Stories: Hotels

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  • Kyle Matthews,

    And never more than the time Nokia flew me to Singapore for the launch of a new phone (no, really) and put me up in the Ritz Carlton, along with journalists from all over the Asia-Pacific region.

    There's an irony when a mobile phone company flies a bunch of journalists around the world to see their phone being launched, rather than saving a bunch of money and sending them a free phone and phoning them on it.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6207 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Oooo Jackie! My Mum & I judge ALL black forest cherry cakes by the early 1980's James Cook version! We've hunted equivalents round the world (and v. seldom found 'em...}
    My standard is - how do they do fish? Raw, and/or cooked? Mary's is beef fillet.(Since I dont generally eat meat, I cant comment on that.) Both of us agree on any place's eggs benedict (we cook excellent versions, ourselves. It does help to have own-grown spinach, and the neighbours' totally - not just free range but anarchical- eggs.) Our dessert is as, above-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    20thC thinking eh Kayle?

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Sorry, - Kyle. This was the time when the more lavish your treatment of significant media figures meant, the more airtime/column inches etc. you got. That's probably a dead gamble now-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    The Quest on The Terrace

    The Quest on Ponsonby Rd is one of the most execrable dumps on the planet.

    'Why is Our Room not made up?'
    'Sorry, she missed it'
    "Can you do it now?'
    'No, she's gone home'
    'When?'
    'Tomorrow is her day off too so we are not doing rooms then either...two days.'

    There is no CCTV in the carpark, and cars regularly get broken into as the gate is left open. You still have to pay the $26 per day carpark fee after this happens.

    Bali's up there when it comes to shitholes, most of which I'm happy not to have stayed in but Danielle's plastic mattress covers are not unusual. One we did have the pleasure of was the putrid Aneka in Lovina, which had a green pool with floating plantlife, the breakfast included boiled sausages and burnt eggs from powder, the rooms had somebody else's sheets still on the bed and the toilet hadn't had the pleasure of a clean between guest until we screamed at the manager. We walked our bags through the fence after one night.

    We treat ourselves at the Mulia in Jakarta. Designed by Versace and absolutely over the top in every conceivable way (you get 8 pillows in your gold splashed room). The breakfast is a in a room the size of a ballroom with about two dozen chefs serving every cuisine you may require or be tempted by...sushi next to dim sim next to Malay curries next to five different kinds of muesli and so on....all for about $110 a night.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3208 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    The Constellation in Vientiane, Laos, in 1975. Immortalised by John Le Carre in The Honourable Schoolboy , but since fallen on harder times. Half a bloodstained sheet on the bed, and the hand-held shower head detached right in your hand. Presumably the rumoured CIA bugs planted in the walls were equally disfunctional. It was rumoured that ladies of the local diplomatic corps who donated their castoffs to the one thrift shop in town could have the rare experience of seeing their expensive threads recycled by the local ladyboys. An interesting slice in time.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3564 posts Report Reply

  • Joanna,

    When I stayed at the Quest Ponsonby, I slept with the window open, after getting very very drunk and woke up going "Oh fuck, who's in bed with me?" because I could hear people talking - but it turned out it was just noise from the cafe in the courtyard.

    The crappiest hotel I've stayed at in Auckland was the Copthorne Harbourview - expensive, terrible service and really run-down rooms, and I love the Quadrant because you can watch television from the toilet and their hot tub is perfect for after gigs when your feet are all in pain.

    I really liked the Museum Hotel in Wellington too, although I was drunk the whole time I was there, so I don't know if I can give it a proper review.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 727 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    There is the Victoria Hotel on Little Collins Street in Melbourne (behind the Town Hall) which used to be the preferred destination for squatters come to town for a little discrete disipation, but has move slightly down market over the years. Now, it's kind of like The Overlook out of The Shining with a complimentary breakfast and faintly bewildered Asians.

    I do have to give it points for being the only hotel I've ever stayed at where the bathrooms where so clean, the smell of bleach was simultaneously eye-watering yet arousing.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12040 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Chapman,

    When I asked at a hotel in Udaipur, India when taking a room whether the sheets were clean I was told "Don't worry, they haven't been used by an Indian."

    Wellington • Since Nov 2008 • 132 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    the Victoria Hotel on Little Collins Street in Melbourne

    I liked that hotel! Are my standards too low? (I paid for one of the 'upmarket' rooms, though.)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3661 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    Last month in Dubai, the hotel car from the Niwa Heights Hotel took us to a meeting at an industrial park. We'd agreed on a price with the hotel after they had convinced us not to use a meter cab. After leaving the meeting, on our return, the driver tried to triple the price or he'd dump us on the side of a highway in the desert.

    I had to call the hotel on my cellphone who seemed little concerned when we finally made it back. It seems extortion was not unacceptable or worth an apology.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3208 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking,

    First Job, in Whakatane, Feb 1983. I was 18. Got put up at the Whakatane Hotel til I got a place.

    Small room, with one bed - a wire mattress which sagged lower than our current account deficit. One washbasin in the corner, which rattled everytime anyone else on the floor used a tap.

    One sash window, out onto the main street. When the wind blew it rattled. The aroma from the takeaways across the road wafted in (the takeaways was one of a small chain across the central North Island around that time – they tried to emulate KFC, had a name something like the Cheerful Chicken).

    Communal showers and toilets along the corridor. (the proprietors hadn’t taken advantage of a tax break in Muldoon’s first Budget which encouraged hotel proprietors to install en-suite bathrooms in hotels).

    Wallpaper that sort of psychotically tanned colour, but I suspect it had once been a different colour, in about 1954.

    Meals in the dining room: choice of fish or meat, the meat part alternating beef, lamb, pork. It came with vegetables: spuds, of course, and a blend of boiled silverbeet, pumpkin and cabbage. In summer. Dessert was tinned fruit and cream.

    You could order a glass of McWilliams Red if you felt like pushing the boat out.

    I remember thinking, wow, staying in a hotel. At last, the big time.

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 805 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I liked that hotel! Are my standards too low?

    If they are -- so are mine. Adored the place -- reasonably priced, good location and I wasn't accosted by a pair of identical twins inviting me to play with them. Forever. Then again, start the day off with all the bain-marie bacon I can eat and I'm easy.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12040 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F,

    Very much a hotel newbie here - the nicest place I can remember staying is the Royal Seoul on a stopover at the end of 2006. A very good room for airline-paid accomodation, and the view was incredible - although I may have just been dazzled by the sheer neon wattage of Seoul on first sight.

    The other enduring hotel memory I have is the awkwardness of getting nightly cold calls from prostitutes to our room phones whilst our group was staying in Chinese hotels. Presumably someone had a list and a dialer and had sold the info to local entrepreneurs who used it to go after lone male travellers. It was quite something to watch my partner's dad pick up the ringing phone, and quickly say "Nonono" in Chinese whilst going beet red at the same time before hanging up.

    This was an annoying problem in every place we visited, although we learnt to abbreviate the experience by getting the ladies to answer the ten pm phonecalls - one oestrogen-inflected "Wei?" and the caller would promptly hang up without a word.

    Needless to say this stuff did not go, as Nigel Cox used to write, in the official register of things that really happened.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1566 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    The Stradivarius Hotel.
    Now there was a vile inn
    Fnahh fnahh

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4931 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    I remember the Sultan Ahmet in Istanbul vividly.
    The sign outside proclaimed "Western Style Lavatory" so, having had a gutsfull of Asian style "Lavatories" I figured this would be spattering of luxury. On entering the bathroom I discovered the aforementioned device, it was full to the brim with, well, what do you think? I went back to the reception desk and informed the rather grubby reception bloke of the situation,
    "I will fix for you now sir" he rang a small hand-bell and a young Turk scuttled into view. A few words were exchanged and the young chap scurried off to my room. He emerged carrying the toilet bowl, dashed out to the back yard and tipped the contents into a corner. After a quick hose down he returned the bowl to my room. I said nothing and wandered dazed and confused out into the bustling streets of Constantinople

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4931 posts Report Reply

  • linger,

    the Victoria Hotel on Little Collins Street in Melbourne

    I liked that hotel! Are my standards too low? (I paid for one of the 'upmarket' rooms, though.)

    Your standards are up to you, but: I actually stayed there once, in 2003, again in one of the 'upmarket' rooms. The university I was visiting were ... surprised when they heard where I was staying. With good reason. I would have to say the high point of the room was the resident mouse.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 921 posts Report Reply

  • linger,

    spattering of luxury

    Well, quite. Still, it could be worse, as described by Peter Moore... Damn, that's an ugly site. The same book is here at Amazon.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 921 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    OK Steve B, obligatory (appreciative) groooan-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I second the groaning.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18991 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Appreciatively.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16794 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Suppose I'd better say something about hotels. A few short stay Welli examples. I enjoyed the Copthorne Oriental Bay - easy walk across to the beach and well laid out rooms, good staff, decent food, etc.

    Museum Hotel apartment wing was cool, quirky style and good staff - but crap chef. Chat with Chris Graham in the lift was a bonus, as was the cute blue pod espresso machine in the room.

    Duxton was bit over the top for me, though the bar was good. I found it strange for staff to knock on the door at about 8pm asking if I needed anything. Surely that's what room service is for, I thought.

    Not a hotel but one of the old Terrace Villas is probably the best spot I've found in central Welli - could happily have lived there for a long time.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16794 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    It's good to know we are all groan people here :-)

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4931 posts Report Reply

  • Stewart,

    Haven't really got stories of extremes in hotels, either good or bad. I've stayed in a number of very good, very expensive hotels (I have a wife that likes to be indulged and what's money any good for if you're not spending it making the one you love happy?).

    On a recent trip around the South Island we stayed in an All Seasons in Ch'ch, on Papanui Rd, which was pretty scuzzy given the cost. It had a wash-sink & a fridge in the corridor between the lounge area & the bedroom - the fridge had a toe-biting door that got me twice before I got wise to it.
    The Mercure in Dunedin was well-appointed but the room was small & my sweetheart didn't like the lack of air-con (alternative was to open the window onto Princes St, not conducive to a good night's sleep) or the lack of a wardrobe. I didn't mind so much. The food was good there, especially the breakfasts, and there is a young lady in the bar/dining area called Chloe who is a standout for service. (Not in a double-entendre way)
    The hotel we stayed in Te Anau was rather soulless, but the counter was staffed by a little woman who had some sort of 'condition' that made me wonder about putting her in charge of reception, but she seemed to do an alright sort of job.
    The hotel in Queenstown was very good, although again I can't remember its name (the Heritage maybe?) It had a central dining area & 3 blocks of accommodation. The food in the dining room was pricey but good. I honestly think I had the best meal of my life there.
    The Punakaiki Resort was devoid of character and wasn't good value for the cost. The staff mostly didn't seem to give a damn and the standards in the restaurant left quite a bit to be desired - filthy wine glasses, spilt coffee, smears on the cutlery - that sort of thing.

    The motels we stayed in varied dramatically from a down-market, "60's revisited" Kingswood Motel in Waimate (where the tea bags seemed to be originals from the 60's with no flavour at all) to an expensive but good-value Palms Motel in Nelson.

    I did wonder about starting a website with personal experiences about the places we stayed, detailing good/bad service and value but work keeps getting in the way of that plan.

    Got a lot of overseas hotels I could chunter on about, too...

    Te Ika A Maui - Waitakere… • Since Oct 2008 • 572 posts Report Reply

  • Beatrix,

    I tend to spot hotels and then return to stay there. The Twin Peaks Motor Lodge in Taupo HAD to be visited, if just for amusing sign photos. The Lodge itself was totally fine, if completely NON-weird. And had NO PIE. Next in line is the Klansman up North, which deserves a night I think. Purely for the AWFUL name.

    And when I can summon the courage, it's going to be the Argyle in Hunterville. I've been there for lunch twice now, on the way through to Wellington, and it's been a little hair raising each time. Good burgers though. Terrifying collection of dragon memorabilia and freakish juxtaposition of thank-you letters from school groups and pornographic cartoons. And top marks for invoking the fear that it might be YOUR LAST NIGHT ON EARTH.

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 15 posts Report Reply

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