While booking this trip, we were told by the travel agent that we would be staying at Lee Gardens Hotel.
We could not be any happier as all who had been to Hat Yai before would know that the said hotel is situated at a centralised location surrounded by all the major shopping centres and night market.
Thus, imagine our bewilderment when the coach drove past Lee Gardens and all we could do is watch on in horror as we got driven further and further away until the hotel was out of sight
The coach eventually came to a stop outside President Hotel which is quite some distance away! (According to Google map, the distance is at least 1.4km away)
The tour guide explained that there has been some sort of a cock up but did not elaborate further.
It was here where tour members found out among themselves that everyone had been told different stories by the travel agent. Some were told they will be putting up at Central Hotel while some, like us, has been told we are staying at Lee Gardens Hotel.
We did not want to make things difficult for our Malaysian tour guide who has served us well for more than 20 over hours since we entered Malaysian custom. It is late and we are tired so we began going up to our rooms after being allocated our cardkeys.
The two lifts in the lobby were extremely small which could accomodate no more than five persons per carriage. Add in the luggages and we could hardly turn around.
It took more than fifteen minutes before the last five of us managed to cram into the lift but the door chose to not respond to instructions and refused to close!
I think it took a little more than twenty seconds of stabbing the "close door" button before it finally relents and go up.
As the lift door opens up on our floor, what greeted us was a dark and eerie corridor with shadows everywhere. It is night time but the dim lights are almost non-existent.
What is worse is realizing that our room is the very last room at the far end of the corridor. That thought alone is quite terrifying if you know what I mean.
Opening the door to my room, the first thing I did was to inspect the bathroom.
I am very anal when it comes to the cleanliness of my bathroom and this is what I found out.
Water stains on the floor
Mysterious stains and hair on the tiles
Once I stepped inside the bathroom, I realised that the tiles and bathtub were still wet. (I wonder is it a standard practice for chamber maids to wipe off any water from the bath tub and walls before the next guest check in?)
There are also hair and mysterious stains on the tiles and bathtub.
Not only that, there are no hot water available from the shower (during our two days stay, we had to put up with cold water baths).
Spot the baby cockroaches!
This is my first time encountering cockroaches in a hotel room!
Having done inspecting the bathroom, I am not haboring any expectations for the bedroom but still, I am not expecting to see this kind of foldable spring bed.
We signed up and paid for a three person tour and I am expecting a proper bed; not this sorry-looking one with springs so loose it squeaks with every turn I made and my back was mere inches away from the floor.
Be reminded that I had just travelled for more than 20 hours in a coach and I would really appreciate to rest on a proper bed.
Noticed the placement of the brown blanket?
It seems like the blanket was just randomly "thrown" onto the bed with no effort made to arrange it nicely.
And did I mentioned about the army of ants near the bed?
Unsurprisingly, we did not have those in our room either. These are pretty much standard items so I so not understand why we do not have them at all?
We did not realise that the phone in our room was faulty until one of the families whom we had arranged to go shopping together with came knocking on our door to inform us that they could not get through our line.
Many tour members staying on various levels of the hotel had similar complaints therefore, we see no point in changing rooms since these complaints seem like a common occurrence.
One bad news is that there is no wifi in the room. You have to go to the lobby to use it which is what I did on the first morning.
The plan was to go down to the lobby at 6.30am to use the wifi for a while before going for breakfast at 7am (the restaurant is just beside the lobby).
I stepped out of the lift and the entire lobby was in darkness (save for the lights from the recept area). The bellboy was sprawled on the couch, sleeping with the newspapers covering his face while the receptionist was blasting Thai songs from her mobile phone.
Would any image-conscious hotel allow such behavior?
By 7am, most of our tour members have already gathered outside the restaurant but breakfast seems far from ready.
Made myself a cup of Milo but there is no hot water
Some of the elderly tour members thought of having a cuppa while waiting for the food to be ready. They scooped the coffee powder and sugar into their cups only to discover that there is no hot water in the airpot at all.
The tour guide have to go to the kitchen to get the staff to fill the airpot before we managed to get our drink.
We paid to stay in a hotel yet we have to make our own coffee at the restaurant? Is that not ridiculous?
Is it too demanding of me to expect this hotel restaurant to be equipped with a beverage dispenser or cambro to dispense juices, milo, coffee and/or tea?
Talking about juices, when I visited Bangkok years ago, I fell in love with their sweet tangerine juice thus whenever I visit Thailand now, I would make it a point to have some of it. I eagerly drank a mouthful but immediately spat it out. The tangerine juice was plain awful; it tasted salty instead of sweet.
What you see on my plate is everything they had on the breakfast menu
The full spread
The breakfast for our two days stay were exactly the same except that the porridge was replaced with fried bee hoon on the second day.
Thirty minutes into breakfast, the lights suddenly came on. It was only then do I realised that we have been eating in the dark with whatever minimal light that is coming in through the windows and without air-conditioning as well.
By then, dirty plates were piling high but there was no one to clear them from the tables.
The hotel is too budgeted to even switch on the corridor lights!
My room is at the far end of the row. This picture was taken when I stepped out of the lift on the way back to my room after breakfast. I think it was slightly before 08:00.
The fire escape route is on the right side of this picture beside the lift. If any of the rooms were to catch fire, I have two choices: jump out of the window or be charred.
Either way, I would still be saying lakorn...
Now, to sum things up:
Ants in the room
No electric kettle
Room was not tidied
No hair dryer
No hot water for shower
Baby cockroaches found around the bathtub
Strange stains and hair on the tiles and bathtub
Outside the room
The corridor is dim
Fire-escape route was not ideal
The lift is extremely small and slow
Had to eat in darkness
Tangerine juice is salty
No beverage dispenser
Breakfast was served late
Dirty plates were not cleared
Now, I am not complaining for the sake of complaining. It is not a case of pay peanuts get peanuts either.
I have gone on similar budgeted trips to Hat Yai before (in fact, I go there every year) but never have I stayed in a hotel that gives me so much discontentment!
Come to think of it, I have not seen any other foreign guests other than our own tour members...
Overall, the hotel felt very aged. The fabric of the couch at the lobby is tearing at the seams and the deco looked like it belonged to the 1980s.
Being the festive season, hotels everywhere were fully decked out with Christmas decorations. Well, all except this one. There is no Christmas tree, no hanging ornaments, no fake snow, no blinking lights and no Christmas tunes playing in the lobby.
Not that it really matters but I am just wondering.
Before you diss me for being difficult, I am not expecting five star hotel amenities but there are certain basic expectations that should be met such as cleanliness and service professionalism.
President Hotel should seriously review the way they run the hotel and conduct regular staff trainings to upkeep their standards!
And before that happens, it would take a miracle or another cock-up by the tour agency for me to step foot in there again.