Not too long ago, I shared my experience with ‘that type of hotel’ from Ghana and Nigeria throughout my journey as Ghana’s number 1 celebrity and lifestyle blogger (yes I am still blowing my own horn). In fact until, my recent trip to France and Holland, I didn’t imagine that, ‘that type of hotel’ would exist in Europe too.
My stay in Cannes, France was a lot more of what I was used to with my travels within Europe and elsewhere around the world. I stayed mostly at a self-serviced apartment hotel, Mimoza Resorts in Mandelieu-la-Napoule. It was a lovely apartment which I shared it with my colleagues from Ghana. But everything with the Mimoza Resorts was about money – yes like we say in our local parlance, “they like money too much!”.
We had to pay for each time our room was cleaned (or rather would be cleaned); we were not even entitled to changing of towels; and even when we run out of toilet paper, there was none available in the hotel – not even in their open toilet rooms downstairs.
We stayed there for about a week and although things were expensive throughout our stay, one thing I truly enjoyed was their food – although I hated the portions. In fact I often ordered two different meals at a sitting before getting close to my satiety threshold.
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When we are ready to leave France, we decided to check into the Marriott AC Hotel in order to be closer to the airport for our departures. That was when we were hit by some big surprises. Check out time at the Mimoza Resorts was 10 am and we were to pay 10 euros for any extra hour we spent. We got out of our apartment almost 1pm thinking we were doing a slightly late checkout because in our minds check out was 12 noon – as it is in ‘most hotels’.
The receptionist also told us to wait while someone checked our room to see if everything was in order before we could check out completely. I had deposited some 200 euros on the room and I was really hoping to get everything back so I could spend that money when I go to Amsterdam. After the checks, I was told that the room was in a mess because we had not washed the bowls and taken out the trash.
To have our room cleaned it would cost 40 euros and so during our stay, we did it ourselves to a large extent. But when our trash can was full, we didn’t take it outside, instead we bagged it and placed it at the balcony, thinking it would all be collected a thrown out by the hotel staff, when we checked out.. Boy we were wrong!!! The receptionist said due to the level of mess in our apartment, she would charge 80 euros unless we could go back and clean things up. Well, needless to say we went back like some secondary school students to clean it up.
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However the cleaning up was not satisfactory enough so the receptionist offered to reduce the bill to 40 euros, and well at this stage I was like “okay whatever”. She then wanted to charge us for another cleaning which happened earlier during our stay. We, at one stage, changed our room to another one but felt that it was smaller than our original room, plus some of the electricity outputs were faulty, so we decided to move back.
However, before moving back to our original room, in order to make it on time for a movie premiere we were attending that evening, some of us decided to bath and change straight from the new apartment. And since the room was cleaned up after we had left, that also constituted another 40 euro charge.
We tried to bargain but to little avail, and after the deductions were made from the deposit, we finally said bye bye and then moved to the Marriott AC Hotel. We stayed at the Marriott AC Hotel till early morning when the first batch were ready to leave for the airport. When they left to airport I moved from the Marriott AC Hotel to the Raddison Blu Hotel to sleep and wait for my afternoon flight to Amsterdam.
When I arrived in Amsterdam, I picked up a cab and showed the driver the address to the hotel I had booked via bookings.com. Then to my surprise, I found out that in my haste to look for a hotel close to the airport, I picked an Ibis Hotel that was not even within Amsterdam (Laugh out loud, yes this was my first time booking a hotel online). So the driver (whom I later found out was from Morocco) asked me why I would choose to stay outside of Amsterdam . He asked me what I would to see and do during my stay. He asked “ would you like to see the city, go shopping , see the Red-light District etc?”…and I was like “ hell yeah!!!”.
He then said he could find me some hotels in the city centre that would make it easy for me to move around and also head back to the airport when I was ready to leave Amsterdam. I didn’t haven’t a local number so I couldn’t search and book the hotel on my phone. The driver quickly used his phone to go the bookings.com to see what was cool and available. We found one, so he took their number from the website and called to make reservations right away. He then drove me straight to Hotel Ajax, right in the middle of the city.
I climbed up to the reception to follow-up on my reservation. For the first night I was checked into a ‘smaller’ room for 95 euros and on the second day I would be moved into a ‘bigger’ room at 100 eruos a night . Then on the third day, I would check out at 11 am. 100 euros was also blocked on my debit card so that if at the time of checking out there are no stains of marijuana in my room, then the money would be unblocked on my card. At this stage I said to myself , ‘Ah I thought marijuana was legal in Amsterdam”.
I made my way into my room and to be honest I wasn’t expecting my room to be like the presidential suite at the Golden Tulip Hotel but for approximately100 euros a night, what I got was rather below expectation. 100 euros is approximately 440 cedis and with that amount I would find a very decent hotel in Accra for a night. Yet the room in Hotel Ajax was similar to ‘that type of hotel’ I book or suggest for my Nigerian friends at approximately 100 cedis a night when they come to visit Ghana.
I was disappointed but there wasn’t much I could do, and I loved the fact that it was well positioned in the city. After settling down I went out to explore the city and find some much needed food. Right under the hotel building was a Chinese restaurant where I got some hot noodles.
I went back to my room to cancel my original hotel reservation on bookings.com. Surprisingly, when I logged in to cancel the booking, I found out that I would be billed for the first night of my stay because I had not cancelled it in advance. It makes sense but what upset me was the fact that there was always a red ticker on bookings.com saying loudly that I could cancel at anytime without any charges. In fact the psyched me up to believe I could cancel at anytime I wanted. So I felt stupid and cheated when I ended up paying 75 euros for a hotel room I never used; in addition to paying too much for a ‘that type of hotel’.
So what makes Hotel Ajax ‘that type of hotel’? Well apart from the old TV set, and the small and uncomfortable bed, my room had notices or warnings posted all over the place. There was a notice to tell me not to touch the heater and another one on how to use flush the toilet. The cheap shower gel in the bathroom left my skin pail and as dry as the the Sahara Desert throughout my stay. I took a lot of photos to show but sadly I lost them with files I deleted from my phone. But of course if you follow me on Snapchat you probably say it all!!!
When I was moved from the small room (which hard two tinny beds joined together) I was moved to the supposed bigger room only to find out that it was worse than the first room. There was very little space in the room and part of the roof was curved so low that my head could touch it. To make things worse, the room had three tiny beds apart. I was simply dumbfounded as to how I checked as a single adult and yet I was given a room with three beds for children. This can only happen at ‘that type of hotel’.
The only thing I experienced different with Hotel Ajax which was not common in most of ‘that type of hotel’, is that their complimentary breakfast was quite standard. Plus they have a deal with an electric cab company that takes guests from the hotel to the airport at a rather cool rate.
So there you have it, ‘that type of hotel’ also exists in Europe and well, to be honest I am not looking forward to staying any more of them, anywhere else in the world!!!