AFC Flag Expedition, 2009

How to Run a Hotel and a Cautionary Tale from Last Year’s Trip

Just back from breakfast. I had asked for an 8am wake-up call when I checked in last night, just in case I had a rough time getting to sleep. I didn’t.

This morning, 8am came and went and no call. Inexcusable in a high-end business hotel adjacent to a major international airport. Especially for what they charge for a room, which was still cheaper than the expense and hassle of going through Beijing.

So I stopped by the check-in counter and told the woman what had happened because I thought they needed to know that the young lady who checked me in last night was apparently more focused on running through her spiel about how, for only $40 more, I could have a room on the Concierge Level with a beautiful view and complementary wine and beer. I passed since the last thing I cared about at that point was a convivial drink and a view.

The staff woman apologized, I went to breakfast and figured that was the end of it. But no…..

I was walking back to my table with my guava juice when two, not one, but two managers came up to me. They apologized a couple more times, explained that the call request had not been written down wherever it was supposed to have been noted and informed me that the hotel was comping my breakfast, a rather lavish buffet with items from at least three or four countries. Eggs any style, including custom omelets, all the usual side dishes, Korean dumplings, German bircher muesli, five kinds of juice, a huge spread of breads, four kinds of yogurt…….

————

If you’re interested, here’s the Hyatt Regency Incheon’s website. We ended up staying here last year when our flight through to UB was re-scheduled to late the following afternoon due to weather. Wind was what we were told. Why I’m flying with MIAT this time instead of AirChina. Hope it works.

At that point we had, or I had, an “adventure”. We looked over the hotel options and picked the Hyatt because we’ve stayed at them before and liked them and we could get points for future stays. There was also the advantage of the presumably familiar which is comforting when things are a little stressed.

The incredibly helpful Korean United Airlines staff (who the UA people in Chicago could learn a few things from), extracted our luggage out of the hold area, so we could have clean clothes, in about 20 minutes. Off we went to the shuttle, which is a big bus. At this point, we had just come off an 11 hour flight from San Francisco and were not tracking too well.

Our luggage joined a huge pile on the sidewalk. The driver gestured to us to get into the bus while he loaded as much luggage as there was room for. So we did and I sat there in air-conditioned comfort as he then drove away, leaving my roll-on with $3000 worth of camera equipment sitting on the curb with no one watching over it or any of the other bags. The driver spoke no English, so had no idea why this crazy American woman insisted on riding back to the airport with him. Longest four minutes of my life, I’ll tell you.

We get there and I spot the bag and make sure it gets loaded. Then I start to breath again.

We arrive back to the hotel and as my bag is unloaded. I make eye contact with the driver and gesture like I’m taking a picture. I see the light come on and he grins in understanding. We shake hands. All’s well that end’s well.

So yesterday it’s same song, second verse. Same bag with same camera stuff, same bus, same driver, same gesture to get on, but this time I watch the bag go onto the bus. Whew.

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1 reply »

  1. I don’t know if I could have handled those four minutes! Very lucky. Glad to hear that everything’s going well. I am looking forward to watching the expedition unfold– very exciting. Can’t wait to see photos of argali!

    Like

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