Always read the small print.
We were feeling pretty smug about our amazing deal on flights to Cuba. With no real time frame or deadlines, we were able to snap up a flight for the following day; the fact it meant an overnight layover in Mexico City on the way back was no problem, either. Even with a night in a hotel it would still work out about half the expected price, though of course we’d be looking for the best deal out there for that, too. So we were pretty delighted when we got a night for £10, near the airport, private room. It didn’t even occur to us to wonder why it was so cheap.
The first sign something was amiss was the fact that two taxi drivers had never heard of our hotel. Like taxi drivers the world over, they’re well versed in the tourist haunts and our hotel was not one of them. But, no matter, we’d dutifully written down the address and once it was punched into the SatNav we were on our way.
Things went a little west as we approached our destination. The car swerved beneath the motorway overpass and around darkened corners with little life in sight. As we pulled up we saw two shifty looking characters hanging out in the car park. This turned out to be the ‘reception’. Two guys, a half-smoked packet of cigarettes, and a clipboard. We cheerfully told them we had a reservation. They grunted incomprehensibly and asked us for our 300 pesos.
Next we were shown to our room. Not your most traditonal B&B facade, rather a seven foot metal door that led to a dimly-lit garage with a staircase at the back. The minimalist lighting carried on once inside, emphasised by black, embossed wallpaper, black painted floors and – for a splash of colour – dark red, fake leather furniture.
A theme was beginning to emerge. In the giant room there was a giant, walk in shower in full view of the bed. There were individual packets of Kleenex on the nightstand. A sizeable televison offered a host of cable channels – CNN, Sky Sports, a catalogue of porn. The large double was (we assume, it was too dark to tell) freshly made with matching red and black linen. And a throw printed with modern-day scenes from the Kama Sutra.
In case we were in any doubt, the hotel menu set us straight – Moet champagne, cream-based desserts, and an entire section dedicated to pharmaceuticals. Though there was a breakfast menu on offer, we decided not to hang around; after laughing ourselves silly, we locked the door, pushed the sex throw on the floor, and set the alarm for as an early a start as we could manage.
Price: Just, don’t.
* actually called Eurosuites Oceania. But it’s that kind of vague labelling that gets you in to trouble in the first place.