic - not that anyone would notice because I was being my charming self. I mentioned to the lovely young man that I may have to dig around for the paperwork and he told me not to stress at all, he could just look it up on the system. Nice idea, I thought while I left him to bang away at the keyboard in front of him.

He asked a few trivial questions about how my morning had been and told me that the weather was fabulous and I agreed about the weather and told him the morning had been relaxing. Then he asked me when the hotel reservation had been made and as I was about to tell him, my driver again butted in and asked me in an angry tone where the print outs were. The concierge told us not to stress again and apologized for any inconvenience, he insisted that everything was under control and that he'd have us in our room in no time at all.

He tapped away at the keyboard again and at that stage the valet attendant had returned with a receipt for our parked car. I then noticed a surruptitious interaction between the two and realized it was time to find my lost paper work. I started digging in my hand bag and retrieved the bundle of papers just as the concierge began asking more questions.

Of all the questions he could have asked, he asked when exactly I had made the reservation. Annoyed at his incompetence, I sighed, rolled my eyes and handed over my booking confirmation. Take that! He had a good look, showed the concierge and immediately stood up. Then with an expressionless face, he handed me back my booking confirmation and quietly told me that we were in the wrong hotel.

My mouth fell open and I was about to argue when my memory started working overtime and I retrieved some of the information about which hotel exactly had been advertised on the Getaway show. I soon realized that I had got my information wrong right at the concept stage! My driver was red faced and I burst out laughing. We were both mortified.

The concierge and valet guy immediately took hold of our suitcases and began to escort us out of the hotel. I couldn't stop laughing and eventually the concierge too laughed and said not to worry, this happens all the time. Then I had to ask him to direct me to my hotel because I had no idea where it was or what it was called. He was reluctant to divulge all the information, but pointed in a general direction.

When the valet guy brought our car back up he looked disgusted. He handed the keys over like he was holding a dirty nappy.

Thankfully our hotel was not too far. We didn't get a valet service and the parking was in a fenced off location across the street, but we had two very relaxing days!

~ Vanessa

Legend: My Driver - Kimo

No comments:

Post a Comment