Recent media reports about the legal action by the owners of the Shelbourne Hotel to remove the management company reminded me of my only visit to the hotel, a couple of months ago, since it re-opened.
The wife and I met her brother, Joe, in the front bar. We sat on stools at one of the high tables and waited for service. The bar area, which also serves food, was surprisingly empty for 1.15pm – prime lunchtime.
Service was slow and, when the waitress dropped her tray with a loud clatter while serving people at a nearby table, Joe got up and went to the bar to order a pint of Guinness and two sauvignon blancs.
Joe returned with a puzzled look on his face – “she asked if I wanted ice & lemon in the wine” he reported. All was explained when the waitress delivered the drinks – the pint of Guinness and two 7-Ups.
We laughed and explained the mistake to the waitress. She laughed and told us, in was heavily accented English, that the barmaid was both a bit deaf and didn’t have good English.
We concluded that, in this supposedly 5-star hotel, here was one explanation for the lack of customers in this landmark and centrally located hotel at lunchtime. It certainly didn’t augur well for the financial return on the huge money (c. €250m) spent on buying and refurbishing the place.
So it didn’t come as a major surprise to see that the hotel management is facing a possible eviction order.
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