Sunday, May 18, 2008
Iran could be very deceiving in terms of Hotel Hospitality which otherwise has very very friendly people. The people are generally warm and are very happy to meet an outsider. The hotels, now that is a different story.
The first time I went to a hotel with a pretty decently built lobby and a shoe box shaped room. I could hardly turn around in the room. I had reached there early in the morning at 3 AM and had to catch another flight by 1 in the AFternoon. So the Hotel room was required only for few hours. Till breakfast. It was a December and hence very cold in Tehran. They have heaters all over the place. The heater was switched on and the room was extremely warm. I tried opening the windows. But just could not bear staying there for half hour. I freshened myself and rushed to the lobby. I spent the next 2-3 hours, till break fast over there, sleeping on a couch.
The contrast was the hotel I stayed in Esfahan. It was a palace converted to a hotel. Normally affording a room like that in any other country should have costed a decent fortune ($1000+). The room was spatious enough for 2 large beds. The bathroom was huge. The lobby was beautifully decorated with a high dome on top. All over the hotels there were beautiful paintings and the ceilings were filled with wonderful artwork.
Having learnt the lesson on Tehran, this time I booked myself in a better Star rated Hotel. For some reason the reservation was from 8AM. I was there at 4AM. The clerk (who had dificulty locating reservation) said he cannot give the room till 8AM. I said I can pay you for the extra night. He said no. Then as if to threaten, you will pay $200 just for 3 hours. I was so desperate to hit bed, I said yes. He had that "ghost struck me", "you careless idiot" look on his face. Then he said. Sorry no room. So when stick does not work you go to the next level. Beg. I started that. He ultimately said 30 mins later. Iagain hit upon a couch and crashed for a good one hour or so. Again went to the clerk. The minute he saw me, he raised his hands and said, "2 mins". I decided not to move till I get a room. I was given a room after 5 mins. I later realised the crowded lobby was because of people waiting to get their room. How much I miss that, "welcome to our Hotel Sir" line which I usually ignore.