Kofi’s birthday fell on the first day of Eid so we were disinclined to go out. Coming to the end of my 11 day holiday, we decided to celebrate on the Sunday 3 August by going for a meal.
In Qatar, only restaurants in some hotels are licensed so I’ve never frequented as many 5-star hotels as I have done since living here. I like trying out new things as much as the other person but like many people, I can also be a creature of comfort.
Therefore, I was keen to go to Isaan, Thai restaurant at the Grand Hyatt. We’ve been there several times including for my birthday. Deciding to ty something new, we went to Hilton as we have heard good things about their Asian Fusion restaurant. It was our first time visiting the hotel, and the concierge was very engaging as he showed us to the beach/pool side eatery.
We were met by a bank of security guards who informed us that their dress code insisted on closed shoes for men. Despite being elegantly casual in linen trousers and shirt because he was wearing sandals (not flip flops), Kofi was denied entry. Never mind the bloke behind us looked like he’d just come off a logging expedition in dirty boots, jeans and faded plaid shirt. Did i mention that the restaurant was pool/beach side?
As we make our way back to the front desk, I am intoning a litany of every inexplicable experience we’ve had since we got to this desert place. The concierge tries for 15 minutes to help us but to no avail. We leave and head for old faithful: Isaan.
When we get to the Grand Hyatt we notice a sign for the Italian restaurant which we had not yet tried. We make a switch of continents and look for someone to show us the way. We come across one of the managers, Varun, who made my birthday extra special and every visit since he has treated us royally.
He walks us to Rocca, sympathises with our plight at the Hilton and then sends us complementary Prosecco. Kofi and I share a starter platter, then we indulge our sea-food passion, he with lobster linguine and me with the most butter-like pan fried Chilean sea bass. Always having room for dessert, I have mango panna cotta with coconut ice cream. Life always looks better after mango and coconut.
Since my birthday, Varun had asked me to write a review of Isaan on Tripadvisor, which out of laziness, I had yet to do. However, the Hilton had got me so angry that I had written and rewritten several scathing reviews in my head on the journey from there to the Grand Hyatt.
I reflected on that other human trait that I was displaying: the desire to complain more than compliment. Realizing that it would be unfair to write a review of the Hilton without doing one of the Grand Hyatt, I’ve added these to my ‘to do’ list.
Ever had a service which compelled you to complain or compliment? Did you?