Today could have been so different were it not for the sheer incompetence of a select few individuals.
I'm currently sitting in a hotel in Reading, England, tomorrow is the VBUG
2004 conference at the Microsoft UK campus.
I arrived at Reading station, my train was nearly half an hour late in, which was fair enough, these things happen. I jumped in to a cab and he took me to the Hotel I'd booked at, the Millennium Madejski Hotel, on arriving I was stunned at its beauty, it is truly an awe inspiring place, marble, foliage, wood, gorgeous.
On approaching the desk and declaring that I had a room reserved in the name of "Winstanley", I was met with looks of confusion by the lady behind the counter. She took my name and card and then promptly told me that I was not due to arrive until tomorrow. Ok so they mucked up my reservation, again, these things happen, it's ok, just change it and we're all sorted. But alas no, they are fully booked, so I'm up a certain creek without a certain paddle.
The receptionist asked if I would like a room in another hotel and that she would hunt around for one for me, so she did and she found one, I was informed it would cost £150 for the night in this other hotel, £150 that *I* would have to pay because *they* have cocked up my reservation, but they have no choice until the reservations people are in tomorrow, who coincidentally only work 08:00 - 18:00. I accepted the room, thinking I will have the Millennium Madejski Hotel reimburse the additional cost (Ha! This remains to be seen). The room was booked as was a taxi to take me there.
The taxi arrived, 10 minutes later I was at the The Park International Hotel, the taxi driver informed me the fare was £10. I was flabbergasted, the Millennium Madejski Hotel had not even paid for the taxi, what kind of service is that from a £200 a night hotel when *they* have mucked up my reservation?
The Park International Hotel, Reading. What a beautiful friendly hotel, at least it will be when they have finished building the bloody place.
There is scaffolding all over the car park, the courtyard is covered in cement, the door stop in my room is nothing more than a raw plug sticking out of the floor, all of the window handles have been removed so they cannot be opened (no air conditioning), the bath plug will not seal so it's impossible to run a bath, the television does not work, there is no internet access, there is no hotel information in my room, just a bible which might actually be my only salvation from this hell, and the room stinks of building materials (putty and the like).
The staff, well, I've never seen such a rag tag bunch of non-English speaking people even when I've been abroad. As I arrived the receptionist, a young chap with a strong French accent, thrust a registration card in front of me and grunted, he took my card and billed me, even before I'd seen my room, a nice touch. I approached the bar and it took the young lady behind the bar more then two minutes to understand me saying "A pint of John Smiths please". I arrived at around 10 pm and was kindly informed by the bar maid "No food! No Food!", on approaching reception for room service I was informed by an older gentleman that "No room service, is closed!".
So I started to write this, of course, it's offline so I'll have to upload it tomorrow when I am back in the Millennium Madejski Hotel, that is of course if they can find my reservation, and I don't massacre the duty staff in the process.
I have a taxi booked from the Park International Hotel to take me to the Millennium Madejski Hotel to drop off my bags, and then take me on to the Microsoft Campus here in Reading. I wonder what tomorrow has in store for me, a plague of frogs perhaps or maybe I'll awaken to find I'm in some kind of post nuclear winter.
I'm bloody starving ... brekkie starts at 07:00 so the dodgy receptionist tells me anyway...
Additional: I've just pulled back the bed sheets to discover a blood stain, fantastic, just what one needs.