I didn’t get to review their hotel services in this review but I could not resist telling you about my Novotel experience.
Let’s begin with a Story
I cut my Lagos Trip short because of a seminar I was eager to attend. It was by British Council and had interesting speakers on the panel. I was excited because it was titled Creative Hustle.
Unfortunately, I got there late and couldn’t get in because in my head no event starts at the time they say they will. Typical Nigerian mentality. It failed me woefully and that is how this review happened.
The Creative Hustle seminar was at Novotel, Port Harcourt. The venue is not a strange name in this city. If you attend The King’s Assembly Church, you should be used to it and if you grew up in Port Harcourt, then it is close to Air Force Junction.
Sha sha, I got there ready to hustle and I was bounced nicely with a notebook and pen (at leased they dashed me something).
I looked them up on the World Wide Web and they obviously had good reviews. Trip Advisor had quite a lot to say and I cannot dispute because I have not spent a night there yet.
In other news, my experience was a little different from what I was told online.
[ctt template=”1″ link=”6Jwo8″ via=”yes” ]Experience is the best teacher[/ctt]
So I went to experience it for myself.
What did it feel like?
As I walked into the lobby, right after the security check, I was put off by the crowded space. It wasn’t exactly filled with people o. It just had too much going on. The Minimalist in me screamed for help but I had to tell her to chill first. They had stores and different settees. Confusion just entered my head. A Hotel lobby doesn’t need stores. I just want to enter and book for a room. It’s not like it was an exceptionally big space like that of Hilton in Abuja.
Because I knew I was late, I went straight to where I was directed to and after being bounced, I decided to do something with my time.
I went to their bar looking area, took a seat and just rested. Knowing how most of these places get, I prepared my mind to order for something but I wasn’t sure what.
As I was trying to figure out my next step, someone that looked like the manager walked up to me and mentioned that I can’t sit here, I would have to order for something or leave. Rude Much!
There are so many ways to handle situations like this. You could instruct the waiters to give guests menus as they sit and wait for a certain amount of time before informing them. There was no need to have a man in a suit with a pretty high toned voice telling me to order or find some other place to seat.
I decided to order for something. I had a 1,500 to 2,000 Naira budget and the only thing that fit in my budget that was not a soft drink or something irrelevant, was Hot Chocolate.
I wanted to add something else so I asked the waiter if they had small chops. Small chops is now a national delicacy so everybody should be up to speed abeg. Sadly, he said it cost 3,000 per portion. I laughed and just ordered for my Hot Chocolate. I cannot come and kill myself because of small chops.
Did it smell nice?
I honestly did not pick up any smell while I was there. My day so far had been somehow so I didn’t concentrate long enough to find out what it smelled it. If it exceptionally good, my nose will notice and same for an exceptionally bad smell. So I guess it was alright. Obviously I do not expect such a hotel to dare smell like trash.
My Order finally came through!
Omo! I was too sure they went to search for Cocoa in Brazil! JEEZ! I was thanking my stars I didn’t order for the small chops. Maybe they’ll travel by ship to China to get the flour. Hot chocolate is too easy an order to make a customer wait.
When the order finally came, it was presented very well. They even added an extra saucer filled with groundnuts (oyibo people call am peanuts). When I looked at the way I was served, I calmed down a little bit.
Now on to the Main Event!
As I poured into my mug, I got a little confused. I searched for some hot chocolate anywhere around because I was sure I was pouring out Tea. No guys! Those local people reading this blog thinking “is it not the same thing?”
No! It is not! If I wanted tea like that, I would have gone back home to prepare it. I poured and still went ahead to drink because I could not believe that the hotel will comfortably serve me tea and not at least surprise me with a different taste.
Behold! brothers and sisters, it was tea! Plain Ol’ Tea!
“Disappointed” cannot describe the way I felt. I started eating all the groundnuts on the table because I’m sure they can’t go wrong with that.
Thankfully, I ordered some water too. I just used that one to calm myself down.
I know I did not have Hot Chocolate in Novotel. I’m sure it was an overpriced version of the regular Nigerian Tea.
I had Frozen Hot Chocolate at WoodHouse so my taste buds cannot deceive me.
What did I like?
- Location: Novotel is properly situated in Port Harcourt. It won’t be stressful to find it or gain access to it.
- Presentation: The order was presented so well, I couldn’t wait to start digging it. Plus they added something extra. I always love being surprised with extra food.
- Hygiene: I can always trust a restaurant that serves me in white utensils. I trust that they must have cleaned it thoroughly to even let me see it. I didn’t see stains or leftover marks.
What did I not like?
- Customer Service: Novotel staff acted like they were doing me a favour by attending to me. The first encounter was with the supposed manager that just walked to my sit to imply that I should leave. That was not necessary and could have been handled differently. In a more polite manner.
- Ambience: there was nothing calming about the environment. Music did not fill the air, scents did not capture my nose. It felt like every normal place. I didn’t feel captivated by the space. Nothing. Just my regular sit out.
- Aesthetics: something has to be done about that space in the lobby. Get a designer and make it welcoming. I understand that it has lasted for years but to stay in the business, you need to be updated. They need to get someone to organize their space.
- Food: I cannot pay money outside to drink tea that is in my house o. I was not pleased with the “hot chocolate” I was served. If I had known, I would have ordered for juice or a soft drink and left. I honestly wasted my money.
- Price: This place is not for the faint hearted. Prices were so high. How can small chops be 3,000? I think their meals are over priced.
In general, Novotel experience was not very pleasant. I will visit them another time and make a different order. Maybe that will change my mind but with what I saw, I will not encourage anyone to go and have Hot Chocolate there.
I know some people will say it’s a hotel and not a restaurant or café and I thought about that too but then I thought about how much worse I’d have felt if I actually paid for a room and ordered that.