For the past 4 or 5 years I’ve been lucky enough to travel to my favourite destination in Asia, Hong Kong, once or twice a year either as a trip in itself, or as a staging point to nearby countries (China, Macau & Vietnam).
I always try to stay in East Tsim Sha Tsui at the InterContinental Grand Stanford. I like the area as its far enough away from the main Kowloon touristy area of Nathan and Canton Roads so that you’re not constantly being harassed by tailors or dodgy Rolex watch hawkers, but you’re also just a 15 minute walk, either by the harborfront promenade or underground through the MTR stations and shopping centres, to the Star Ferry terminal for the ferry hide to Hong Kong Island.
During one of my trips a couple of years ago I happened to stop at Roccos Pizzeria on Mody Road just up the street from my hotel, and with the offer of happy “hour” for most of the day I settled in for a couple of cold beers to quench my thirst. Service was always good, and the food as always a welcome break from always eating Asian food.
On my subsequent trips I used this place as my winding down location after a day of sightseeing and for the most part they were pretty good. Some of the staff even remembered me from my previous visits by name – I think I’d officially become a barfly in another country!
Anyway, onto this years trip. I used Hong Kong as a transit point before and after my trip to Vietnam. I did 2 short stints in Hong Kong, 4 days & 3 days. First thing I did after I’d checked in the first time was head down to Roccos for a couple a beers and to just watch the hustle and bustle of Mody Road. I find it relaxing just sitting there sipping a beer and watching one of the busiest cities in the world go past me.
Things started to go down hill once I returned to Hong Kong after Vietnam. My how the service had deteriorated in just 2 short weeks, and its completely substandard compared to what it was in previous years.
What pissed me off?
Well it was a comedy of bad service… actually bad is the wrong word… absolutely the worst service I’ve ever received in my travels is probably a better way to put it, that occurred on my second day there.
1) I walk in around 5pmish, there’s a couple of people sitting at the bar, and maybe 10 tables of 2 or 3 people. Not overly busy. I sit at the bar and get ignored by the bar staff for a while, I wave to try to get their attention to order a beer, but they seem pre-occupied with cleaning the dirty glasses and chatting which each other to serve me.
2) I finally grab their attention, order a beer, and wait… more chatting, more cleaning glasses, but no beer… feeling a little pissed off I finally grab the bar guys attention again and ask where my beer is… “Sorry sir… I forgot” pfft
3) Finish my beer and wait for my second (its 2 for 1 during happy “hour”)… and wait… and wait… more chatting behind the bar but no beer… about 10 minutes later they look in my direction and finally ask if I want my second beer…
4) After my 2 beers I decided it was time to head off… didn’t want to waste anymore time being ignored so I asked for the bill… and I waited, and waited, while the bar staff chatted and did other things. Another staff member finally noticed I was sitting there like a bump on a log, wallet in hand and asked if I wanted the bill. I said I’d asked for it 10 minutes ago but still hadn’t received it… he went over to the guy I first asked (same guy who forgot my beer, and ignored getting me my 2nd beer) and he frantically printed out my bill and presented it with another “Sorry sir, I forgot”. Well, I “forgot” to leave a tip the service was so bad.
By this time, I was over the place and resolved never to set foot in it again… and to the staff of Roccos I won’t forget!