Swiss ... Oops miss ... Belhotel, Bahrain

The Swiss Belhotel in Bahrain looks like a nice, new 4 star hotel. The facilities are lovely and clean and the rooms are comfy as. However, good facilities alone do not make a hotel 4 star. A lot of it is about service, and I'm sorry to say this hotel was found to be sorely lacking in that department. It started from the moment we arrived when we walked out of customs expecting the driver of the hotel to be waiting for us. For once we were going to be two of those important people who walk out to a man waiting with their name on a sheet of paper, to be whisked away to their hotel without having to join the scrum to secure a taxi. Only problem was, no one was waiting for us... no sign, no smiling face, no clean new car. So off to the scrum we went. Luckily we got a nice taxi driver who took off with us like we were on the F1 racetrack, merrily pointing out the malls and posh hotels as they whizzed by (because that's what tourists in Bahrain want to see, obviously!).
Bathroom

Bathroom

Upon arrival at the hotel, we asked what had happened to our airport pickup. After some calls we were informed they forgot to arrange it and so we were offered a free upgrade to a junior suite as compensation. In that way, the incident was handled well and had that been the only thing that happened, I would have nothing but praise for the hotel. Unfortunately, it was only a taste of things to come. 
Junior Suite room

Junior Suite room

The first day we were there we had to chase down housekeeping to get some more facecloths as they had taken the ones that had been provided and hadn't replaced them. This happened every single day we were there. Plus they never replenished the tea, sugar, or milk so we had to call about that every day too. However, the worst was our second day there when, after being out all day sightseeing in a sandstorm, we returned to the hotel after 3pm to find no one had yet been in to clean our room. We had to go to reception and request that they come. Because we were in the room when they came, we got to watch them at work. Imagine our horror when we saw the cleaner wipe out the garbage can with a cloth and then proceed to wipe out our tea cups with that same cloth. That's just gross so we stopped him and he then went on to wipe the table and other surfaces with that very same cloth.... nice! I really think some more training is in need.

To top off our experience, we decided to book the transfer back to the airport because we were leaving at 5am and the last time the hotel had booked a taxi for us we had to pay twice as much as for a normal taxi. Actually, our whole trip consisted of fighting with taxi drivers who wanted to take the scenic route or tack on the extra BD or two for waiting at a hotel even when you got them from the souq or mall. We were fed up with the taxis and wanted a nice transfer to the airport. As we booked, we questioned the guy at reception and explained what had happened when we arrived (no transfer) and he wrote something in a big book and said not to worry; everything was set for our 5am transfer the next morning. At 8pm we called down to reception, just to double check we were set. Reception had no idea about our transfer.... neither did the chief concierge. Reception then said they would just call a taxi for us in the morning. We explained our problems with taxis and reception assured us it wouldn't cost more than 10BD. 10BD! That was what the private car provided by the hotel was to cost! The we had got 4 days earlier taxi from the airport plus the 2BD airport surcharge tacked on had only cost 6BD. We asked to talk to the manager. Reception got him to call us and after a talk he promised he would arrange a transfer. By now over an hour had passed and we still weren't 100% convinced a car would be waiting. Stressed and needing to get up at 4am, we tried to get some sleep. To the manager's credit the car was waiting for us at 5am and he had already paid the driver. But why couldn't things have just been done properly to start with?
Pool deck at sunset

Pool deck at sunset

Although none of these things alone ruined our stay, combined they really made it hard to like this hotel. I've stayed at much cheaper, lower ranked hotels and received much better service. I noticed that another Swiss Belhotel is opening in Manama. May I suggest that you spend some time training your staff at the one that is already open? The facilities are great and we loved the pool area, sauna and suite. But the service from the staff really let this hotel down.