Monday, 4 August 2008

Service without a smile

A French Magazine reader wrote to me complaining about a recent stay in France that left a distinctly bitter taste in her mouth. What was the source of her ire? It wasn't the feeble euro exchange rate she got for her hard earned pounds. Nor was it an over-priced, below-par meal, dog poo on the trottoir or even striking public sector workers (at least one of these can usually be relied upon to wind someone up on holiday).

She had, in fact, been on the wrong end of some shockingly bad customer service at a (British-run) B&B near Carcassonne. A frosty reception (ie, the welcome, not the porch), uncleaned bathrooms, messy tables at breakfast (not cleaned since dinner the previous evening), unkempt gardens that didn't resemble the publicity photos... Her list went on, but the gist of it was that the owners couldn't really care less about making her stay a pleasant one.

I can sympathise. I've stayed in a few miserable places in France in my time, and I've written in the magazine before about why the star ratings system in French hotels needs looking at. It needs to reflect the subjectively assessed attributes of an establishment that currently aren't measured (friendliness, anyone?). We wait with baited breath. Have you had any similar experiences on your French travels?

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