Monday, November 9, 2009

GOLD STAR: Fairmont Hamilton Princess

It's not every day one receives above and beyond service from a hotel’s staff, so when I do, I make sure to shout it from the rooftops. Like other writers who cover travel and tourism for a living, I stay in a lot of hotels. We’ve all had our share of below-average experiences, but in my opinion it’s the good one’s that are worth writing about. Take my recent stay at Bermuda’s Fairmont Hamilton Princess for example. Booked in for two nights on an impromptu “staycation” weekend (I know, I hate that phrase too) my wife and I planned a leisurely lineup of activities: Fine dining, pool hopping, golfing, and an afternoon game of squash at an off-site club. It was going to perfect until I realized that I’d forgotten my racket. I didn’t want to go back home to get it—after all the point was to get away—so I called the club to inquire about a rental. None were available I was told, so in a last-ditch effort to salvage our game I asked the hotel’s concierge if he could round one up. “Not a problem Mr. LaHuta,” said Edward at the front desk. “Let me make some calls and I’ll get back to you shortly.” To my great delight I received a voicemail the following morning that a racket was indeed available. Score! But it wasn’t just any old racket, as I soon learned after reading the following letter: Good Day Mr. LaHuta. I just want to let you know that the grip on the racquet is deteriorating as it has been in storage for quite some time (it might leave a black mark on your hand that is easily removed with water…sorry). I also thought you might like to know that it was used by me in The World Squash Championships in Cairo, Egypt, quite a few years back. I have dubbed it “THE RED BARON.” I hope you SQUASH your opponent!!! Signed, Derek Wheeler, Assistant Front Desk Manager, The Fairmont Hamilton Princess. Well, to you Mr. Wheeler—squash champion and gentleman du jour—a hearty thanks for your kindness and generosity. The Red Baron was indeed triumphant but unfortunately for me, my wife’s squash lessons are paying off: I won just narrowly, three games to two. And to you Front Desk Edward, thanks for your unwavering hospitality and courteous service. You never balked at an odd request and even better, came through with stellar results. Gold stars all around! Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, you definitely have a repeat guest in me.

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