The Sweet Service Award goes to Bahia-Sub in Vilanova de Arousa, and its skipper Santiago. The boat company uses its rubber duck, seating about twelve Camino pilgrims at a time, transporting them on the Rio Sar, from Vilanova de Arousa to Pontecesures, a journey of about one hour, but we were on the water for 90 minutes. Skipper Santiago was a true gentleman, slowing down or stopping the engine to show and inform us about interesting sights along the way, including the mussel farming outside Vilanova de Arousa, the second largest in the world, clam fishing, crosses in honour of Saint James and two other holy persons on a little island on the river, and ruins of a church and a castle on the river bank, with a replica of a Viking boat that pilgrims used to travel to Santiago de Compostela. The real spoil was a tea break, with hot tea and a mini muffin served.
The Sweet Service Award goes to Blaque handbag shop in Alto Palermo in Buenos Aires, and the staff member who spoke good English when I shopped for handbags there, as well as another staff member who served me on a subsequent visit, exchanging one of the bags with a new one when the zip was not working properly. 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 →
The Sweet Service Award goes to Central Restaurante in Lima, Peru, and its hostess Chloe, for allocating a table to me for a lunch 24 hours later, when I arrived to eat at Central sister restaurant Kjolle last week. I had not been able to book a table at Central, sixth Best Restaurant on the World’s 50 Best restaurant list, 30 days in advance of my Lima dates via their online reservation system. Continue reading →
The Sweet Service Award goes to Uber in Lima, for its perfect service when I used it during my three days in the city. I did not have to wait for more than two minutes for the Uber to arrive, and Uber advises one to check the driver name and car type and registration number. If only they could fix the driving of the drivers, not being only Uber related, but the style of most Peruvian drivers, with the exception of Taxi Green, which took me to the Hotel on my arrival in Lima with the most considerate and calm driving. Continue reading →
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.
The Sweet Service Award goes to 5-star VP Plaza España in Madrid, and its Guest Experience Manager Samuel Vela, for his kindness to me, despite not staying at the hotel. On my arrival in Madrid, I mistakenly tried to check in at the hotel, having been dropped off outside its door by my Uber driver. Samuel showed me where the hotel that had been booked for me by an airport travel agency was. A day later I needed a beer, due to the heatwave in the city, and as my hotel did not offer this service, I went to the VP Plaza España. Samuel suggested I go up to their Gynkgo SkyBar on the 12th floor, with a lovely view of a lit-up Madrid, and of a thunderstorm, with good service. Continue reading →
The Sweet Service Award goes to the Lisbon train service, for its amazing train to Porto, and for the discount I received when making the booking at the Lisbon station, Initially the ticket seller told me that the second class tickets were sold out, and that I would have to buy a first class ticket at €85 for the three hour trip. He understood my question about a pensioner price, asked to see my passport, and lo and behold, I was given a second class ticket at €22! I mistakenly sat in the first class section initially, and the seats in both classes were almost identical, with footrests, and WiFi! South African trains have a long way to go! Continue reading →