Thursday, April 2, 2009

Want to save money? Close the toilets ...


Was this really a smart move? I seem to agree that for a hotel this category, it may actually be a speck of dust on its looking glass - it tarnishes the image unnecessarily.

What's your say? Read on.

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Raffles Hotel

Teo Xuanwei
xuanwei@mediacorp.com.sg

THE higher the rating, the more expectations there are of a hotel and the state of its public washrooms as well.

Or in the case of the six-star Raffles Hotel, to how convenient it is to find one that is open. A recent decision by the hotel’s management to close two of its public toilets and shorten the hours for the others has upset some tenants.

On Tuesday, a letter was sent to tenants of its shopping arcade informing them of the decision — with immediate effect.

There are nine restrooms in the property.

When Today visited the hotel yesterday afternoon, several tenants said they were worried about how their businesses may be hit.

“This is really embarrassing,” said a retailer who declined to be named. “I understand everyone has to cut costs now, but there are surely many other better ways to do it.

“How much money can you save like this?”

Louis Vuitton, The HourGlass, Swarovski and BP De Silva Jewellers are some retailers in the hotel’s three-storey shopping arcade.

When contacted, a hotel spokesman said that the “operation hours” of some of the washrooms “have been adjusted in conjunction with the operation hours of the restaurants and shops there.

The hotel said that there are sufficient public washrooms for both patrons’ and residents’ use. It did not say how much money would be saved by such a move.

One business affected by the decision is Beauty@Genesis. The spa is located beside a restroom that can only be used from 11.30am to 2.30pm and from 6.30pm to 10pm each day. Its clients have to use the ground floor toilet about 30 metres away at other times.

“When you’re going for a spa treatment at Raffles Hotel, you don’t expect to have to walk so far in a robe to go to the toilet,” said a member of its staff.

“It’s absurd, excessive and really embarrassing. You can’t just take away public amenities like that.”

There are also “bottlenecks” at some toilets, claimed some tenants.

“There is a queue to use the toilet and when you get in, there’s no toilet paper,” said another retailer. “It’s one thing for staff here to be inconvenienced, but it’s another thing if our customers have to suffer too.”

Some hotel guests expressed surprise when told of the hotel’s decision.

“Inconveniences aside, it’s not good for the image of a top hotel,” said consultant Karen Sim.

A Raffles Hotel spokesman said it will“certainly review” the tenants’ feedback.

From TODAY, News
Thursday, 02-April-2009

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