Hotel ratings - a fine art

During my last, fantastic trip to the Alpes de Haute Provence we had an outstanding, very sociable guide who knew his stuff inside out and then some more. The guy really did almost anything to make our stay as agreeable as possible. I wrote "almost".

He had a weak spot : hotel service was excellent by definition, idem for the food and the rooms. He did not take small criticisms of the hotel very lightly, on occasion even refused to act on them and was really furious when he told us that previous visitors - not related to his organisation - had rated "his" hotel quite low. He almost claimed that a low rating amounted to stealing the bread out of the mouths of the personnel.

Rating is always highly subjective and very rarely equitable and just. More often than not I have seen that the ratings for hotels and restaurants, which I have experienced myself, are far "of course" at least as seen from where I stand. People with an ax to grind spit out a bad rating ; people who were satisfied think "how nice" and just move on.

Now I like the guy's dedication to the hotel, but his customers should come first. Hotel regulations simply cannot take over the life of the guests. Getting breakfast before the indicated hour was a capital sin and, as I like to avoid the morning mob at the breakfast buffet, I did not enjoy that. The man sometimes tended to forget that we were the customers and that the customer is king, most certainly in hotels who live or die with tourist groups.

He almost canonised the hotel staff for serving breakfast at 530 on the day of our return. Now I can understand that is not an agreeable hour to start work at, but it is part of the service. It's their job, period. It's not a favor they do us : we pay them !

So I decided to rate the hotel myself ; service was good, food was cared for - if not always very tasty - and there was a respectable selection of it ; hotel animation was ok. But the rooms were smallish and rather tired although the bathrooms were significantly better.

My overall rating was a "satisfactory", but that's not the real point : the hotel gave me all I wanted, needed and expected, but not to an outstanding degree. Some people tend to forget that distinction and higher grades have to be earned, and that these grades are not that common.

The hotel had three stars. I would have expected it to have a two star status. It was all right, very much all right for a holiday, but it was not a Riviera Palace. And I had an unforgettable trip anyway.

I am willing to point my readers to my detailed rating, as well as the other ratings on the website.

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