Fairview Homestead | when one is two and two is one and when things go wrong, they go wrong
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when one is two and two is one and when things go wrong, they go wrong

Last Saturday evening we went to bed early as we only had one couple staying – only to be cruelly awoken at 11.45 by the gate bell being rung – repeatedly…  As I have a slight hearing impairment the bell is set to ring very loudly and to discourage people from ringing it repeatedly it is also set to ring loudly at the gate. Desmond went down to open the gate as we could see that these people were not taking no answer for an answer.

To my surprise I could hear that he was actually booking them in – we normally, as a security measure, do not take off-street  bookings after hours. It transpired that they had made an online booking earlier and for some reason the text message notification never came through on my mobile phone, so I did not know about their arrival as I  never checked my computer between returning from a late afternoon movie, making dinner and retiring early. That they did not think it unacceptable to book in nearly midnight without prior arrangement just added to the chain of events of how things go very wrong when they start going wrong.

They told Desmond that they had booked a different room to the one he gave them and they were none too happy when he insisted that that was the only room that they could have booked  (the others were either occupied or closed for renovation). The next morning I  printed out the confirmation e-mail to show them that they had indeed booked room 2 and Room 2 was the room that they got as I pointed to the number 2 on the door.

They did not take to a proprietor who did not believe that the customer is always right and neither did the proprietor take to argumentative guests – we were on a speedy downhill slope. To the point where I said to Desmond that  I wondered if I could give myself a bad review on TripAdvisor?

Over breakfast they said that the shower was not draining properly and that they therefor could not shower. I asked their permission to send our housekeeper  into the room to check out the drain while they were having breakfast. Prior to them I had guests who stayed 5 days in that room with no problem.

I gave Liesbet a dose of bio degradable drain cleaner with instructions to pour it down the drain of Room 2 , add a liter  of boiling water, to replace wet towels and to make sure the electric towel rails were on. She came back reporting job done, but found it strange that the water ran down perfectly well and assured me that the towels were nice and toasty on the heated towel rails as instructed. Well, you guessed: Liesbet had gone into Room 1, not Room 2!  This transpired when the understandably unhappy guest  came to me with a look of exasperation on her face and frustration in her voice to tell me that the wet towels were still lying exactly on the floor as she had left it. What more could go wrong? Desmond being Desmond answered: ‘ they could eventually have a shower and the gas bottle could empty right then”!

guest-book-by-avo4-150x150As a fellow B&B owner told me: ‘Only one thing to do Philda. Make yourself a cup of tea, go and find yourself a quiet spot in the garden, take your guest book and read all the gushing thank you’s and compliments about excellent service, hospitable hosts etc. etc.!’

But I still wonder if I could give myself a bad review on TripAdvisor?

Philda Benkenstein
benkenstein@mweb.co.za

In 1995 we moved from Namibia to a town called George on the Garden Route in South Africa - we found a wonderful property,first registered in 1861. The place was very neglected, but I undertook to start a guest house, so that the house could at least pay for its own upkeep after the restoration, and of course - for Desmond's garden. That is the start of my life as a guest house owner and this is the story of a house and garden,lovingly restored and shared with our guests, with family and friends...

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