Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Rotterdam Hilton is crap

Blackout curtains behind sheers

As an official of the Federation of Gay Games I attended the Eurogames held in Rotterdam, and needed to find accommodation for my partner and me.
Not-so-fashionable styling

On I found a “top secret” hotel described as a four-star hotel near the central station. The services provided and the location were interesting, and the price seemed reasonable: 405 euros for two persons for five nights. Among the services on the special “top secret” page were a fitness center, which interested my partner, and free ethernet and wifi internet, which interested me. We regretted that breakfast wasn't included, but thought it was still a good offer, even without this service, which we could always pay extra for it we desired.

Wiring worthy of 1911
For “top secret” hotels, you only learn the name of the hotel when you pay. In our case, it was the Rotterdam Hilton, which we found reassuring, thanks to the Hilton brand name.

Extra-thick flat-screen TV
We arrived at the hotel last Wednesday, and got a room with a king-size bed. At check in we learned that breakfast cost 25 euros, which meant it was out of the question for us.

Burl veneer furniture, looks good with shoulder pads
It was when we arrived in the room that things started looking bad. The decor is decidedly old fashioned, as if the place had been done up in 1980 and never been updated. The TV, for example, is a cathode ray tube model rather than a flat screen. It is quite small and placed in a corner, hard to see from the left side of the bed. The outlets for the electricity, TV, and telephone all run outside the wall, and all the wiring is very visible, and quite unsightly.

Control buttons built in to bedside table probably once did something
The rest of the decor was very worn, with dirty baseboards, damaged corners of walls, holes in walls, and chipped paint on doors. Speaking of doors, the bathroom door had a closing mechanism that was crudely installed, and a slot cut out of the bottom of the door, perhaps to improve ventilation. The closet door did not cover the minbar area, leaving the unattractive fridge exposed. There is no safe in the room.

Scuffed baseboards
The curtains have a loud pattern, and the sheers are installed in an odd way, in front of the blackout curtains. As neither of these sets of curtains are operated by a curtain pull, you need to reach back behind the sheers to open and close the blackout curtains.

Worn wallpaper
The telephone at the desk didn't work, nor did the ethernet connection. When I called the front desk to ask how to get the ethernet to work, I learned that internet was in fact not included in the price of the room. I insisted that I had seen that it as included when I purchased the room, and that I would never have chosen a hotel that did not include internet in the price of the room. After several calls back and forth, the situation remained unchanged, with the manager saying that if there was a problem, it was with, and that I could only take it up with them when I got home, which of course did nothing for my current situation. Nor was I willing to pay their ridiculous fee of 22 euros a day for internet service (“including access to your email!”), a scandalous amount of money for a service that much more affordable establishments include in the price of the room.

The minibar, home of the mysterious "Dutch Assortment"
While I imagine that the internet issue may be the fault of, I was surprised that no solution was proposed by the front desk. They could have, for example, offered one day of internet access during our five-day stay as a goodwill gesture. As it was, I was able to access internet at the Eurogames accreditation center,but I would of course have preferred to have access in my room.

Smallish closet, with no safe
In the bathroom, we were surprised to find that hot water came out of the cold water tap. When we reported this, a technician quickly came, and after letting the water run for 20 minutes and fiddling with various other things, managed to get the water down to lukewarm. This problem came and went throughout our stay.

Is this a snake-door for easy access to the bathroom?
As compensation for the water problem, we were offered vouchers for two free drinks from the minibar, from the “Dutch assortment”. As there was nothing on the minibar price list that indicated which items were part of the “Dutch assortment”, I called the front desk, where they were unable to tell me just what that meant, unless it might mean anything produced in the Netherlands, or to be safe, just beer and wine. They were unable to say whether this included soft drinks, juices, and water.

When we arrived, we also noted that one of the pillow cases was stained. We called the front desk to ask for it to be changed, but when we returned in the evening, we found the dirty case still in place.

The location of the hotel was good for us, but we were disappointed to learn that the nearest metro station was closed, information which was not indicated on the website of the hotel. We were also somewhat disturbed by the constant noise coming from the next street over, where the outdoor bars and nightclubs play loud music as late as 5 am. Despite being on the 6th floor, we were disturbed.

1 comment:

Aunt Messy said...

Marc - just posted to Slate, but we're going to be in Paris for Thanksgiving. Gotta love those air miles!

Did you (and your partner if he wants to come) want to meet us for a drink or something? Let me know at