We arrived at the Westin hotel and decided we did not want to go out anymore for food. We had had dinner at the hotel already a few times as well, and my wife was craving something definitely non-Japanese.
Lamia: Pizza would be nice.
When your pregnant wife wants pizza, you get her pizza.
The hotel did not have pizza on any menu and the one we had tried at their buffet dinner was… well: let’s say the chef should stick to fish and rice and not attempt Italian classics.
I called reception and asked them for help to get a pizza from elsewhere.
Voice: The Westin does not support outside food.
Leo: Erg… what?
Voice: We do not order delivery food for our guests.
Leo: Alright, that’s petty, but no worries. Can you recommend a place where I can order?
She gave me a number.
I called, and they spoke English (phew!) – but the number was from the restaurant, not their delivery hotline, so I had to call again on a different line. That went well so far. I called the other line, however, and got some funny Japanese gibberish which I assumed was some sort of a menu where you have to type a number. That went a little above my abilities.
Lamia was ready to let go of the pizza idea, but I was persistent.
I went down to the reception.
Leo: Hi. I’ve just called this pizza delivery service and I do not understand the automated message. Can you call there and tell me what they say?
Reception droid: Erg. Ehm. Hum.
Oh yes, this was my favorite guy at the reception: a trainee who, for some reason, I always ran into when I had a request. And it was painful each time. In general, the whole staff at the reception of the Westin Miyako was crap, however. Every other member of their staff was friendly, spoke some good English and made an effort to help as good as they could. I wonder why this does not work for the reception.
Leo: Look, I just need you to tell me what they say there. You do not need to order.
Reception droid: Erg. Ehm. Hum.
This went on for a little while, he consulted with a colleague who was as clueless as he was and later talked with his boss who send him back with the message:
Reception droid: We do not order delivered food…
Aaargh! This is not what I’ve asked!
After several minutes of near physical pain, exasperated, I walked away from the reception into the middle of the lobby and said with a loud, booming voice:
Leo: Is anybody here who speaks Japanese and is willing to help me?!
I approached a bunch of people sitting on sofas who looked Japanese enough to me and asked them for help.
Leo: Do you speak Japanese?
Guy: No. I am Chinese…
Ah, shit! I apologized.
Guy: … but my friend here does.
Turns out these were Chinese tourist guides and one of them was fluent in Japanese. I explained my problem and she said.
Girl: Sure. What’s the number?
She even used her own phone because she had free calls within Japan. She called and got to the same message that I had heard. And hung up. Huh?
Girl: That was the busy sign…
So in Japan the busy sign is a really long, spoken message? Now look at that. I could have just kept trying to call and saved me a lot of anger… oh man!
Eventually she got someone on the line, made the order for me and told me I would need to be in the lobby with cash when the delivery arrives. No problem! I thanked her heartily, went to get cash and then waited in the lobby.
It took 45 minutes for the pizza to arrive, but the delivery man found me without any problems – because he called the Chinese girl who then brought him to me. I thanked both of them and took the pizza to my hungry wife.
Far too much work to get dinner, to be honest.
But it was worth it: the pizza was excellent and the wife was happy.
In that respect the hotel made a good recommendation. But being that unhelpful when I was standing in front of them at the reception was absolutely ridiculous and very disappointing. I get that they do not want to order food from the outside, though I believe that this is a poor business choice. The result is that I am pissed off with Westin as a brand and will not choose their hotel chain in the future if I can avoid it and there are comparable options.
And all of this just because of a pizza.