Sia,—May I refer to Leslie Adrian's enjoyable and constructive article
in your last issue?
Our Guide to Restaurants and Hotels (which in- cidentally is in its sixth year, not its third) strongly disagrees with what the article alleges to be the Guide Michelin's view: that no useful comparisons can be made between the multi-national culinary accomplishments in this country. Only gastronomic chauvinists such as the French suffer from culinary de Gaullism and look down upon other great national cuisines, which is why Michelin Guides to Other countries are not on the same level as the one to France. Anyway, the basis of our starring System, clearly set out in the Introduction, is that we assess restaurants for food 'according to how Well they achieve what they set out to do.'
How heartily I agree that we would need a 'Bad Food Guide' (better still, a `Bad Hotels and Restaurants Guide)! Quotes from a report received last week from a member of our professional re- search team may well qualify as a prize entry. It refers to a famous hotel in one of our most fre- quented tourist cities: Staff amongst the most off-hand, unfriendly, and inefficient I have ever had the misfortune to come across. Situated in the middle of the • tourist belt.
Arrived at 4.15 p.m. Two bird-like reception- ists casually looked for my reservation which took six minutes. Went up to bedroom and rang the bell for a cup of tea three times (4.30, 4.35, 4.50 p.m.)—hall porter eventually arrived, 'What do you want? There are no chamber- maids on duty.' On arrival asked for hall porter to get luggage from car which was parked thirty-five yards away; his reply, 'Why don't you bring the car to the front door?' I ordered breakfast in my room, the previous night, for 8.45 a.m.—it arrived at 9.10 a.m. minus any knife or plate! Under-manager rather bolshy. His character was imprinted on the whole place. I only hope I never have to go back there! Off-hand inefficient staff. Bloody-minded, lazy hall porters. Under-manager ought to be a lavatory attendant.