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What’s the best way to rate hotels?

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Every year we opt to visit for New Year’s Eve, one of the top 5-star hotels in Cyprus, since our younger family members and friends with whom we socialise prefer to stay with their families.

It was a bit pricy since for a 2-day stay, half board, the cost is around €1,500 for two.

Despite the cost, I also wanted to pay specific attention to the service quality.

For New Year’s Eve 2021, we booked our stay at a 5-star hotel in Paphos, a beautiful building, but in terms of organisation and service quality, I cannot classify this hotel as 5-star.

If you remember, Christmas Eve (2021) was rainy, and some rainwater was coming in at the common areas through the large aluminium frame windows.

So, in its wisdom, the management placed some white towels (used for the guests at the swimming pool) as waterproofing mats.

Because our shoes became wet and dirty from our afternoon walk, we asked the reception if someone on the staff could clean them at our cost.

The reply was that they did not offer such a service.

Then, we asked for a shoe brush to do it ourselves.

The reply was that they did not have a shoe brush.

Having arrived at the hotel, we were told that the New Year’s event was cancelled, but they made arrangements for us (and the other guests) to be directed to a conference hall in another location to be taken by a hotel bus.

Upon arrival, there were no pedestrian lights, and we had to use our phone lights to guide ourselves to the hall.

On the entertainment and food quality, a lot was left to be desired, whereas a diabolic band comprising African drums with an average age of clients 65-75 years old made us and most of the other guests leave.

So, notwithstanding the hotel’s building quality and its attractive location (on the coastal Poseidon Avenue), the rest was a disappointment.

We opted the next day to visit one of the fish restaurants for lunch at the small harbour (in fear that we could be met with a similar disappointment had we stayed at the hotel).

So, we come to New Year’s Eve 2022, and we stayed at a 5-star beach hotel in Limassol.

What a difference.

In addition to the warm welcome, we were made to feel like the place’s owners.

The dinner was excellent; the service was first class, and the music was a live band with Greek and foreign music, with the band members most entertaining and inviting the guests to join in.

Because we were late for breakfast at the reception, we asked for two coffees and a croissant, but the hotel, although we offered, refused to charge us anything (on our offer to pay) because they realised that we had missed breakfast.

A most welcoming surprise.

Escape

The hotel was almost fully booked, and we noted many foreign visitors, including a group of Greek hotel managers from the island of Rhodes, coming to Cyprus to escape the business pressure they had during the summer.

Here we are with two different 5-star hotels, one in Paphos, with management much to be desired, and the other in Limassol, where the standards were much higher than what we were not used to.

Yes, both are pricy (similar), but it is a once-a-year treat.

Since this column is primarily directed towards real estate, you may well ask how good or bad management of top-quality hotels affect the real estate market.

Well, one good thing brings another, and since those high-cost hotels are the preferred place of stay by mainly wealthy foreign clients, residents or working foreigners, it could also provide a basis for business bonding.

This is where the introduction to real estate investment begins, even for business connections.

Back to the Limassol hotel and service quality, the most likeable Limassol porter informed us there was a doctor from the UK staying at the hotel interested in buying or building an Alzheimer clinic, but only in Limassol.

I promptly asked if we could get together with the doctor – it was a lovely business approach, though nothing came out after the meeting.

This porter, in my opinion, is worth a million to the management of the hotel.

During better times (before the war in Ukraine), we regularly hosted real estate shows in hotels of high star ratings, offering drinks, mainly local wine and juices, before dinner.

We continued this for three years with satisfactory results until we discovered that some people were using these property exhibitions for a free happy hour drink.

A few months ago, the Deputy Ministry of Tourism suggested that the hotel ratings should not place much importance on the building quality and that more points should be given to the quality of service, even suggesting introducing inspections periodically of local establishments to give the appropriate rating.

So far, nothing has come out of it, but I hope it will happen.

Antonis Loizou FRICS – Antonis Loizou & Associates EPE – Property Valuers, Real Estate Agents, and Property Consultants