More hotel gripes (and kudos, too) ... Future for Carnival cruise lines
I'm always amazied at how hotels can do so many things right. And then screw up on something basic.
I'm attending a funeral today in Windsor, and we spent the night at a Hampton Inn and Suites on Huron Church Road, near the Ambassador Bridge. (As an aside, the city is buzzing with construction owing to the new bridge to Michigan, which I would think would hurt businesses along this strip, which is now the connection between the 401 and the bridge.) We ended up in a pretty good sized room for about $150.
There's a small workout room and a heated, salt-water pool in a sunny spot and a hot tub. Very nice. They have a pretty good free breakfast, with reasonably strong coffee and cheese omeletes and back bacon and juice and cereal and oatmeal and breads and Belgian waffles. Standard mostly, but a nice touch with the tea biscuits and more than just one kind of jam (I'm a big jam guy and have grown to hate standard, boring strawberry).
The staff is quite helpful. I thought I had lost my Blackberry and was searching for it in the dark. The woman at the front desk sent out a nice young man with a small flashlight to help, although it turned out to have fallen under the work desk in my room.
As I said, the room is nice. Nothing exceptional but clean and bright and good size. There's a good-sized counter in the bath (always a key in my book) and a nice shower/bath with good water pressure and nice amenities.
I noticed at breakfast this morning that they also have breakfast bags to go if you don't have time to down a regular starting meal. The bags are at the front desk and have an apple, muffin and water. Very nice. Maybe it's common but I've never seen it.
Lastly, I'll mention that we'd heard some hotels give bereavement rates to folks in town for a funeral, much like airlines will if you have to fly somewhere last minute. They said they usually only give it if we're attending a service at a particular funeral home and not the one we were at on Sunday. But they made an exception and knocked $10 off the rate.
So I'm quite happy with this place. Except for one thing. They built a very large, nice wooden desk with a light and plugs in the right places and Internet access and a phone. Perfect. But the chair is so low to the ground that it just doesn't work.
Why can't hotels measure things properly and put in chairs that meet the desk height? It's hugely uncomfortable - and bad for your back and shoulders and arms - to type at the wrong height. I've piled up pillows on the chair but they keep sliding around and I can't get comfortable and I just know my back is going to be acting up.
So there you go. 95 per cent great. But they missed a pretty big one (and a pretty easy one) when they got the wrong chairs. Or, more likely, when they bought desks that are too high.
Still, I quite like the place and would definitely recommend it for a stay in Windsor.
CARNIVAL TROUBLES AHEAD?
The second high-profile incident involving a Carnival Cruise ship has some folks wondering about the company's future.
In case you missed it, a cruise ship belonging to the troubled company lost power in St. Maarten the other day, forcing passengers to be flown back to Miami. This came only a short time after another Carnival ship lost power in the Gulf of Mexico, forcing a days-long ordeal with a toilet shortage and folks sleeping out in hallways or on deck for fresh air.
You DO have to wonder about their maintenance and upkeep given the problems, which are unrelated to the Costa Concordia incident in Italy last year but still mean trouble for Carnival, which controls Costa.
A story on CNN.com today quotes an avid cruiser as saying he'd go on another Carnival ship but that' he''s keeping a close eye on the company. I'm sure he's not alone.
The CNN story says Carnival Cruise Lines announced a "comprehensive review" this week of all its ships, prompted by the engine fire that led to the Triumph's stranding in the Gulf of Mexico in February.
DEAL OF THE DAY WILL RETURN TOMORROW
My Jaunt.ca deal of the day will return to this space tomorrow.....