Elite Plaza, Gothenburg, Sweden *

Q: What is it? A: A joke. I will spell the joke out in Swedish: ”Servicenivån som Elite Plaza Hotel erbjuder är den allra högsta för att varje vistelse ska bli en unik upplevelse.” They are basically banging their own drum about their service-level. Which is, first and foremost, not a reality but a joke. Please, read on.

Elite Plaza – Gothenburg, Sweden
They pride themselves to be a five-star property. On my visit, they delivered like a hostel. After all these years of travel, I can’t recall that I ever had a worse hotel breakfast. Ever.[/caption]

“This was the first hotel in Sweden to be awarded a five-star rating.”
Their website is pumping up the expectations even higher, claiming that the hotel is providing ”…a unique environment with the ambition to give our guests the highest level of satisfaction.” The presentation in Swedish is taking it even further, being very specific about the level of service, rating it as ”the very highest”. People behold… this is certainly no ordinary hotel.

It’s a member of the Design Hotels chain. Ahem…
From the outside, this 1889 palatal building looks nice. And when entering the premises you can’t but be impressed by the stucco ceilings and English mosaic floors. But after that the whole place is going downhill on a steep double-diamond slope. It’s pretty hard to believe that this hotel opened January 3 in the year 2000. Design elements suggest that you’ll be staying in an upscale 1980s shopping mall. But soon it turns out that the design (or the lack of it) is one of the hotel’s lesser problems.

What makes a great hotel great?
The key to greatness is the staff. And how many times will hotel and guest meet during a stay? Just on a handful of occasions, maybe three or four, right? Therefore it is sad to find that the Elite Plaza are not only off track. They have derailed completely and plummeted into a deep ravine. If bell boys and doormen actually do exist, they are taking a hike this weekend. Check-in is executed with the enthusiasm and personality of a glass of water. And where other hotels go through a whole lot of trouble to shine, the Elite Plaza takes you on a journey further into the abyss. Read on, now it is time for [drumroll] breakfast.

Glimpses from a disaster area:
Forget about bread, fresh from the oven. A few crackers and some gloomy crisp bread is all you will get. The fruit salad is an insult to all fruits. Guests are pouring orange juice into coffee cups as there are no clean glasses. Near fist fights break out over the few tables that have actually been cleaned. The inexperienced staff must be using 20% of their time answering questions from guests that are on the brink of really losing their patience: “Could you please tell me when there will be [insert breakfast item of your choice here]?” If this is breakfast, it’s managed by Basil Fawlty.

Why stay in a place with an attitude problem?
It starts with individual staff members and continues with organization. When it comes to the relationship with their guests, the Elite Plaza is certainly no five-star hotel. The only time a staff member is paying any real attention to me, is when telling me that photography is prohibited. At the front desk I feel like interrupting something really important when having a simple request. This place needs an overhaul Gordon Ramsay-style. Pronto. And may Gordon be as pissed only a pissed off Gordon could be. And if the management put their hearts and minds into fixing these major flaws, I will find any reason to excuse them for the so-called pieces of modern art that taint the walls of this, ahem… design hotel.

Elite Plaza Hotel
Västra Hamngatan 3
411 17 Göteborg
Sweden

If you, despite everything written above, still want to book the Elite Plaza, click here to go to tablethotels.com – and if you have had a different experience at this hotel, please do let me know.

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