Part 3: 30 November – London The Big Arrival

Well, my flight on the Upper Deck of the A380 with Singapore Airlines was uneventful & all those years of watching Airport Plane disaster world (or whatever it is they call it) finally paid off.  I know all about metal fatigue, which part of the plane has the most strength in it and that my best chance of survival is to be near the emergency exit.  A big resounding tick on all those boxes here, and you’ll be extremely happy to know that I’m tucked up all safe and well in London.

An uneventful arrival at Heathrow, everyone was very friendly passes stamped with a big resounding thud.  Although, I was rather perturbed by the person-less Pianola playing a Chopin concerto in the airless drab hall on the way to the Immigration hall, it was kind of creepy, almost ghost like.

Finally, I find myself on the London underground from Heathrow at 6am in the morning – and I really had no idea until this particular moment in my life that lots and lots of other people also (apparently) think that the London underground their most favourite place to be on a Saturday morning at 6am.  I’m still not sure what they were doing or where they were going & I was not  feeling  at all conversational to try and find out why, what or where they were all  going.  My personal preference is to be in bed sound asleep at 6am on a Saturday – apparently not though for these hapless souls!

Finally the moment has arrived I find myself at Marble Arch, frog marching myself to the London Hyatt – Churchill.  Yes, I know 5 stars.  (And, those of you that know me, are probably asking – what happened?)

Well, I have a little tale to tell about this.  I was trawling through the internet – patiently and methodically calculating accommodation at this site, that site and every other site I could possibly find, many, many moons ago in Australia.   There is definitely a tinge of Scottish blood running through my veins, whilst I carefully considered all options for an economical hotel stay for my first 3 days in London.

I happened perchance to click onto www.ryanair.com and put in my search criteria & what do I find – wait for it – the punch line is coming…… I can have an entire room.  (Only one person can stay in it though) I have to share the bed with 3 cats at home, so this kind of suits me.  (I’ll get the entire bed to myself!)  – along with a buffet breakfast, all for the most reasonable price of £3.56 per night!

Yes, yes, I hear you all screaming – you’re being scammed! Not this little black duck – I promptly looked up the Hyatt Churchill London, made a quick phone call and asked them if they use a subsidiary called www.otel.com to which I was told yes!  I’ve never terminated a call so fast, and run to rip my credit card from my wallet to start booking.

By this stage, of course I’m still not quite believing – but I go ahead and make the booking anyway.  Payment accepted and I even get an email confirmation telling me, my booking is all confirmed and how everyone is looking forward to having me stay at the Hyatt on Portman Sq.  I’m still hesitant and I spend most of that week holding my breath waiting to be told a mistake was made! But no, I find my credit card billed and as if I might forget that I even made the booking or might not remember which hotel I intend to stay at, I receive not one, or two but at least three email confirmations telling me how happy everyone is to be having me stay at the Hyatt and not to forget my booking at the Churchill from the 29 November to 2nd December.

So, I’ve spent 64 sleeps imaging my stay at the Hyatt, whilst regularly congratulating myself, on what an excellent bargain has been had.

As you can imagine I tasted the bitterest of pills and a most heartfelt moment of disappointment, (as Anne of Green Gables might say.) when I receive an email (7 days before I leave, I might add) to stay there has been a terrible mistake and can I just cough up an extra £693 and they’ll confirm my stay.  I’ve raised my eyebrows, and at this point give a ‘very hard stare’ at the computer, just like Paddington Bear might do if he were faced with such an impending dilemma.

I sleep on the thought overnight – I’m still giving ‘very hard stares’ at all the email confirmations and my credit card account which has come, gone and long been paid for.  The conversation in my head finally has me decide that the matter is most unsatisfactory and I email otel.com to say that I’m not  pleased with this situation,  I have paid for a room and I expect them to honour it.

To cut a long story short a couple of short sharp emails are exchanged and I decide to vent my dissatisfaction directly to the Hyatt in London.  (I am most displeased, not least of which because the best story of my trip is being ruined by this unfolding set of disastrous events.)

So I get this lovely email back from the Regional Manager of the Hyatt, apologising to me for all the inconvenience caused and that he has personally instructed their Provider to personally contact me to sort of the issue.

I keep getting emails back from this otel place, the young lass donks me on the head, telling me ‘it is ridiculous to expect to get a 5 star hotel for £3.56 a night (with the breakfast) and it is quite obviously a mistake!’   I know that, you’re telling me!  But I’m not the one tapping prices for hotel rooms into a database – and I am a girl who likes a bargain!

My mother tells me, I’m just like my father.  That I have more hide than Jesse.  I won’t disagree with her here on this point.  Because eventually, I receive an email from the Hyatt to say that my room is all confirmed and their provider along with otel.com will honour the price.

I receive a charming reply from Otel.com telling me not to worry about anything, it’s all been a big mistake and once again everyone is really looking forward to having me stay at the Hyatt!   And we should say, at this point, thanks to the gods for that!

It is rather unfortunate, that unless I am extremely lucky and make a very large fortune all of my very own, I am most unlikely to be regularly or if ever busily frequenting 5 star hotels in the near frequent future.

I must admit that after reading  a small number  of the rather scathing (and what I personally consider to be spiteful)  feedback  on an  extremely well known hotel review site,  that even I was a little concerned about coming here.  I’m still trying to find all the unruly spoilt little children playing havoc in the corridors and running amok.  (And I was left regularly pondering, if I really should consider packing that water sprayer, before leaving on my flight.)

I’m even more concerned for the person whining about the inconvenience caused to their breakfast when they were placed at a table right next to the toaster and were unceremoniously bumped and supposedly prodded by the waiting staff and other patrons!  Not least of which because the dining room is big enough to recreate a re-telling of “The multitude and 5000 loaves”.   After all, you weren’t a new exhibit being paraded for all at London Zoo, and you really should have considered perching up on your little hind legs and moving to a table of your liking.   Notwithstanding, that you can clearly see from my wondrous tale, that if you ask, so shall you receive!

So, once again, I find myself giving a ‘very hard stare’ at the computer whilst I ponder the earnest but wildly contradictory reviews in comparison to what I find placed before me.

What I have found, during my stay though is absolutely fantastic service that is like nothing I have ever experienced in my entire life, all the way from the Regional Manager to the staff on Reception and the friendly Waiters dressed in their smart silver grey uniforms.

And so, I find myself sitting here typing this in a beautifully appointed room with a King Size Bed!  The wide screen Television works flawlessly with the touch of a single button (rather than my usual scenario of doing a bit of quick cabling at which ever quirky and homely B&B I find myself landing at, to get the TV to work, if at all.).  The shower has the power of a 767 jumbo engine.  And, as I turn to sleep, the silence is I can assure you, very, very silent.

Do I have anything to compare this by?  Not really.  But, if you’re a five star hotel in London reading this I’ll happily suffer the inconvenience and undertake a bit of comparative note taking for all concerned.

 

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