“I’d just undergone a continuing string of travel traumas: my flight to Rome was cancelled after I’d checked in (the wrong sort of rain at Heathrow); they could only reschedule me to the following evening. I arrived in Rome at midnight but my bag – that I had been assured would be on my flight – was not. Try not to mislay your baggage in Rome – my bag would be on the first flight in the morning, I was told. And I was given a reference number and phone number. I didn’t hear anything in Sunday morning. The phone number they gave me didn’t work. Other numbers just rang, or were permanently engaged, or went through to the answerphone. Monday passed and no news. But I had been able to buy a new phone charger for my phone (the original one had been checked in – never again!).
Oh yes – Rome was great – but the cute little apartment I had booked had a feeble air cooling fan that didn’t get to the bedroom (and though it had been rain in London that wrecked the schedules, it was the hottest weekend of the year here in Rome). The electrics were lethel. The front door lock did the best to keep you out.
Tuesday I arrived at the airport for my flight to Barcelona. I tracked down the left luggage office – and my case had arrived – but had just been given to the courier to deliver to me. Luckily we managed to retrieve it.With 15 minutes to spare, I joined the queue to check in for my flight to Barcelona (a completely different airline). I briefly considered opening the case, and grabbing some spare, clean clothes to put in my hand luggage. I didn’t.
I ought to have done. Because when I arrived in Barcelona, my case wasn’t there. Left behind – I was told – in Rome. Another queue, another form. This time the airline reps said don’t bother to ring – nobody picks it up.
So I was expecting the worse when I got to the hotel. But I couldn’t have been more wrong. The Hotel Soho is a haven of peace and tranquility, great service, cool and calm bedrooms and public space. Just what I needed. The staff are friendly, seem genuinely interested in you, and concerned to please. From being an annoyance trapped in systems that noone seems able to control, and few seem to care, to being treated with dignity, respect and courtesy.
I love the minimalist rooms. And the best desk area I’ve ever had to enable me to plug in, connect to the free wi-fi and get some work one. Peace and calm, and airconditioning that purrs softly away to keep you cool.
Shame that my swimming costume is lost in limbo somewhere so I can’t enjoy the roof top pool. But I’ll be back – with handluggage only this time.”
Post added by Clare Howard, Barcelona July 2007
See the website Hotel: www.hotelsohobarcelona.com