Take away something to chew on
SNEAKING a few extra morsels off the hotel breakfast buffet is pretty standard: perhaps an apple for afters, a muffin for morning tea.
Most of us consider it fair play, justifying our actions by reckoning it makes no difference to the hotel if we consume said food on the spot or several hours later.
DepartureLounge is as guilty as the next guest but draws the line at wearing a multi-pocketed overcoat and making off with sides of smoked salmon and bowls of bircher muesli. Lounge confines her pilfering to the odd banana, being a subscriber to one of the great self-delusions of travel: ‘‘ I’ll only have fruit for lunch.’’
The Grand Mercure St Moritz at Queenstown, New Zealand, has decided not to take this petty theft sitting down and has come up with a ‘‘ lunch-to-go’’ option for $NZ10 ($9). At the hotel’s Lombardis restaurant, guests can ‘‘ pack their own lunch bag with items offered at the breakfast buffet’’. It all seems rather civilised, although Lounge presumes there must be a set size for this bag: maybe one of those airport cabin baggage test units will be put up beside the buffet to check weight and girth. www.accorhotels.com.au. ACCORDING to hotels affiliated with lastminute.com.au, an average of 5460 bathrobes are stolen each week while one property has reported a missing snack-vending machine as well as a refrigerator. The top five strangest requests made by guests? Asking for a room change because of the presence of a ghost. A request for an ensuite bathroom to be cleaned with vinegar. A plea to borrow shoes from a staff member. Demanding a porter be sent to collect dirty laundry from a guest’s car. A request for a ceiling mirror to be installed. Lounge is uncharacteristically speechless. www.lastminute.com.au. WHILE in Fiji recently, Lounge discovered a hotel that has really thought through the question of keeping guests thoroughly refreshed. The new Fiji Beach Resort & Spa, managed by Hilton, is at Nadi’s Denarau, just along from the Sofitel. Aside from its beachside location and chic contemporary lines, the main attraction here for Lounge is the complimentary Freedom Fridge of eight beverages (soft drinks and Fiji Water), which is replenished daily. And most rooms have a barbecue on their balcony or terrace; DIY barbie packs are available from room service and the on-site deli, Epicier, also sells meat, marinades and groceries (excellent bakery items).
Many other hotels would do well to note this convenience and largesse rather than sticking to the classic minibar formula of ridiculously markedup Toblerones and light beers. And don’t get Lounge started on the subject of those devilish fridges with computerised contents: those ones that clock up charges as soon as you move the contents, when all you really wanted to do was read the label and marvel at the caffeine levels in a can of Red Bull. www.resortfiji.com.
LOUNGE IN Bali, the InterContinental Resort at Jimbaran Bay, near the Four Seasons, also shows superb generosity to guests who have booked executive club rooms. Its big Club Lounge serves such a range of food and drinks during the daily cocktail session from 5pm to 8pm that guests frequently load up on the substantial snacks (bowls of pasta, stirfries, canapes) and skip dinner. The club does a full afternoon tea and late-night snacks, too, with complimentary breakfast served through four outlets, including room service. In Lounge ’ s experience, this is way beyond the hotel norm. No need to nick an emergency banana here. www.bali.intercontinental.com.
loves: SBS’s superb new sixpart miniseries TheCircuit, set in Broome. Excellent drama of this kind acts as ersatz travelogue: beyond the gritty and frequently bleak story-line, the dramatic landscapes of the Kimberley shine through.
loathes: The very idea of the movie Rogue , opening on August 30. Surprise story-line: American travel writer encounters a man-eating croc in the Australian outback.