I’m not really a five star person. But we have lashed out on a bit of luxury in Barcelona at the end of two and a half months on the road. Here, in a boutique hotel in the gothic sector, we were greeted personally by the receptionist and concierge. No name tags here, we are introduced. After a guided tour of the hotel, – including Roman remains, our bags arrive and we move to the roof top bar for a drink and a swim.
Attempts to phone for a beer and a coffee only reach a recorded message. Other guests tell us that someone will appear soon. By the time they do coffee time is past, and it’s straight to the white wine – a delicious Verdelho. We move down to the trendy tapas bar, with more beer and wine and fabulous food.
On returning to our rom we find a hand written personalised note welcoming us, alongside two chocolate biscuits. There is a linen mat on each side of the bed, so we don’t have to step onto bare floor when we get out of bed! As a former aged care worker, all I see is “falls hazard”.
However, the real five star living reveals itself at breakfast. I love hotel breakfast while travelling. The chance to explore new foods, new ways of starting the day. As a control freak, I enjoy being able to decide how much to eat, what combinations I want and in which order. But here we are greeted by the concierge, who introduces us to the head waitperson. Coffee and tea arrive – and a menu. No leisurely browsing the buffet here – although it is possible, we have people to meet your every need.
We decided to look at what is available anyway- and are guided through the choices by one of the elegant staff. Their English is prefect, so I have no chance to practice my wobbly Spanish. Toast, croissants, fruit and fresh squeezed juice arrive at the table automatically. David orders fried eggs, with accompaniments, and I ask for yoghurt. Unlike the other cold offerings including milk, yoghurt must come from the kitchen. And it is now that the fun begins.
David’s eggs arrive while he is eating cereal. I look at my bowl of fruit, anxious to top it with yoghurt. I mention the yoghurt. I nibble at a slice of apple.
David finishes his cereal, and his eggs, tomatoes, potatoes and foam. I mention the yoghurt again.
I consider ducking out to the supermarket next door to buy some yoghurt.
I nibble a bit of dry toast – jam and butter are delivered to others, but having had the temerity to serve ourselves some cereal, we don’t get jam and butter. I am reluctant to leave my seat in case the yoghurt is not delivered. We catch someone’s eye, I order another coffee and ask again for the yoghurt. By now I have eaten the fruit, and another piece of dry toast, though the latter is no great issue as I often eat my toast dry.
Then, miracle of miracles, the yoghurt appears. It is fresh and delicious, almost worth the wait. I serve myself a smoked salmon and cream cheese mini roll, ignoring Sacher torte, French meringue, chocolate muffins and other bizarre breakfast choices. And , unlike every other Spanish breakfast we have seen, there is no tomato concasse, although we did have it with bread last night.
First world problems, I know, but I wonder why when you pay more, the experience is less interesting. At least tomorrow I will know how the system works, and order yoghurt as soon as I sit down.