NN Header

Friday, 20 December 2013

Encountering Hotel Royal

This entry shall be dedicated to Hotel Royal, located at 36 Newton Road, Singapore 307964, which I had the fortune (or misfortune) of staying in, three years ago (year 2010) when one of the best friends, Freya*, came to Singapore.

No, this is not an entry about staycation - I have stayed in lots of better hotels, but staycation is not my forte of writing. This entry relates an incident that took place then, that still leaves me chilly whenever I recall it; and the ludicrous manner in which the hotel staff handled this incident...

Call it funny or scary, it is up to you :)

I passed by this old-looking hotel countless times, partly because it is near to where I stay, and enroute to and fro town. What captivated me was the waterfall running down the walls, and the white statues of Greek gods / goddesses which form the exterior of this hotel.

So when Freya* was coming to town, I decided to get her a suite here - one bedroom and spacious living room. There was a promotion during that period as well, and the suites looked rather good in the photographs on the hotel's website.

The day we checked in, I was rather disappointed with our suite on thirteenth floor. Instead of the modern, prettily-furnished suite I'd glimpsed in the photos online, the suite was very Oriental in concept and furnishing. I was puzzled as I kept relating this hotel to its Greek statues at the main entrance, hence why the utterly Oriental theme?

As if the Chinese antique sofa, coffee table and armoire were not enough, we actually had a very traditional antique, four-poster bed as well! The only consolation was that the pillows were soft, modern pillows and not hard blocks (like what they sleep on in ancient Chinese films).

I wanted to request for a change of room, but Freya*, like most other Westernized individuals, adored these antiqua decorations, so we kept the room. She took a lot of pictures and we made silly poses around the room before unpacking (I stayed with her whenever she was visiting alone).

So we went out to eat local cuisine and shop and were back at night with two of my hunky male buddies, over for drinks and hangout.

Freya* was uncomfortable by nightfall actually, claimed she felt chills and odd presence(s) - she had instincts / experience with the paranormal, but she decided to keep quiet so as not to affect us.

We were all chatting, happily buzzed and playing games over drinks. But we were all sober - the males left at close to 2a.m.  I was not even bothered that at 1plus in the morning, there was the persistent sound of furniture being moved on the floor above us (seemingly, above us). I just brushed it off that perhaps it was some happily drunk party animal tourists moving the furniture about to make room or something.

Freya* and I hit the hay - we actually managed to fall asleep in that sinister-looking antique bed.

At around 5a.m. though, we were awakened by loud drilling and thudding noises. Again, we thought that the noise came from the unit above ours.

Freya* yelled at them to shut up, and I just groaned and continued sleeping. It did not even occur to me - at that point in time - that the drilling and thudding noises at that ungodly hour were odd.

We discussed the odd events over brunch. Suddenly everything appeared clearer and stranger - and of course, creepier.

In the first place, renovation works (if any) do not start at 5a.m. in the morning. It could not be done by a tourist as well, as no tourist in the right frame of mind would bring drills about, or drill holes into hotel walls.

We did a check with the receptionist's, who informed us that the unit above us was empty. We took the elevators to the fourteenth floor to explore a little. Putting our ears to the door of the unit above ours, we heard furniture scraping about within. Was that room not supposed to be empty?

Disturbed, we feedback our encounter to the hotel manager and requested for a change of room.

They offered very silly (and lame) explanations for the strange chain of events. The staff escorting us to the new room actually meekly suggested that the thumping noise we heard probably came from the pub on the sixteenth floor! 

What ludicrous excuse was that? He was telling us that music from their pub was loud enough to be heard three floors down?! Furthermore, that pub only opened on weekends. It was a weekday stay for us....

Other staff, and the hotel manager were equally evasive. Another one informed us that there was a guest staying in the unit above us, but checked out in the morning. Right, a psychopath who went around drilling holes in hotel rooms, probably?

We checked out the following day, switching to other hotels. I emailed the hotel to lodge an offiical negative feedback. The manager who replied the email was evasive as well (they probably needed to be discreet), offering no explanation even for the hotel's staff's stupid replies to my queries. The hotel manager also apologized for causing us inconvenience (but not emotional trauma or unpleasant stay), and offered to take care of our reservations personally the next time we intend to stay here.

Er.... nice of you to suggest, but no thanks. As adventurous as I am, I do not relish the thought of staying another night in Singapore's Hotel California.

No comments:

Post a Comment