Monday, July 16, 2007


Did you feel 'at home’ last time you were in any hotel?

Any hotel you go to nowadays, 5 star, 6 star, 7 star, 3 star, in India or internationally, it strives to make you ‘feel at home’ while you stay 'on work'. That seems to be their singular aim, or so they all like to believe .

Isn’t that an anomaly? A hotel is a hotel and a home is a home and never the twain shall meet. At least, not the way the hospitality folks are currently going about it. If I suddenly found a chocolate or a rose on my bed at home, just when I was ready to hit it bone-tired, with a card that said ‘Good Night’, I would first go check the temperature of my spouse. Then have a sleepless night wondering what happened. Likely, he would do the same, if he did not rightaway get a heart attack at finding said card. Perhaps it is different in other homes, who knows. My thoughts are basis sample of one.

Take the DO NOT DISTURB sign... Where is it that you are most likely to see this, in your life? In the hotel rooms you are passing through. Of course, to keep out unwanted knocks. Yet, how many people know you in this faceless hotel anyway? (Unless it is some company convention at the hotel, and this is the only way we can get our revenge on rackety colleagues). If it is the laundry guy or the guy who comes to clean the room, why can’t the system recognize that this is an unnecessary knock EVEN WHEN THERE IS NO ‘D N D’ sign outside the door.

I mean, if towels / laundry was needed, the guest would’ve asked for it, right?

And again. Where is it that this sign is least likely to be seen? Outside your home main door. Imagine putting a ‘Do Not Disturb’ outside your main door. First, my neighbour, who is also my friend in need, is going to get miffed at this weird notice. Each friend and neighbour is going to take it personally , that it was put solely to keep THAT person away. The quickest way to lose friends. Suicide in a collective culture. And we also do not truly want to turn away that important caller, perhaps the courier, even all those bills with last dates for payment coming up. The concept of the post box in which letters are 'dropped' having become defunct some while ago. No postman brings anything important that does not need an acknowledgment signed, for some reason.

A friend of mine, now at the highest possible echelons of his company, orders ‘ ghar ka dal-chawal’ when he stays atthe fancy hotels in the world, and is proud that the regular hotels cater to it too. At a pretty hefty price charged separately (I gagged when I heard it cost equivalent of Rs. 2500/- in one place), but so what, the company is paying, he says nonchalantly.

Precisely my point. If you really wanted to endear yourself, hotel dearest, when you know he is a dal-chawal guy, why not make the just like mom makes it dal-chawal ‘on the house’ and gain the best possible brownie points you ever could?

'On the house' is the quickest 'At home' feeling I can think of.


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