Vacation Retrospective – Day #6: Perugia

Looking back, Perugia was my favorite leg of the journey. While Venice was romantic in a crumbling, surf-soaked way, Perugia was solid, vibrant, virtually throbbing with this ancient energy that fit in quite nicely with the more modern touches the city had to offer. I loved the hills, the passageways, the shops, the people, the architecture, everything really.

My biggest regret in Perugia was my choice of hotel. At some point during vacation planning, I decided to splurge on a more expensive hotel room, and picked La Rosetta hotel as a top contender. I wanted to stay somewhere with wifi and a more historic feel, and it was a big plus to find a place right in the heart of the old town center. Overall, my experience with this hotel was lacking. Not only could I not receive wifi in my room, my iPad couldn’t log on to their server in any room of the hotel, despite asking the clerk multiple times if I was making some mistake in using the security code they had printed on these tiny slips of paper at the front desk. When I complained, the clerks were unconcerned, shrugging it off in that exceedingly irritating way that rude hotel clerks around the world have mastered over the centuries.

The hotel itself was grandly appointed…about 80 years ago. Now the late 1980’s updates to an existing turn-of-the-century skeleton are getting a bit shabby, but I really didn’t mind about that. I was a bit disappointed in the hard bed and really scratchy linens, but that was also something I’ve found to be common in Europe, in general.

The most awful thing about the hotel actually happened on Day #7, when I desperately needed to place a call to my bank in the United States. The number wouldn’t work on my international cell phone, on any of several pay phones outside the hotel, or on my hotel phone. After expanding my efforts and trying several different numbers to reach the bank, I finally gave up and went to get the desk clerk’s help. With two guys at the front desk, only one offered to help me, trying the numbers several times with growing impatience. The other clerk told me that “it must be because it’s an American number.” (WHAT?) I was sobbing at this point, and asked if they could help me figure this out, but he just shrugged his shoulders and turned away. I finally came to my senses and went out into a nearby public square, where I used my iPad Skype app to dial the bank, which solved the problem in fifteen minutes (the computer didn’t care that it was an international call).

In hindsight, I shouldn’t be too angry with the desk clerks, but the point of being in customer service is to HELP people. I’ve worked in varying aspects of customer service for years, and would never imagine being so rude to someone who obviously needed my help. You’d think in a popular European tourist location that gets plenty of international tourists, someone at that desk would have had some clue as to how to assist me – even if it was just giving me the number for the American embassy.

Lesson learned – look for a better hotel next time I’m in Perugia…and I will definitely be going back at the nearest opportunity.

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