Subject: Hotel service and other things ...
Hi all, I have had good and bad service regardless of the type of hotel. I usually prefer a professional approach from the people working in the hotel (although I loved it the time when we were invited to fruit jelly by the owners of the Hotel Grotta in Naxos, another story), and I know that there is a very fine line between professionalism and coldness.

My favourites until now are :

1._ Two years ago, we went on an organized tour to India and Nepal. Very expensive tour company, disastrous tour guide. Our last two days were in Jaipur, at the Jaj Mahal Palace (see ). Stunning hotel. We had booked 1 double and 1 individual room, because the tour company told us that it was difficult to find triple rooms in India. When we arrived to the hotel, we found that they had assigned us a triple room. We complained to our guide, and after three hours (and some lies about us to other people in the group), she told us that the hotel was full and that I could have her single room. It was located in an annex of the hotel, without proper AC, without a window, really awful. At one oīclock in the morning I got dressed and went to reception. The night manager was really kind. He allowed me to email my TA in Spain, and furthermore, he explained me why had happened everything. It seems that our guide had changed per fax (I saw it) our booking. She had to share a room with another guide, and her husband was coming into town, so she was going to need a room for the husband (room that had been charged to the tour company). I couldnīt sleep at all in the tiny room, so at around 5 oīclock I packed my bag, went back to the reception, and told the manager that I really needed another place. The whole day passed, and I think that the lack of sleep and the arguments made me feel sick. Try to climb on an elephant with stomach cramps ... I spent the day drinking Coke, and in the afternoon we were dropped by the guide at the Jaipur bazar (she was probably thinking that we wouldnīt manage at all). It was one of the best experiences in the trip. On our return, I was given the key to my new room. It was one of the de-luxe rooms in the hotel, huge sitting space, balcony over the garden, fruit basket and a note saying that they were sorry about all the incoveniences. I met my friends for dinner, and the guide came and told me that she had done everything possible, but that I had to stay in the tiny room. You should have seen her face when the hotel manager came to ask me if everything was fine with the new room, and if we needed something else. The guide, of course, hadnīt spoken with him at all ... The only thing I regret is that I didnīt feel OK to go swimming, but it was a gorgeous place, with fortune-tellers, peacocks, puppets, wonderful food ...

2._ As I mentioned before, the hotel Grotta in Naxos. A famly place, pretty simple. They didnīt have a TV in the rooms, but lots of books in the living-cum-breakfast room. Dimitris Lianos, the owner, will pick you up at the arrival of your ferry. It is a cheerful place, and Iīll certainly get back there.

3._ The Royal Viking in Stockholm. Lavish breakfast buffet, very swedish rooms, and located right by the central train station. I like it a lot.

4._ The K#rtnerhof in Vienna. Itīs centrally located, between St. Stephenīs cathedral and Schwedenplatz (and very near to two of the best ice-cream parlour in Vienna, Schwedenplatz and Hohe Markt, I prefer this one). It has a tiny Jugendstil lift, and a terrasse that can be use during the summer. Good breakfast, quiet. The twin rooms are cheaper than the double ones, but they are quite comfortable.

5._ The Hotel Iberia in Cáceres. A one-star place, but plenty of charm and wonderfully located by the Plaza Mayor. My sister has stayed at a new one they have just opened, and she says that it is also a good place. Itīs the place where many of the locals send the family and friends, so there should be a reason ...

6._ The hotel Perseo in Florence. What can I say? Simple, clean, and good coffee for breakfast. After my sister and my mum fell sick last May, it was great to be asked if I needed anything, if they could help me, and how they were feeling. But ask for a room in the back, it is quieter there.

7._ The Princesa Sofia Intercontinental in Barcelona. They were professionals, but the best thing of all is the swimming pool, a hotel swimming pool made for serious swimming. I loved it !

8._ And I have liked a lot the Grand Hotel des Balcons in Paris. Small rooms, but clean, well located, and we had a balcony!

Kind regards, Covadonga Bilbao - Spain