Lately we’ve been checking into some gorgeous grand old piles – with varying states of upkeep. While we love those old radios that they sometimes have above the headboard, the other anonymous switches that old hotels have drive us crazy.
If these butler buttons haven’t worked since 1965, it might be time to rip them out of the walls, unless a butler from 1965 turned up every time you pressed it. At least a butler from 1965 would agree with you that the button is stupid, it should be ripped out of the wall, and he’d have the contacts to make it happen on a Sunday afternoon.
But don’t get us started on modern hotels that overdo the gadgetry. Those PDA-style touch screens that close the drapes, change the TV channel, adjust the air-conditioning, turn on the Jacuzzi, and could probably make you an espresso, generally turn out to be useless. I’m sure that Apple’s Steve Jobs has probably hurtled a few across a hotel suite out of sheer frustration.
Here’s a tip to hoteliers thinking of implementing these systems. When it takes the guy or gal who shows you to the room fifteen minutes to explain how the interface works on the stupid thing, that’s a sign of technology making life harder rather than easier. And it’s wasting your staff’s time and making your guests aggravated.
Last month we experienced Villa Crespi(pictured) a magical old Moorish-style hotel on Italy’s Lake Orta that puts the history and grandeur of the hotel first and keeps things simple for guests, so we asked Francesca Blench, Marketing Manager for Villa Crespi to respond:
“Technology seems to be a godsend to many hotel guests, especially those staying in city hotels for business reasons. They are habitual travellers who need certain things and usually get them, Internet connection in particular. As an old hotel that offers hospitality to both business and leisure travellers we try to strike a happy balance between services and amenities for both types of travellers. We provide electricity at all times (!) and offer satellite TV, but that is pretty much it really, even Internet access is only available at reception. We feel that the environment needs looking after as much as our guests, so we adhere to many means of saving energy. We don’t even have key card activation for the doors and electricity. And there’s no need for our receptionists to make long explanations to guests checking in, because all they really wish for is good solid rest and a fine meal. We welcome our guests to a restful, experiential stay, far from the frustration of electromagnetic smog fears! And we always trust our guests will return a second time.”
Well, we certainly intend returning, but next time it will be for a holiday rather than work.