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Published: August 2nd 2019
Our accommodation is a bit unusual, and that’s being kind. It was very hard to find when we arrived here late last night; the last thing the GPS said as we approached it from a few different directions was “enter the roundabout”, and then .... silence. It’s called “Starry Sky Charming House”, but it’s not a house, it’s a collection of small hotel type rooms in an apartment block. It’s not really all that charming either, and the ”Starry Sky“ is a rather odd collection of tiny blue lights in the bathroom ceiling that you can turn on if you want to feel like you’re under the stars, although I think you’d also need to have ingested a fair quantity of hallucinogenic substances if you really wanted to feel that way.
The owners seem to be a bit concerned about their Booking.com ratings, so they’ve put signs on the doors of all the rooms instructing guests on the method they must use to make their assessments. This includes an instruction in bold underlined letters that this “must be done based on the truthfulness of the description, that (sic) is not based on what you wanted to find but on what
you actually found and that corresponds to what is written on (sic) Booking announcement”. Issy says it probably sounds a bit less demanding in Italian. I‘m not a psychologist, but I would have thought that if there was anything guaranteed to ensure less than optimum comments from guests it would be telling them what to say.
We paid a deposit when we booked this place many months ago, and we had to pay the rest in cash last night before they’d let us anywhere near our room. The girl who showed us around after we’d forked out handfuls of Euro bills showed us some switches in the bathroom, and then told us that we weren’t allowed to touch any of them. She didn’t tell us why, and we were too tired to ask. I’m now very curious. I’m hoping that if I push one of them it will give us all our money back so we can go somewhere a bit more appealing, but now I really am only dreaming. In fairness it’s clean and modern, and it does have a small balcony with a partial view of the beach from the side of the building, but I’m struggling
to find too many other positives.
We walk along the promenade in front of our accommodation. The beach is wide and sandy. Issy says she saw a sign saying that it was ideal for “heliotherapy”, but not recommended for swimming. I ask her why you shouldn’t swim here, and she tells me that the sign says it’s because there aren’t any lifeguards. I hope that’s the only reason, and it’s not also because the water’s full of sharks and deadly jellyfish. It looks very calm and safe.
We continue on into the old walled town. This is an incredibly cute collection of narrow cobbled streets winding between ancient buildings. I leave Issy browsing the many clothes stores in the alleyways while I go into the beautiful 14th century Chiesa Di San Francesco. The entrance is through a hotel foyer, and the hotel seems to have been built around two sides of the church’s cloistered courtyard, using the cloisters as balconies.
We go back to our not so great accommodation for a snooze before heading out again to take some happy snaps of the sunset and find somewhere to eat dinner. The waterfront promenade seems to be endless
and the sunset is stunning. Based on our first impressions Alghero seems to have a great vibe; everything and everyone seems to be very relaxed. We enjoy dinner in a small square in the historic old town. There’s nothing quite like an Italian pizza, and the Sardinian craft beer isn’t half bad either.
According to Issy the only person here who isn’t relaxed is me. She’s probably right. I’ve got a real bee in my bonnet about our accommodation. It’s advertised as a four star hotel, but it’s not even a hotel, and if it was it certainly wouldn’t be four star. She says I should let this go and just enjoy the vibe. I agree to compromise and restrict my jibes at the accommodation to a single daily theme, and I suspect there should be more than enough of these to get us through the week we’ve got here.
The theme I’ve selected for today is the way they respond to any criticisms they get on review websites. Most establishments start their responses with something along the lines of ”Many thanks for your comments, and we sincerely apologise that we weren’t able to meet your expectations”. Not
our beloved Starry Sky Charming House. In their eyes any and all criticism is unjustified, the customer is always wrong, and they fire back with both barrels. Timmy from Belgium had the temerity to make a few critical observations and was told “False and liar review. Water is perfect. Brown? Impossible. .... People like you severely harm our work. Don’t come back.” I’m sure he won’t. Gilbert from Belgium was told “Next time learn to read before booking. It’s never too late for you”. Henny from Portugal got “The roll of toilet paper at your departure was still halfway. Did you want another one? .... Your room has a minibar.... Next time book a 5 stars (sic) hotel... maybe you’ll find it better.” The "minibar" in our room consists of a small fridge containing a single small bottle of water and a bottle opener. I’m not sure in what universe that constitutes a mini bar. Still, important to keep the bottle opener cold. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s exciting theme of "False and misleading advertising".
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