Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Why is the Laico so expensive?

Are you thinking of booking a conference at the Laico Regency? I hope you're a patient and forgiving client, like me, and are willing to suffer minor indignities that would drive the finicky among us (yes, you, Samoe!) to utter distraction. I'm currently sequestered in a stuffy conference room that has sucked the last morsel of goodwill out of me, staring at conference tables designed by Beelzebub, lacklustre Tropical mints (yes, the ones offered by sweets' vendors on Landhies Road) and thinking dark thoughts because even after I bitched about it, my buffet lunch was not accompanied by my preferred beverage: ice-cold Coca-Cola.

About that lunch, Lord Jesus better take the wheel. The food is not bad, that is, it won't murder me tonight (I think). It isn't the best, but what do you expect for bottom-dollar anyway. The food is not the reason why I wanna murder a member of the Laico's management; it is the whole restaurant experience.

Those Java House people do one thing and they do it well (never mind their crap chicken curry): they will separate you from the contents of your wallet with a smile, and excellent cup of coffee and and ambiance that even at the height of lunch-time traffic never falters. The Laico, sadly, is not good at what it does. In fact, it is abysmal. I don't know how many conferences the Laico is hosting today, but it is clear that there are too many conference attendees for the restaurant facilities to cope.

It feels like a rugby scrum when we go up to our lunch, pushing and jostling and suffering from what is now becoming a signature effect of the Laico, the stuffiness. The managers must love the stuffy, musty smell because even with the windows wide open, the damn place just feels confined and claustrophobic. It is an oppressive atmosphere and I am keen to get out as soon as the workday is over. I don't even wish to try out their bar (do they have a bar?) or the spa (that they have). I just want to get out.

And yet...remember when the Grand Regency first opened its doors? It was all gilded this and gilded that and the eye-watering charges just made it all the more exclusive and classy-feeling. The Summit Club was the place to be seen in. Those halcyon days are long over and the Laico today feels like an over-the-hill, once great hotel. It is and feels old. Lift buttons? Faded and scratched. WiFi? You've got to be kidding me! Bathroom facilities? Small, stained and whiff-y. Car-park? Small and I-will-break-your-neck cobblestoned. It isn't even trying to feel good or look good; it just wants money without doing anything for it. It feels, forgive me, like a parliamentarian who keeps promising to do his job next week when he gets back to bunge.

About the food, if you like boiled-to-death meat...

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