Anyone who enters “Tour Guide” in the registration form at the hotel reception when checking in and even spends the night in about 100 hotels a year can tell a lot. Yes, dear readers, I have long thought about whether I should put this experience report on paper today and after careful consideration decided to go the way of truth of the truth. Today I will give you a little insight behind the scenes of the hotels and tell you what I have experienced over the years in Germany and am still experiencing. It’s only a fraction of what I see every day in the hotel business of this country.
Get ready for this!
You won’t believe it, but German hotels and restaurants force their guests to do their bidding every day and even make much money by doing that. It all happens to you in such a way, it is at minimum rate mass coercion, always a form of pressure up to verbal violence and in one case I even experienced how a hotel owner committed a crime against his customers and this before the eyes of witnesses, including myself. However, this hotelier was not in the least aware of how shamefully he had soiled his distinguished 4-star business. Wait and see:
The kick in the butt
It is 08:00 early in the morning in a 5-star hotel in Konstanz, not far from the lake. My group had arrived the night before. The arrival went without a hitch. The rooms are well furnished and correspond to the price. Everything to our complete satisfaction. A young man queues in front of me and talks to the receptionist. According to his accent, he’s British. I learn that he has just got out of a travel coach, a double-decker bus with a London license plate, parked directly in front of the hotel entrance. He is waiting for 20 rooms to be ready to check in. The young man takes a step to the side; he gives me space so that I can present my request at the reception and before I open my mouth, a flippant receptionist orders me. “Mr. Pahl, you’re the tour guide for the American tour group, aren’t you?” I nod, suspect nothing good and am confirmed: “You have half an hour to leave the hotel. A double-decker coach has been standing outside the door since yesterday evening, and the people there want to go to their rooms. They slept on the bus all night”. My jaw’s falling off. I don’t even get to say what MY concern is, and I am ordered out of the hotel, which charges € 150, – for a double room with breakfast and according to the general rules of the laws of hospitality, allows me at least until 11:00 am to occupy the rooms. I demand to award the manager. He’s not here. I’m asking about the Night Auditor. A young lady comes from the back office of the reception, I politely ask for an explanation and insist on the right of hospitality contained in the sales contract. Without success. In the end, I give up. I say nothing to my guests because I am ashamed before the Americans who travel with me through Germany and I wait for things to happen. Deliberately delaying the departure. In the end, there is great resentment because we also take the time we need to leave. That’s my way of protesting peacefully. My American guests become little aware of all of this, but I am getting informed that from now on I am no longer welcome in this hotel because I did not follow the instructions of the reception. rummy
Broken bones on the skating rink – in the middle of the hotel room
In a charming hotel in the Black Forest, near the Titisee, an area that is very popular among foreign tourists, I spend the night regularly with my tour groups. I know the old owners who have now leased the hotel, and I have always had good experiences with them. I’ve only just really got to know the new tenants by accident through this incident:
A travel group from Argentina arrives with me after an overnight stay in the Black Forest Hotel, three days later in Munich. A Lady from Buenos Aires takes me aside after dinner and tells me that her husband has been sleeping in the armchair of the hotel room for the last three nights. He can`t lay down because of the severe pain he has. In the black forest Hotel, he had slipped down in the shower, and he thinks that he broke a rib. The pain she said, was now almost unbearable. I’m alarmed. Take the woman by the hand, go to her room with her, her husband sits in the armchair and bends himself in pain. I’m shocked. Question why he hasn’t contacted me before? He mentions something about “not that serious,” but now he believes “it is.” I want to call the ambulance. He doesn’t want that. Conclusion, we’re taking a cab to an emergency clinic. Three hours of waiting. A Brazilian doctor in Munich, who is in a good mood and acts very effectively, takes X-rays. The result, two ribs are broken. Doctor’s prescribing a highly potent painkiller. Morphine. We find a pharmacy at midnight, which has the painkiller, but on the prescription is a specific allocation missing, which the doctor has forgotten to write down and we must go again without giving our guest a relief of his pain. I suggest taking the x-rays to the emergency room of a big Munich hospital and ask for immediate help. The brave Argentinian refuses and insists on being brought back to the hotel. The next day he wished to go with me to the office of the Brazilian doctor and try to obtain the medicine finally. With a bad gut feeling I obey, and the next day we, at last, get the long-needed dose in the doctor’s office of the Brazilian physician.
Later complaints to the hotel management in the Black Forest are dismissed. To this day, the ice – skating – rink – like shower floors in the bathrooms of this Hotel have not been replaced. The problem swept under the table. Not to mention any recognition and the associated excuse. A compensation….? Not to even think about!
Poison in the fridge
At the World Forum “Medica” in Düsseldorf, I accompany a doctor’s family (father, mother, daughter and son-in-law, all physicians) to a 5-star hotel and leave them there for three nights in two luxury suites, if they are in excellent care. With € 1200, – per night, one should be allowed to assume that. (Mind you, per apartment) I travel to Munich that same evening to receive the family there again four days later and to accompany them on a journey through southern Germany. After four days, the family arrives at Munich Central Station in a disastrous state of health. The wife of the head of the family – an internist – must get off the train supported by her husband and is weakened on the platform. Her husband, owner of a hospital in Sao Paulo with 2200 employees, does not want to go to the emergency room of a Munich hospital under any circumstances. With a certain premonition of what hospitals in the emergency rooms are doing, he waves away in fear and resists. I take a gentle step with the sick woman to the station toilet facility. The daughter accompanies her mother into the WC. Afterward, my guests want to be taken immediately to their luxury hotel. Ambulance and hospital aren’t an option yet.
At the hotel, I ask for a doctor who arrives there in a short time and brings along half a hospital of medicine and instruments. In minutes, we turn the luxury suite into a hospital room. The doctor unpacks a stand, sets it up and attaches an infusion bag to it. He gives injections, draws blood and indicates that it is food poisoning. The ill colleague – the patient – is too weak to express herself. Her husband, an anesthesiologist, is not able to think clearly, so much he cares about the condition of his wife. In the course of the evening, I learn that the woman has a stomach reduction or a stomach balloon and has hardly eaten anything since her arrival in Germany four days ago. However, she remembers that the last thing she took was a small bottle of Actimel 24 hours ago at the luxury hotel in Düsseldorf. Two hours later, she was in a state of ill health.
The following days in Munich we had to postpone the whole trip altogether. The woman wasn’t transportable. She had to be treated in her suite for five days before she could walk again. The reserved hotels in Garmisch and Innsbruck been canceled. Only on the 6th day, we could go with this family, and their halfway recovered mother to Frankfurt, from where they all flew back to Brazil the next day.
Any inquiries with the hotel in Düsseldorf got lost in the process. The hotel manager didn’t even have the decency to personally report to the family, not to mention an apology. Nobody in this hotel got any further than the secretary. Moreover, yes, this is unfortunately again and again the reaction of many hotels in Germany, from the first moment on, they evade any responsibility
However, that’s not all. Even if the following anecdote sounds almost unbelievable, it is accurate and not invented.
Blackmail and attempted jewelry theft
In a four-star hotel in a beautiful German medieval town, we are accommodated with a family of four. The two daughters of the family from Mexico – in their early twenties – post a review in Google on the evening of their arrival and complain about the dust in their room. Shortly after, my cell phone rings. The receptionist of the hotel informs me about the bad review in Google and asks me to influence the guests so that they take the review out of Google again. I tell them that I am not authorized to do so, but that I gladly talk to the guests and try to reach an agreement.
Then I call the guests in their room, have the incident described to me, listen and suggest that the guests, please reconsider and perhaps they could settle this differently. However, young women are not susceptible to change, and so my wisdom is at an end. I talk to the receptionist, she wants to talk to the guests, but the guests don’t want to talk to her, the whole thing swings up. I suggest waiting for the night and promise to try the next morning again. The following day, I get a call from the hotel owner; he wants to talk to me. I’ll go to the reception and there he is waiting for me. The proprietor makes a threatening face like I’ve done something wrong. I’m the tour guide, and I’m not aware of any guilt.
Mr. Pahl, I give them until departure time to get the ladies to take the review out of Google, or it could be that the ladies can’t leave the country without a problem”. I can’t believe my ears. However, since I am only a service provider of my company, I swallow the comment and try to influence the ladies again. No way. The review stays on Google’s screen, and we leave without explanation.
Thirty kilometers further away, in a small beautiful medieval village on a romantic street, we make a short visit to the City Centre, and one hour later we want to drive on, when the mother of the two young women from Mexico says to me, shockingly: “My ring. I left my diamond ring on the night table of my hotel room”. Now it gets interesting. I call the hotel, and the receptionist immediately connects me with the hotel owner. He doesn’t know anything about a ring, “but it could be that I can still find it if the two ladies would remove the review from Google,” he says. On the contrary, he wouldn’t know if he was able to find the ring, he further explains.
Now this is getting interesting.
We’re heading right back to the hotel. There we find the hotel owner sitting on the terrace, talking on his cell phone. When he sees us, he turns his back on us and phones and phones until the wire glows. Half an hour goes by, and the young women lose their patience. They jump up to the stairs into their hotel room from the night before, come back excited, wheezing and asking for their ring. The hotel owner graciously takes the mobile phone out of his hand. He remains sitting on his armchair on the terrace asking: “Has the review been removed from Google?
“No,” the women answer. “Where’s our mother’s ring?”
“I don’t know,” answers the hotel owner, “but I might be able to find him if…” Before he can finish talking, the mother whose ring it is coming and steps before him She listens to everything he says and screams at the hotel owner: “Let him stick the ring up his ass the thief.” Then the daughters give in and say that they will take the review out of Google, but they want their mother’s ring back. Now everyone goes to the reception of the hotel. The women remove the negative review from Google. The hotel owner gives them their ring back, and before we leave, he comes to me and snaps at me. “Never come to my house with such guests again.”
If you shake your head in disbelief now dear readers, I assure you that every single word I write here is true.
Yes, it looks dark in the German hotel industry. Sometimes one is already glad when one is no longer greeted with a harsh look on the receptions clerk face but instead with a smiling “good morning” at breakfast, or the cold words, “room number,” without a “please,” or a “thank you.” Not mentioning all other rudeness being exposed to by Hotel employees. There are no waiters in the breakfast rooms anymore. Only employees are asking for the room number, and that’s an attacking question, much like a robbery. Apart from the many small unpolite treatments, there could be a breath of fresh air blowing in the German hotel business trade.
However, if tourism is booming, there will probably be no changes for the better.