Why did I choose Hotel Berna?
1) It was close to the station
2) It was affordable
3) Many reviews stated that it had excellent service
Unfortunately, after staying there for a few nights, I realised that Hotel Berna is surrounded by many other hotels anyway, and most of which are affordable. Hence, its service has to be exceptional to make this hotel a top-choice for travellers. I do not have high standards when it comes to service, which makes it even more surprising how this hotel could fare so badly.
If you want a really detailed account of why its service gets a thumbs down from me, please read on.
When I first entered the hotel, the front desk staff took down my details. Among the forms filled, was a form which sought approval to send my personal information to third-party companies. When I politely declined, the demeanour of the staff changed. His smile was gone and he simply pointed at the next form for me to sign. When he found out that I had got lost on my way to the hotel, he demanded, “Didn’t you read the email? We sent you one which explained how to get to the hotel.” When I admitted that I didn’t read it, he snapped, “You see? We tried to help you!”
Then came the problem with the room itself. The door was very difficult to open. Let me put it this way, it was impossible for me to open it no matter how or what I tried. It got to the point where there were visible angry red marks on my fingers. I went down to the reception desk, but oh no, it was the passive-aggressive Brazillian man again. When I asked him for help, he simply said, “Oh you must try to pull and twist the key!” or something like that, which I had already tried. But his demeanour made it perfectly plain that he wasn’t going to help any further, so I returned to the room and tried to open it once more. As expected, it failed.
In a steadily worsening mood, I headed back down to the reception, and he was helping two guests to check in. He wasn’t polite enough to spare one second to ask for another staff to help me with the room, or to even ask me to wait for a moment. Let me just state that when I am the one at the counter, he has absolutely no qualms about turning away from me so he can attend to other guests who are next in line. Finally, it was an Asian staff member who was busy with the cleaning who actually took the initiative to ask if there was something wrong and whether he could help with the problem. What on earth is your front desk doing? As it turned out, the keyhole needed oiling before I could successfully open the door.
The same front desk staff neglected to inform me that the key had to be left at the hotel, until I returned to the hotel later that day, whereupon he called me over and said bluntly, "You have to leave the key here when you go out, Madam. It’s for your own safety.” Uh....so if I happened to take the key with me and lost it, you’re going to club me to death with a file?
To be honest, even retrieving the key from the front desk daily was disheartening to me, because the evening staff seemed to alternate between the passive-aggressive man with the fake smile and the other staff member with a perpetually grim look on his face who would take or return your key in stony silence.
The breakfast had a good spread and was delicious. I did like their coffee but you have to remind them to bring it to you even after they take your order, because they forgot about mine twice, until I reminded them once more and finally got a lukewarm cup of it. Nevertheless, once the waitress realised that they had forgotten about it, she was instantly apologetic and ensured that the coffee was brought promptly to the table, and made sure that the same mistake did not occur again on the next morning. Hence, I'd give another star to this hotel for the good breakfast and breakfast service.
The room itself was serviceable. The room size was average for a European hotel. The free drinks and snack was a nice bonus and I did like the bathroom. So I thought, well, at least, the room has no problems. And then for some strange reason, the shower cap vanished on the second day even though I had left it near the sink. Instead, an empty box which the shower cap was usually found was neatly tucked back into its original place. Um...why would you throw away the shower cap and leave an empty box in its place? It baffles me.
There was one day, however, where it was an elderly gentleman who happened to be at the front desk. Just from the way he smiled and the genuinely polite manner in which he conducted himself, made me think that perhaps 90% of the good reviews which came from TA about this hotel were about him in particular. There was other staff member, Stefano, if I do not recall wrongly, who was also very pleasant. He was able to help me out and he did so with a smile, putting me at my ease.
Ultimately, the bad points about this hotel outweigh the good. If, like me, you have travelled for a long time and are far away from home, looking for a place where you could feel at home, this is definitely not it. I did not feel comfortable at all in this hotel. There is close to nothing in the hotel's immediate vicinity aside from a multitude of other hotels so you are spoilt for choice if all you’re looking for is an affordable hotel close to the station.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
21 December 2012
Dear Shira K,
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We welcome all feedbacks, positive or negative, as we feel we can really learn and hopefully improve upon the quality of our services, especially when they come from an experienced guest as you certainly are.
I’m absolutely sorry to know – and apologize - that you were not fully satisfied our services, feeling the attitude of our Staff – at least of the one who took care of your check-in - to be not friendly and suitable to the circumstances.
It’s important to say that we will never ask our guests the authorization to send their personal information to “third party companies”, as we highly respect their privacy and the request of authorization is intended only to send you our satisfaction form survey and newsletter.
Hence I’m afraid your experience has been totally affected from this initial circumstance and misunderstanding.
We try really hard to make our guests feeling welcome and appreciated from the very first moment they pass through our doors. Our Staff are always on hand to assist our guests in any way possible. We know we are not perfect and that there are areas where we can always improve, especially when the counter is under pressure, and it seems the majority of our guests appreciate our customer service.
I’m really sorry this was not your experience and your comment will be taken into our next general meeting in order to further improve the quality of our hospitality.
Your feedback is important to us and I hope you will give us another chance to show you how important you are.
You are a valued guest.
Carlo Fontana, GM & Staff
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC