The Hotel Ristorante Tre Leoni at Via Maspero 10, Somma Lombardo, just outside of Milan, is most unfortunately -- but quite demonstrably -- engaged in the business of swindling its English-speaking (and very possibly its French-speaking) customers.
In January 2005, my wife and I had the misfortune of spending one night at the Tre Leoni, the last night of a one-month trip to Italy. It nearly destroyed our vacation. This complaint is not about their isolation, which puts you very much at their mercy, nor their terrible dirty little rooms, microscopically-sized showers, rock-hard beds or utter lack of service, attention and charm; such shortcomings are not unique to the Tre Leoni, and certainly not worth writing about. This complaint is about their CRIMINAL activity.
While there, we discovered that they have created a special set of prices for "the English," presumably in their hotel and absolutely in their restaurant. (We retained the evidence.) They actually have the temerity to present a menu to English speakers that runs about 40% higher than the menu they present to locals, and for precisely the same food. Why, I ask you, should we pay 3 euros for a carafe of what I expect was merely tap water when the table next to ours is charged only 1.6 euros? When my wife ferreted out this procedure (noting that our menu was sized differently from that of the Italian speaking family at the next table), she procured a local menu, studied it, then, appalled, asked the manager to explain the inconsistencies. Every price was higher on our menu! In response, he tried to bodily take the local menu -- to snatch it -- out of her hands. When I stopped that nonsense on the spot, he left, came back with a properly-priced menu (in English!), and tried to switch it with the one in my wife's hands. (Was he delusional? A two-year-old wouldn't fall for that trick.) I took the menu from him, and then we had the two sets of prices opened side by side. At that point, he claimed that we had somehow gotten ahold of a "misprint", that it was all a dreadful misunderstanding. Finally, faced with the truth right under his nose, forced to read the different prices out loud, he broke down and admitted that the restaurant presents two sets of prices for precisely the same dishes. He then justified the action, claiming that this is necessary because "the English and the French" eat too much and expect too much, so they must pay higher prices. When I pointed out that if they eat more they would pay more, so why charge different prices for the same food and beverage, he was left speechless, and just shrugged his shoulders and turned quite an unusual shade of red. I actually felt sorry for him by now. The owner of both establishments (the dining room is located just off the small, shabby lobby of the hotel), a man whom we later learned speaks excellent English, pretended not to understand a word of what was going on, and, when I appealed to him, turned his back and made himself scarce.
The manager finally agreed that he would take the entire restaurant charge off of our bill, but at six the next morning, as we were checking out -- pay attention here! -- the wily clerk ran our credit card through the machine not once, but twice, sending through first our hotel charge, which he knew we would sign without argument, and then, when we turned our backs, a second FORGED charge at nearly DOUBLE the cost of our meal the night before! This after trying to charge us an additional 26 euros for picking us up at and taking us back to the airport, though when we made our reservation we were absolutely assured that our fee included this round-trip service. While the clerk opened this fresh wound at the moment of our departure (while we urgently had to leave, to make our international flight on time -- an urgency clearly beyond his concern), he opened his book to show us something, inadvertently allowing us to see that we were paying about 20% more for our room than others were paying for theirs. When we pointed this out, he explained rather weakly that "the others were on half-board". We were on "no board," of course, so, by rights, our room should have cost even LESS than the others. But fair and logical pricing would not fit in with the illegal, immoral and reprehensible policies of the Hotel Tre Leoni, which must certainly be run by no less than the spirit of Thenardier himself, the infamous cheating landlord from the novel Les Miserables. Please, please, save your other readers from falling into the jaws of the Tre Leoni.
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- Also Known As:
- Tre Leoni Somma Lombardo