Expectations and Standards

We went on a trip to Dambulla and Anuradhapura. One of the host families recommended a hotel. Since it is owned by his ex-boss, he could get us a good deal.

Stupidly, I didn’t ask what that meant. I’ve done enough of this to know better. I did ask the volunteer whose host it was if she could ask him how much it was going to be. But she was a bit reticent to – he’d said it would be a good deal, he knows how much they’ve been paying when they’ve been travelling. It’ll be fine.

The hotel has a swimming pool. I should have been very worried.

Anyway, we arrived. The place was quite nice. The rooms were lovely. Air con though. Another danger sign. (Rooms with air conditioning cost a lot more. And I never use the air con because I really dislike it.) Ah well, nice environment, nice room. The bed had one of those silly bits of fabric on it that are only about 30cm wide by go across the whole bed. Nice visual effect I guess. No practical purpose whatsoever (that I can discern).

We went for dinner. They gave us menus. The menus had prices on them. Oh dear.

The next morning we asked how much the rooms were and whether they take visa. They prefer cash and the rate was 5,500 LKR per room per night. Ouch! And that’s the discounted rate. Ouch! The hotel we stay in near the airport is 2,300 LKR per room per night. The hotel I stay in in Kandy is about 3,000 per room per night.

The food was about 2 or 3 times as much as we might pay elsewhere. And it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great. The Sri Lankan breakfast the next morning was sorely disappointing. We’d asked for normal spicy. But the pol sambol was a pale pink colour. It’s meant to be dark red. The redness is related to the chilli. And it was incredibly salty, and had dried fish in it. Ah well, the pol rotis were nice enough and the dhal wasn’t too bad.

I paid 1,800 for laundry. I’d paid 250 in Negombo.

So I was very annoyed with myself for not having pressed the point about the price of the room and made clear what we were after.

And I was annoyed at how expensive it was. Sure it was nicer than other places that would charge less. And yes, they did fix the broken toilet (once we told them that it was leaking). But their cleaning staff aren’t very thorough since they didn’t find my phone headset that I’d left under my pillow. (I’m annoyed with myself for leaving my headset under my pillow. The replacement one I bought is not nearly so good.)

Now, maybe the hotel wasn’t expensive. Maybe it was good value. If you value the things that it offered. I don’t value those things so for me it was not good value. Plus, I don’t have much money. Whether the hotel is expensive for what it is or not doesn’t really matter. I can’t afford to go there. It could be very good value and I still wouldn’t be able to afford it. (Well, I can afford two nights there, but it has done bad things to my budget and I do have to be more careful during the next month.)

So I need to remember in future to make my standards and my expectations clear. Don’t put me in an AC room, because I don’t like them. Don’t put me in a fancy hotel because I don’t feel comfortable there, I don’t appreciate what they offer and I can’t afford it. Let me stay somewhere that isn’t really grotty but that isn’t really fancy either. Then I’m happy!

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