Modern hotels emphasise efficiency, almost sterile looks. Lobbies are tall, walls may be halfway up covered with marble, the ground wall-to-wall carpets, and modern furniture that looks appealing but never comfortable.
Everything in modern hotels is designed with labour-reduction in mind. Lobbies are laid out in a symmetrical fashion, and exude a coolness and lack warmth and friendliness.
The front office is tucked in a corner almost invisible, is dominated by computers and impersonal, almost mechanical service. You arrive, and are greeted politely. In most cases, the registration form is filled out with information provided when reserving the room. You may have to complete it, and the clerk will ask you for your credit card to make an imprint. If you do not have a credit card you must pay in advance and room service may be advised to deliver food and beverage for cash only.
You are than given a card key to open the door of your room. The card is electronically activated for the intended length of your stay. If you decide to stay longer you must inform the front desk, or you will be “locked out”.
The rooms may be well designed, with plenty of light, amenities and a comfortable bed. Of course there is a TV set, Internet cable, and in house movies are available upon request.
Most also offer a well-stocked mini bar at horrendous prices.
You are just a number, and you can even check out from your room on the TV screen.
No one will thank you for your patronage, and ask you to return or whether everything was to your complete satisfaction.
Yes there may be a card questionnaire but who knows whether or not it ever gets to the general manager, and if does, what management will do. Some hotels follow it up most do not.
Old palace hotels exude warmth and they are inviting they possess a soul. People are friendly but never familiar. They genuinely care about your well being and will address you by your name.
The design evolved over the life of the establishment, may or may not be symmetrical and efficient, but is inviting. You can sit down in one of the comfortable chairs or sofas, or order a cup of coffee or a glass of wine. Here you feel comfortable can meet people; even conduct quiet conversations with your friends or companions.
The lighting is subdued; the walls may be decorated with old paintings of the founder and his/her family.
Palace hotels reflect local culture; carry on traditions, and display creations of native artists long gone. The furniture may reflect local flavour made from materials indigenous to the region and by craftsmen who are proud of their work. As a guest, you feel comfortable in an environment created by reflecting the peculiarities of the region, and savour the culture of the people.
Palace hotels provide personal service. Servers remember your preferences once you have stayed there for one day, and will provide everything as you order or like. You sense warmth, and recognition of your individuality.
There are many such hotels all over the world catering to people who appreciate elevated levels of personal service and which modern hotels cannot. They are too big; staff is hired without the benefit of lengthy interviews and the benefit of thorough training.
All you have to do to experience a palace hotels or “old” establishment is to check into one and see how you will be greeted, and served. You will certainly find the unhurried, comfortable environment friendly and satisfying.
And when you check out the front office clerk will thank you for your patronage, ask whether everything was to your full satisfaction, and express the hope of your return visit.