Five Star Treatment

Jan 18 2016. views 427


Oh! Colombo 
 
Fancy and not so fancy international travel magazines and internet advisories constantly vote or suggest that Sri Lanka as the most promising travel destination in the world. Additionally, Sri Lanka has been acclaimed for its five star hotels in the West, East and South and soon the North. Very soon I am sure that we will see yachts sailing in and private jets flying in to Sri Lanka with billionaires on board, all looking forward to a fabulous unforgettable experience in our resplendent Isle. 
 
Most people in Colombo wonder why they cannot enjoy these exotic dream hotels themselves. However, as much as the heart wishes the purse cannot afford the fancy rates. Nevertheless, it is the diaspora who return annually from the USA, Australia, Canada and Britain that keep the heavily starred hotels in Colombo going during the festive seasons of Christmas and the New Year. These too are the diaspora who are recognized in their respective field in their new homelands and have done well for themselves. Most Colombo hotels look forward to their annual return and are happy to receive them as they actually are the big spenders in the big named hotels in Colombo, especially on the executive floors. 
 
At a lunch I happened to meet an infuriated guest who comes annually on holiday for five weeks and resides on the executive floor in one of these hotels. The lady was furious that on this visit her Tiffany’s ring, a solitaire diamond, had been snitched from her jewellery box and replaced with a cheap replica. She said that over the years odds and ends had been removed from her room, which she had ignored. But on this occasion she was livid as the ring was of sentimental value to her. She reported the loss to the hotel’s management. There was very little cooperation from the hotel until she had a high up from the local forces intervene. Once the high up got involved, the hotel got activated. The resulting hullabaloo on the floor had obviously been noticed by the other occupants on the floor. The next day she found her the ring back in the jewellery box, which was slightly damaged. A reputed Colombo jeweller confirmed that the stone was the real McCoy. Going through the security footage on the floor they recognized the person entering her room. 
 
What shocked the lady the most was that she had tried calling the General Manager of the hotel, who  neither returned her call nor met her and had not shown any interest in the case. Being an annual visitor to the executive floor surely one would expect some sort of concern, but not this GM who was obviously not concerned about the wellbeing of the guests. 
 
Whilst Sri Lanka is trying to lure the high and mighty as well as the billionaires to visit its island, they should ensure that trustworthy and reliable staff are employed and security is at its best. The argument that may be brought up is there is a safety locker in the room and it should be used at all times. Most people do not lock up their stuff in a safety locker on a daily basis and certainly expect five star hotels to employing honest staff rather than thieves, especially in a supervisory or management position. 
 
Our hotels need to move away from the illusions and come to terms with the realities and address them before they lose their acclaim in the international arena.


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