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Hotel Dona Maria
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Don Remondo 19, Seville, Andalusia 41004
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This stay could have been better, a lot better.
heber ctity, Utah
May 26, 2011
Best of IgoUgo
Our disastrous stay the Donna Maria was one of our worst hotel adventures, but it wasn’t all the hotel’s fault. Or maybe it was. We left home on Dec. 23 and arrived at the Malaga airport on Dec 24, spent the day sightseeing on the way to Seville, ...
Our disastrous stay the Donna Maria was one of our worst hotel adventures, but it wasn’t all the hotel’s fault. Or maybe it was.
We left home on Dec. 23 and arrived at the Malaga airport on Dec 24, spent the day sightseeing on the way to Seville, and arrived at the Donna Maria late in the afternoon, ready for a fine dinner. We asked the desk clerk for some restaurant suggestions, and he said, "It is Christmas Eve. No restaurants are open." We did a quick check of the neighborhood and found no restaurants that were open. We asked the clerk again for help. No luck, so our Christmas Eve dinner was bottled water, two hard rolls we brought with us from breakfast on the airplane in case we wanted a snack along the road, and a Hershey bar. Had Jesus been around– and why wasn’t he as this was Christmas Eve?– he could have multiplied our loaves, like he did at the Sermon on the Mount, and sent us to bed with a full tummy. A little Jesus intervention would have made this a pleasantly memorable diner, but as it was, this was a memorable dinner, but not the kind of dinner you want remember.
After the overnight flight and a full day of sightseeing we were early to bed, and here the comfortable beds and the initially quiet hotel Donna Maria showed promise. Until midnight. The Donna Maria is directly across the square from the Seville Cathedral, and it is the custom in Spain, or at least in Seville, that the moment Christmas Eve becomes Christmas Day– midnight– the natives commence ringing all the bells in the Cathedral’s large bell tower and the cacophony goes on for a full hour– forget sleeping.
The next morning, we got ourselves a big breakfast and went sight seeing. About 1:00pm, we decided to leave Seville. Our Hertz rental car, parked just down the street from the Donna Maria would not start. I asked the desk clerk at the Donna Maria to call the local Hertz office for us. He advised us that, it being Christmas Day, everything was closed, but he tried, and low and behold Hertz answered. One manager had come in after lunch to tidy up some paperwork, and he soon fixed us up with a new car, which subsequently had four flat tires in 20 miles, but that’s another tale of Spanish disasters.
So, our stay at the Donna Maria was not what you might call a success. The question is, was the hotel at fault for any of our misfortunes? Perhaps so. On subsequent trips to Europe, we also ran into the problem of closed restaurants on religious holidays. One was when we arrived late– airplane delay– at The Mermaid in Rye, England, on a Sunday evening and learned all the restaurants in the very small town were closed. The desk clerk went back in the kitchen and fixed us a couple of very good sandwiches for dinner at no charge. That is a hotel that takes care of its customers. The Donna Maria could have done that also, for they had to have had some food on hand for the next morning’s breakfast, but no, that desk clerk let us go hungry.
Then there was a charter flight to Vienna, 140 people arriving at a hotel on Christmas Eve. Same problem– everything closed. The trip manager had some words with the desk, and within an hour, dinner was served for our group in the closed restaurant. That is a hotel that takes care of its customers. The Donna Maria could have done that also, for they had to have had some food on hand for the next morning breakfast, but no, that desk clerk let us go hungry.
We also have formed the hypothesis from our extensive travels in Europe that one can always find a place to eat at the main train station in major cites, and Seville is a major city. And even in the smallest towns served by rail, there is a restaurant in the train station always open at normal hours. We found our selves in a tiny Swiss village once on a Sunday evening– same problem all the restaurants in town were closed, except the train station, where we were the only customers.
So, was the desk clerk at Donna Maria on Christmas Eve incompetent or was it true that everything was closed? On the one hand, there is reason to believe that somewhere in Seville, there were open restaurants and he should have known about them, or found out. Also, if he had been as conscientious as the staff in Rye or Vienna, he would have rustled up some food. So that’s 11/2 serious strikes against the Hotel Donna Maria.
On the other hand, the Hotel Donna Maria cannot be blamed for the Christian’s orgy of midnight noise.
So how do I rate the Donna Maria? Had it not been for outside problems, I think it would have been a fine hotel, but one has a fine stay in a fine hotel and we did not. At least some of the problems could have been remedied by good service. Here it is: you pays your money and you takes your chances. The Hotel Donna Maria had potential, but problems over came it. I might even consider going back, but only after a long study of other options.
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