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Every cloud has a silver lining…

Posted by on 16 July, 2012

But it is bloody hard to see it at night, in the dark, when you have had a long day and are tired…though thankfully tonight I was fortunate that the moon was bright enough to let me see a glimmer!

The cloud in this instance was our reserved hotel…in particular their automated check in machine… Whenever you reserve accommodation, there is always a slight risk that something will go wrong and you will not be able to stay where planned…it could be that you are delayed, there is a natural disaster, or in the event of today, the simple act of swipping a credit card and keying in the reservation number was just too hard for the poor check in machine.

The venue…the Etap Hotel, Menton, France. For the prepaid 85 euro we had expected a basic family room in a hotel on the road into Menton close to the Italian border, opposite the marina. We found the hotel no problem at all…it was about 10:15pm and I knew the manned check in counter would be closed, so was not at all surprised the doors were locked. The check in machine was conveniently located beside the doors…so again, no problem…but the issue arose when the machine did not respond to my touch or my credit card…the constant display of ‘please wait’ just would not budge. A couple of other potential clients also came and tried, but to no avail… After trying the emergency help buzzer, which did not buzz…trying to call the hotel number from our reservation, which did not answer…trying to call Etap, which would not recognise our response to their automated questions…and trying to contact Accor Le Club, who are not open at 11pm on Sunday nights…there was not much more we could do there…so we got back in the car and drove to the nearest Accor hotel, the All Seasons, Menton.

Now, my french is pretty limited, but thankfully the lovely girl at the All Seasons spoke some English and I managed to communicate my issue. I know I shouldn’t stereotype, but by french service standards this girl was exceptional…she couldn’t go and make the machine work of course, but she did call her boss and got him to try and call the owner of the Etap…when this proved unfruitful, she negotiated a very good price for us to stay at the All Seasons. Whilst she couldn’t give us a family room, she did arrange two double rooms side by side and promptly effected the paperwork to let us get up to the room with a minimum of fuss so that we could get the girls into bed…

So now, it is nearly 1am…I am freshly showered, solidly wifi connected and relaxing on a comfy bed typing this blog…about to have a good sleep and then wake up and go downstairs for a buffet breakfast…and the girls don’t have to listen to my snoring either, but I know they are safe and secure just a few metres away!

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