Tuesday, 6 May 2014

The hotel that locked out its guests – Prime Hotel Tororo

After having a disappointing affair as I highlighted in my previous post at Rock hotel Tororo which had dismal service and poorly maintained facilities; my family and I sought after the most popular and highly recommended option by friends, family and the locals – Prime Hotel. The receptionist at Prime Hotel welcomed us warmly and I was hoping that we were finally on a roll and would receive good service here on out since we had travelled a long way on traffic riddled roads all the way to Tororo.

On arrival, we quickly checked in and grabbed a quick bite at the Prime Hotel restaurant where we had our own dramatic encounter with their Nigerian movie loving bar tender but that is a story for another day. After our meal we headed off to our much cherished and little known Paya village deep inside Tororo, however on our exit we made sure to inform the receptionist that we would return that night.

2:45am (early the next morning)
We attempted to wrap up all we had to do in the village so that we could get back to town early enough to get some rest but we failed to and it was not for lack of trying as we were so unfortunate to have a family member with a medical emergency.  Eventually we did get back to Prime Hotel just short of 3:00am and we hooted at the gate and after a brief 3 – 5 minute wait the security guard unlocked the padlock at the gate and let us in and we headed to the parking area and straight to the front entrance that lead to the lobby. 

The security guard locked the gate behind us and then hurried off to the back of the hotel, we assumed to alert someone so that we would be let in and we could finally get some rest. We were already stunned that they would lock out their guests but as if that was not enough, they did not even leave any one on call to open for us when the 5 of us got back.

My sister 1: “Eh why is the place so dark?”

Cousin Brother: “It looks like everyone is asleep.”

Cousin Sister: “These guys actually locked up and turned everything off.”

When we got to the glass door we waited patiently as we realized that it was locked and the reception was pitch black. In addition to that, the security lights outside the front door were turned off so we stood in the dark as the guard patiently waited with us for what seemed to take forever. After about 10 minutes, a lady came to the door without keys and attempted to open it but it did not budge.

3:00 am
Me: “She does not look like she knows about our arrangements since she is definitely not from the day shift.

My sister 2: “Surely, they must have informed her, we did check in after all.”

Me: “At least the gate man remembered us.”

On realizing that it was locked with a key, the lady disappeared to the back of the reception area to search for the keys and she returned after about 2 minutes and once again attempted to open the door. She seemed to get it open but did not turn the key all the way so the door would start to slide open and then jam.

3:02 am
Cousin Sister: “Looks like we are going to sleep out here hahaha”

Me: “Eh so does she work here?”

Cousin Brother: “So what happed when there are guests who traveled late and are looking for lodging in the middle of the night, they would not admit them?”

Me: “At least now we know that there is no provision for the night shift.”

After some serious foot miles between the front door and the reception counter she finally got the door open and we walked in.

Sister 1: “Hello, we would like to make arrangements for an extra room since we have an extra person.”

Night Lady: “Okay, let me check what is available”

This took her about 5 minutes of confusion until the receptionist we had checked in with earlier on in the day was summoned and she expedited the process. For this we were immensely grateful as we did not want to spend the few hours until morning in the lobby.

Cousin Brother: “So I need the additional room we talked about since the rest had already checked in during the day.”

Day Receptionist: “Alright!” (Within a minute she handed over his key and he waited for us to finish making morning arrangements)

Sister 1: “We will also need to sleep in a little longer given the time we are going to bed now. What time does breakfast close?”

Day Receptionist: “Breakfast is between 8 and 10 am.”

Sister 1: “Can you extend that to 11am for us?”

Night Lady: “Breakfast ends at 10 am. You will have to come down eat and then go back.”
Sister 2: “We may not be awake at that time.”

Day Receptionist: “I can inform the chef early in the morning to make an exception for you.”

Sister 1: “Also please inform housekeeping not to disturb us until we are down for breakfast as we really need to get some rest.”

Day Receptionist: “Okay madam.”

Sister 1: “I hope they will be quiet, not like the last time I stayed here about a month ago when they were making noise at 7 am.”

Day Receptionist: “No we informed them.”

Me: “So breakfast at 11 am.”
Night Lady: “So you are how many?”

We all looked at her stunned; after all this was the lady who had left us at the front door in the cold for about 30 minutes in total as she could not make out the key for the front door. After her hostility on our request for an extension to the time for breakfast this was my cousin’s breaking point and she could not take any more.

Cousin Sister: Eh… hmmm” (She burst out laughing as she could not contain this response from the evidently half asleep lady who must have still been half asleep)

Cousin Brother: “What! I am going to bed. I cannot take this anymore.”

Cousin Sister: “Hhhm sub - prime.”

My other sister and I as well as my other cousin all laughed as we walked away and left my sister laboring to put her point across lest we woke up to no breakfast.

Lady: “So you are how many?”

Sister 1: “We are 5.”

Let me just say, that night was the one and only night we spent at Prime Hotel as in the morning about 7.30am we were awoken to a loud screeching sound. It was a radio dialed to one of our local Ugandan radio stations (often known by the name cockroach from our high school days) playing loud gospel music and accompanied by the voice of the cleaning lady outside our doors in the hallway. That was the worst sleep we had on our entire trip.

Only in Tororo.

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