Continued from the previous post – Weekend at the Hyatt – Part 1.
A not so good start in the morning
We woke up hungry on Sunday morning, really looking forward to our room service breakfast. We sat in bed and watched cartoons on Foxtel while we waited for the food to arrive. We’d asked for it to be delivered between 8:45 and 9AM. 9AM came and went. I presumed they were running a little late and thought we should give it a little more time to arrive, but at 9:30AM Jac was feeling grumpy, I was feeling a little foolish, we were both ravenous and I rang Room Service to chase it up. Guess what?
Go on, guess!
They had no breakfast order for us on record.
Did you guess right? :)
The Room Service staff member who took my call said, “It wouldn’t surprise me if someone’s taken the order off your door”.
I understand that if someone (a guest or rogue staff member) happened to think it would be funny to steal our order off the door, it wasn’t necessarily the hotel’s fault. But I didn’t think it was a very good thing if it was a regular occurrence at the hotel. Has this ever happened to you?
Anyway, she said she was very sorry about what had happened and would send up two Australian breakfasts – the Hyatt’s full cooked breakfast – as soon as possible. They arrived in around 20-25 minutes.
Here’s the room service cart, converted to a dining table. Looking at this reminded me of Pretty Woman – you know when Edward (Richard Gere) and Vivian (Julia Roberts) have breakfast together at the hotel after their first night together? He doesn’t know what she’d like, so he orders one of everything on the menu – she eats a croissant and a pancake (this scene is often mentioned by movie buffs as a continuity goof – see goof number nine on this page).
I’d ordered English breakfast tea for two, tomato juice for Jac, orange juice for me. It was a most inviting setting.
Here are Jac’s hot breakfast items: two poached eggs, sausages, bacon, tomato and a potato cake.
I chose to have scrambled eggs with my breakfast.
You got a choice of toast (white, wholemeal or raisin) or fresh bakery items (danishes, croissants or muffins). I asked for a serve of white toast and a serve of mini danishes. We had a selection of mini Beerenberg spreads to choose from: blackberry jam, strawberry jam, marmalade and Australian honey.
The danish with the apricot on the top was filled with lovely custard. The sausage roll-shaped danish was filled with chocolate. I’m pretty sure the other danish was an almond scroll.
A bowl of fresh fruit each was included in our breakfast – honeydew melon, rockmelon, watermelon, pineapple. Just out of interest, on the room service breakfast menu card, they give you a choice of fruit – pineapple, melon, grapefruit and banana. When I spoke with Room Service about our no-show breakfast, she asked me what fruit we’d like with our breakfast. I said, “Everything except grapefruit please”, to which she replied, “That’s no problem as you don’t get grapefruit anyway.” Were they out of grapefruit or is the menu inconsistent with what they actually provide to guests? And what a shame, we didn’t get banana either. Also, just another small detail – the room service order card lists “hash brown” as one of the hot breakfast items with the Australian breakfast; the room service menu in the hotel information booklet calls it a “potato cake”. Having seen and eaten it, we think it’s definitely more of a potato cake than a hash brown. Either way, it’s just another inconsistency.
My scrambled eggs were creamy and buttery and a gorgeous bright yellow. I would’ve liked my bacon a little more well done, but the sausages had a satisfyingly springy meaty texture and the golden potato cake was well seasoned and deliciously fluffy in the centre – I was pretty happy.
Jac loved her eggs, which had runny yolks that were just perfect for mopping up with bits of sausage, bacon and toast.
After breakfast we went for a walk into the city (now a little later than planned) to do some shopping. Fun shopping, not the drudgery that is grocery shopping! :) I bought a couple of books, and we both bought some new clothes – I bought myself a black Espirit jumper from Myer that I’ve become very attached to. It was great being out and about on a sunny day with my favourite person in the world. :)
Welcome back. Enjoy the unexpected fumes.
We returned to the hotel late afternoon. Our room had been serviced while we were out, but unfortunately, Housekeeping had used very pungent-smelling cleaning products – something along the lines of Domestos. We had to keep the bathroom door shut (too much of that smell made me feel ill) and the bathroom exhaust fan on for a few hours (to try and clear the smell a bit). I suppose we could’ve asked Security to open the window panel for us but to be honest I resented being put in this position and refused to do that. I can honestly say we had not dirtied the bathroom or the toilet to such an extent that such strong cleaning product was necessary. Really, we didn’t leave a disgusting brown mess in the toilet bowl or anything like that! The only thing they may have complained about would’ve been the stray black hairs I left on the bathroom bench and perhaps in the shower. Just a few long hairs (my hair is just about waist length) – no short and curly ones to freak out the squeamish, certainly nothing that required disinfectant or bleach to erase the memory of! Seriously though, unless the guests have really dirtied up the place and it would be a health hazard or just plain revolting to leave the stains, skids and smells I really don’t think it’s necessary or appropriate to use such strong-smelling products if the room is still occupied. We’d been there one night, less than a full day. I’ve never had Housekeeping do this in any hotel I’ve stayed in. I’m really not exaggerating when I say the bleach smell was pungent and nauseating.
After our day of walking around town, we didn’t feel like going out again for dinner. We felt much too lazy and relaxed, and decided to order room service. I wish we could order room service all the time!
We studied the menu for sometime.
More criticisms here, I’m afraid.
There’s a restaurant located downstairs called Joe’s Oriental Diner, which serves Thai, Indonesian, Malaysian and Singaporean cuisine. We’d noticed that it was closed on Sunday.
On the room service menu, there’s a section entitled “Joe’s Specialties (12noon -2:30pm, 6:00pm – 10:00pm)”, which lists five dishes available for order via room service.
“I don’t think Joe’s Specials are available today as the restaurant’s closed,” I said doubtfully to Jac, “But if they were available I’d like to try to nasi goreng with chicken and beef satays, fried egg and pickled salad”.
“Maybe the hotel’s kitchen cooks up those dishes on Sundays when Joe’s is closed,” Jac suggested. “If I were you, I’d have Plan B ready though, just in case you can’t order Joe’s.”
I rang Room Service to place our order.
“Are the Joe’s Specialties available for order today?” I asked.
“No, they are not available on a Sunday,” was the answer.
I was prepared to order my Plan B dish, but seriously, why don’t they just write on that section of the menu “Not available on Sundays”?
I’m sure they get people ringing to order Joe’s Specialties on Sundays. If we hadn’t walked past Joe’s earlier we may not have known it was closed. Now, in the room/hotel information there is a section with the opening hours of the hotel’s various eateries. But this is in a separate section of the information; if I skipped that and went straight to the information filed under the “Room Service” tab, all I would see would be the advice that room service is available 24 hours a day and that Joe’s Specialties can only be ordered at the specific times of 12noon -2:30pm and 6:00pm – 10:00pm. Nothing mentioned about days they were unavailable.
Again, this was not a tragedy by any means, but another annoying little detail.
Another tip for staff – use the same terminology as your menu to refer to items on the menu, when speaking with guests. This is something I’ve found annoying at a number of restaurants. When I ordered the beef burger, listed on the menu as “beef burger on a sesame bun with melted aged cheddar cheese”, the staff member I placed the order asked, “Is that the cheese burger?” Yes, it wouldn’t take a genius to work out that we were both referring to the same item, and yes, I realise that a burger with beef and cheese in it is technically a cheese burger, but you should call it by whatever name you want it to be known by on the menu – that’s the terminology your guests will use and recognise.
Jac also pointed out something else on the room service menu. Under Continental Breakfast and Australian Breakfast it says:
“Basket of freshly baked morning bakeries or toast”
Our toast and morning bakeries (danishes) and toast were not served in a basket. We personally don’t care whether we get our baked goods on a plate or in a basket (and I rather liked the toast wrapped in a cloth to keep warm), but why describe it on the menu to that level of detail if you’re not actually going to do that (or if the serving vessel is subject to change)? It would be simpler and more accurate to just say “A selection of freshly baked morning bakeries or toast” and leave the serving vessel off the menu.
You see what happens when you don’t pay attention to the little details and annoy your guests? They get super-critical and notice everything (shame there’s stuff for them to “notice” in the first place.)
Delicious room service dinner
Our room service dinner was very nice. Once again, it was served to us on the convertible room service cart. I want one of these for home! :)
Jac had the seeded roll, and I had the white one. Her roll was warm but mine was cold, which was a little strange.
Jac ordered the grilled herb-marinated Narrogin hills lamb cutlets (AU$35.00), which came with her choice of sauce – she chose bernaise sauce, which was served on the side. I rather liked this, as it meant you could control your sauce distribution (or saturation!) according to your taste. The lamb was medium rare as requested, deliciously seasoned and marinated, and very tender, garnished with grilled cherry tomatoes served on the vine.
We shared a serve of potato wedges (AU$8.00), which came with sour cream and sweet chilli sauce for dipping…
…and steamed green vegetables (AU$8.00, asparagus and broccolini). The vegetables were delicious, but I’d have served them in a smaller rectangular dish. They looked a little sad, all bendy and small in that bowl.
I ordered the beef burger (AU$20.00), which was presented open sandwich-style:
The burger came with a side salad, which we also shared.
I was chuffed to see that they provided us with tomato sauce! There was also a jar of Bavarian mustard (not pictured). I cracked open the jar of tomato sauce and spread it liberally over my beef pattie. Do you have a favourite or must-have sauce on your burgers? I have to have tomato or barbecue sauce on a burger, and I like a mayonnaise or ranch-style sauce with a chicken burger.
The burger pattie was huge and tasted delicious.
Here’s the burger, finally looking like a burger! The tomato rendered much of the toasted bun soggy, but the beef pattie and the melted aged cheddar were absolutely delicious. It was a very big bite.
Welcome back. Please don’t have a cup of tea
After dinner, another annoyance.
“Would you mind popping the kettle on for a cuppa?” Jac asked.
“No worries,” I said. I filled the kettle and plugged it in. I looked for the cups and teaspoons – oh dear.
Housekeeping had taken away our used cups, saucers, teaspoons and a water glass when they’d serviced our room, but they hadn’t replaced them.
Tea-making had to be temporarily halted while I rang Housekeeping and while we waited for the replacement cups, saucers, teaspoon and glass to arrive (it took ten minutes).
Again, on its own, this was not a catastrophic mistake, but when you add up all the little things that went wrong or that could’ve been done differently/better, it’s not great for the hotel, is it?