Hospitality must come with a sunny smile
I haven't flown 22 compression-stocking hours to cop a tongue-lashing from a hotelier in Istanbul, a city that's renowned for its hospitality. The last time I came across an irate hotel worker in this part of the world was in Athens just before the 2004 Olympics, when my passport was hurled at me across a reception desk like a flat stone skimming across a lake. My crime? I had dared to ask for its return.
Why would anyone work in hospitality if they can't stand the idea of dealing with the public? Sydney-based Peter Hook, spokesman for giant hotel group Accor, says there still are hospitality executives who are obviously unsuited to the rigours of the industry.
"Service is what makes or breaks a tourism business, so if hotel staff aren't personable, it really doesn't matter how good the accommodation is, the experience will be a let-down," Hook says.
Nevertheless in Istanbul, when I request the bill after a three-night stay at a boutique hotel and ask when the complimentary transfer will be available, all hell breaks loose.
In a low, angry voice, the clerk claims he told me to order the transfer the previous day. He hadn't. There would be no car transfer for me.
Things improve when we book into the Crowne Plaza Istanbul -- we are upgraded to a junior suite after management admits our Expedia booking has been lost.
But the standout hotel is the Sirkeci Konak in Istanbul's Old Town, where staff invite us to check in early, encourage us to partake of the breakfast buffet and offer trays of turkish delight with a personally signed letter from the owner, Faruk Boyaci, telling us to contact him if we have "even the slightest dissatisfaction" with our stay.
All guests are given a package of apple tea, turkish delight and boiled sweets when they depart. Sure, it could be seen as sickly sweet marketing, but I am recommending this hotel. And I doubt you will encounter the prospect of flying passports.
Source: The Australian, 7 July 2012