My latest roof is the Green Garden Hotel. It’s in another old part of Doha close to my previous place Al Liwan Suites. That’s about all they have in common. This place has nothing Qatar chic, green garden or bed of roses about it. In fact, if it wasn’t for the pretty and sociable ladies from the Philippines who work in the salon and spa on the 9th floor, this place would have left me questioning my decision to go nomadic. I was in half a mind to turn right around, say goodbye to the money I’d paid for it and book another room right away. In the spirit of adventure and acknowledgement that this probably isn’t as bad as things will get on this journey, I stuck with it. I was relieved that I’d only booked it for four nights. It wasn’t the old carpets that put me off. I’m up for keeping the old and functional for practicing sustainability or a lesson in contentment. It wasn’t the musty smell or the haphazard parking setup that got me either. It was the overall vibe of the place and the lack of customer service offered by the two staff I saw in the whole four days I was there! There’s nothing that even remotely reminds me of a garden, in or around this hotel physically or figuratively.
While I’m going up and down the elevator that plays classical music I can’t help but wonder who owns this place, if they ever visit and if they would stay here themselves. All business owners should sample their products or services as a customer and see the experience they are offering. Don’t get me wrong, this place is a clear case of, “you get what you pay for”. When I sorted the list on booking.com according to price I knew I wasn’t going to get a gold trimmed, luxury stay. I’m just reflecting on standards. This has been a benefit of staying here. It’s reminded me of things I am not prepared to compromise on during my travels and in my life. I’ve also considered how often we mix up standards with price. Perhaps the people who work in budget facilities believe they can adopt a budget level of professionalism and customer service. This is a sad reality of the world we live in. No doubt, on my travels, I will spend time in places that are pricier than Green Garden and have the same or low standards for all that glitters is certainly not gold. This place has taught me that there’s such as thing as too cheap though.
Green Garden has reminded me that an iron and ironing board are needs in my life for now. I want to live a bit different but I still want my little outfits to be smooth. I’ll save my dragged on from the bottom of the case look for the weekends at Al Wakra Beach or after dark at Souq Waqif. Secondly, standards in terms of customer service is something I value highly. Perhaps this has something to do with my experience in the UK where customer service is something people are highly trained in and take very seriously. Maybe that’s why I believe people working in jobs where serving is a big part of their role should have a natural good manner with people. I value a polite smile, a presence at your desk during work hours without your face in a mobile, follow ups to customer enquiries and a general attitude of being happy to be of assistance. This place was lacking in these things. Perhaps had I stayed longer, I would have got to see something that would have redeemed the place but I didn’t and I can safely say, I won’t be saving this one on my list of places I’d recommend or visit again.
Green Garden was more like a back yard that had been left unattended for a while. On the plus side, it’s in a good location for accessing most parts of Doha easily, at the lower end for budget travellers and the rooms were comfortable. The best feature at Green Garden Hotel was the modern bathroom with a huge shower big enough to dance in! All in all this place was pretty much as summary of life itself! Some great parts but mostly lessons.