Written on: 02/01/2011
I stayed at the Hotel Admiral on a half-board basis. I note that one reviewer mentions that there are no tea/coffee making facilities in the rooms, and the comment that the owner wants people to spend money in the bar instead. This tallies with my experience.
Although you can't expect too much from a 2* hotel, I think it is reasonable to expect free access to drinking water in any European hotel.
At dinner, soon after we arrived after a long journey, I asked for some tap water with my meal. I was told by the waiter that the tap water in Belgium was not drinkable (even though my guidebook says the opposite!). As it was late and the shops had shut, the only option was to buy water from the hotel bar, at 1.50 Euros per glass! The following night, I brought my own water into the dining room. The hotel manager got quite angry about this, confronted me in front of the whole dining room, and 'confiscated' my water, saying that it was not possible to bring my own drink into the dining room. In my opinion, this was a shameless attempt to force me to buy water from the hotel bar. I didn't expect to be provided with wine/soft drinks free of charge; but as we were staying half-board, I at least expected water to be provided with the evening meal. Everywhere else I have stayed in Europe, tap water has been provided willingly. There was a grocer's shop across the road from the hotel that sold a whole litre of mineral water for half the price of a single glass of water from the hotel bar!
One elderly lady misplaced her purse in the hotel bar, and when she reported it to the hotel manager, he seemed completely uninterested, even though the lady was clearly distraught. She got her purse back in the end, but she was very upset by the manager's attitude.
Another lady was slightly late going down to dinner one evening, and the hotel manager phoned her room to scold her for being late!
We didn't feel as though we were on holiday here, and we're sorry to say that we were glad to leave. It's such a pity, because on the whole, the Belgian people we met were friendly and helpful. I would go back to Ostend, but next time, I would stay at a different hotel.
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