Tuesday, March 4, 2008

A review of the Seagull Hotel in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh

*This photo is of the hotel's swim up 'bar'. Don't show up thirsty! The coke machine was not only empty, but unplugged. The whole area was dusty!

The hotel is listed as a “Five star, luxury resort hotel”. Despite this I had been warned before heading to Cox’s Bazar that I should set my expectation QUITE a bit lower than five star. I was told the following “its 5-star by Bangladeshi standards, NOT international standards”, “it’s the best place they’ve got in Cox’s Bazar…and it ain’t that great” and “that place is a 5-star…dump”. Well, these inputs seemed to be spot on!

Here are some of the more delightful memories of this (un)forgettable hotel.

  • Check-in was quite efficient until it took them 15 minutes to make copies of our passports. Are they having an artist re-create them?!

  • The folks at reception did not speak English all that well, so some things were difficult to understand. For example, the woman at the front desk informed me that that there is a pool available upon payment. Huh? Then I found out they nickel and dime you at this so called five star resort! 200 taka to use the pool for an HOUR. A fee to use their ‘private’ beach also!

  • Our room was supposed to have TWO double beds. We arrived and found ONE double bed. They quickly corrected the error by taking us to a room with two TWIN beds! We decided to stay put. Whatever?!

  • NOT a kid-friendly hotel. The only restaurant at the hotel starts serving lunch at 1PM and dinner at 8PM!!! Not acceptable for international travelers, especially those with kids!

  • ALL rooms are smoking and there was a big smoking convention in town…I’m not kidding…200 employees from Benson & Hedges and the common areas were all smoky!

  • Our first morning we saw the housekeeping cart outside of our room at 7AM. When we came back from breakfast the cart was gone yet the room hadn’t been cleaned. I asked them to clean it after we left. We returned at lunchtime, still not clean. I asked again, they wanted to come in and clean while Catherine was napping. I said no way! I asked a couple more times in the afternoon. I finally got a hold of the head of housekeeping and relayed how many times I had requested our room be cleaned and he looked at me with a straight face and said, “Ok, madam, so you want your room cleaned EVERY day?” Duh.

  • Our first night the Smoky Smokers convention had a live band playing poolside (right outside our window) until 4AM! I called down to the front desk and asked them to stop playing as it was 3AM at that point. He said he would “TRY and ask them”. What does that mean?! My plan was to keep calling every 5 minutes until the music stopped, thinking they would have to do something, right? Well, they did something alright. After my 5th or 6th call they disconnected my phone. I could no longer make any outgoing calls on my phone!

  • I asked the gentleman sitting at a desk near the pool on our first visit did we need to sign anything or did he need our room # as I recalled there is a charge for using the pool. He looked at me with a blank stare and waved me off into the distance. Alrighty then! I got a call at TEN PM that same night, asking ME to come to the pool, because I had neglected to sign in when I used the pool that day. Catherine, of course, was asleep and so, I said “I DON’T THINK SO!”

  • A request for a ‘plain’ omelette at breakfast will get you two scrambled eggs with tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, peppers and jalapenos! Bon Appetite!

  • Because Catherine was quite ill and there was great urgency to our departure, I asked for our hotel bill to be made up on our way IN to breakfast, so I could pick it up and pay it on the way OUT of breakfast-you know EFFICIENCY. After breakfast, the gentleman at the front desk said that everything was going to be paid by the travel agency. [They were the ones that I paid in Dhaka for our 4-night stay]. Seemed strange, so I confirmed they even pay for our incidentals, too? He assured me, yes, they pay for everything. Okay, great. On our way out the front door to jump in the shuttle that would take us to the only flight leaving that day (that happened to be full-and we were only on stand-by) the same gentleman stopped me and said he was starting to print up my bill now. Uh, what bill? Your bill for things that were not included in your room bill like the pool, beach, room service. We proceeded to have a futile mini-argument over the definition of the word ‘incidentals’ while Catherine whined incessantly at my feet. Good Times! He could not get my credit card to work and demanded cash. I said bill me, I GOTTA GO!

To sum up, I would agree that the Seagull is indeed a five start resort….but on a scale of ONE to TEN!!!


Joe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joe said...

Ah, memories of living abroad. I'm sure the hotel personnel had very good reasons for doing the insane things they did ... No clue what they were, but they must have.

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