Monday, October 08, 2007

Sleepless in Singapore

My room at the M Hotel was not what I booked. I’d booked a non-smoking room, but on arrival the receptionist told me that there were no non-smoking rooms left. She said the hotel only had a limited number of non-smoking rooms (why do hotels limit the number of non-smoking rooms if there is so much demand?) but assured me that the room “didn’t smell much”. I should have asked her to define “much” because the moment I walked in the door, I was overpowered by the smell of stale smoke. However, that turned out not to be the biggest problem with the room.

My room had a connecting door to the room next door, and when I checked in about 9.30 pm, all was quiet. I went down to the reception for a couple of hours after unpacking my bag to use the wi-fi (I’d forgotten to bring my LAN connector) and when I returned to my room about 11.30 pm, the people in the next room were making a lot of noise. The connecting door between the rooms was not soundproof. There were two males and two females (one of which was a young girl who was constantly whining) and one of the males was shouting at the others. It sounded like he was the father of a family, and for a while I thought he was angry, but after listening to their conversations for a while, I realised that was just the way he spoke to his family – in a very loud voice at about twice the level that most people speak. This went on until after midnight, so I called reception to ask if I could be moved to another room. I was told that wasn’t possible because the hotel was full, so I covered my head with a pillow and tried to sleep. I eventually drifted off in the early hours of the morning with the man still conversing in a very loud voice.

At 6.30 am the people in the next room received a wake-up call – which woke me up as well. Almost immediately the man started shouting again, and the girl whining again, and I realised I wasn’t going to get much more sleep. At that stage I lost patience with them and banged on the connecting door saying: “Would you please lower your voices – I am trying to sleep in here”. The man replied: “Okay, okay” and did lower his voice for a while to about a normal speaking level, but the girl kept whining, so that didn’t help much. At about 7.00 am I think they must have forgotten about my complaint because their voice levels were back to the shouting level, so I gave up on getting any more sleep.

When I checked out after breakfast, the receptionist said to me: “Did you have a pleasant stay, sir?” I replied: “No, I had a most unpleasant stay,” and told her about the problem with the connecting door that was not soundproof. She replied: “Oh I am so sorry about that, sir. We have a lot of people from the Lupin Group in India staying here on an incentive package, and they are all very noisy.” I didn’t have a clue who the Lupin Group was, but they way in which she conveyed her apology to me almost seemed like I was expected to know who the Lupin Group was and that I should know they are noisy people. When I was at the airport this evening waiting for my fight back to Kuala Lumpur, out of curiosity I googled the Lupin Group, and found they were a pharmaceutical company (the third largest in India apparently) – so that didn’t shed any light. I thought maybe if they had been a heavy engineering company, and all the employees had to converse during the day in loud voices, that would explain why they spoke so loudly.

So from now on when I book a hotel room, my standard request will be: “No smoking AND no connecting door please.”

No comments: