On Tuesday evening I was fortunate to enjoy a stay-over at the beautifully located five-star Tintswalo Atlantic on the Atlantic Ocean, at the foot of Chapman’s Peak in Cape Town. The invitation was to try out the newly rebuilt hotel, of which the public rooms were destroyed by a devastating fire in February this year, with accommodation suites renovated, and to provide feedback and suggestions ahead of the reopening of Tintswalo Atlantic on 1 October. A number of media representatives, travel trade representatives, as well as past guests have been invited to experience the Hotel during September. Continue reading →
Yesterday Leeu Collection announced two changes to its signature accommodation and spa property Leeu Estates, located on the outskirts of Franschhoek, with the opening of two restaurants on the estate. The hospitality company continues with its concept of inviting top chefs to operate the food and beverage offerings at Leeu Collection properties, as was recently announced at its Lakes District Linthwaite House property in the UK. Continue reading →
My post below comes from Facebook, a post I wrote in the last few days of my journey through eight countries, walking and dancing 1,2 million steps and just under 1000 km in three months. It was a tongue in cheek story about my journey, motivated in writing my third SwitchBitch Book, but also to share with my Blog readers the World’s 50 Best Restaurants I ate at in Lima, Buenos Aires, Santiago in Chile, Rio de Janeiro, and a Michelin star restaurant in Lisbon, with other great and not so great restaurants, and the interesting Mendoza wine region in Argentina, synonymous with Malbec and the largest in the country. I will be posting stories as soon as I have settled in again and got over the jet lag. Continue reading →
The Sweet Service Award goes to the Park Hyatt Hotel Mendoza and its GM Miguel Ángel Bermejo, for his excellent service recovery after a shaky start when I checked in at the hotel a week ago. He had been traveling and away from the hotel for a few days, yet made time on the day of his arrival to meet with me for a tea/coffee, so that I could share the service incident with him. Before meeting with him, he had already sent three bottles of wine to my room, as well as a vase of flowers for my bathroom. What blew me away was that he had the South African flag hoisted outside the hotel during my stay, an amazing touch. During our meeting he recommended top restaurants in Santiago in Chile, he organised a room for me for an extra night, had top lady clothing shop names sent to my room, had a table reserved for me at a local restaurant he recommended highly, as being the best in Mendoza, and invited me to try their Bistro. He is an excellent listener, and had done his homework on me. He is honest, and not defensive about the feedback. A day later I asked him a question via a concierge, and he came to reception, to say hello personally. Unbelievable service! Continue reading →
The Sweet Service Award goes to the Alvear Palace Hotel, and its Food & Beverage Manager Alfredo Daniel Rodriguez, for its Service recovery. I shared an unsatisfactory experience in the Bar of the Hotel earlier this week with the Hotel Receptionist, who passed on my card to Alfredo. Alfredo emailed me, and then called me, apologised, and invited me for a make-good, to experience their true five star service. And that it was, being shown a behind the scenes set up for a Barmitzvah and then offered the Bar Menu, and invited to order what I wanted. I had a first Jameson in Buenos Aires, and ordered a mushroom quiche with a salad. All sorts of extra treats accompanied this order. Gracias Alfredo and the Alvear. Continue reading →
It has been some years ago that I criticized lazy ‘copy and paster’ Michael Olivier for his lack of ethics in posting stories about wine estates and restaurants on his Blog. Earlier this week my eye caught a glowing thanks to Olivier by Manley Communications, as follows: ‘Thank you dearest Michael Olivier for the fantastic review’. Except that it wasn’t a review at all, it appearing that Olivier has not even visited the newly refurbished Grande Roche nor eaten at its new Viande restaurant! A PR company therefore praising its own media release content has morals as poor as those of the ‘copy and paster’ Olivier!
Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.chrisvonulmenstein.com/blog Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein Instagram: @Chrissy_Ulmenstein
The Sweet Service Award goes to the Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski in Havana, and its PRO Ingrid, for the effortless assistance in booking a room at the five star hotel. I asked to see a room, was shown it by Ingrid, who spoke perfect English, and then advised me to book via the internet as they offer better rates there. She brought her laptop to the front desk, and made the reservation for me, with assistance from the Sales department. By the time I had returned to my BnB, the confirmation of the booking had arrived, without any demand for credit card details or upfront payment.
As a final treat to end off my Portuguese Coastal Camino walk last week, I booked the last night of my stay in Santiago de Compostela at the Parador ‘Hostal dos Reis Católicos’, a five-star luxury hotel located adjacent to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, and closely linked in history to the pilgrimages made to the city, to pay respect to Saint James, whose remains are in a silver casket in the Cathedral. Continue reading →