Mission: To respond thoughtfully and responsibly to my experiences of drinking and dining at restaurants with regard to the quality, service, preparation, presentation and overall experience received thereat. The standpoint is one who respects the crafts of the chef and sommelier and who seeks to understand their choices in the kitchen and cellar and grow in knowledge. In this, I will seek to be fair, reasoned, direct and constructive and aim to keep my ego in check on our mutual journeys through the worlds of food and wine.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Shang stiffs IWFS for water - again!!

Fool me once, more fool you. Fool me twice...

Seems that for the second time, our IWFS KL has gotten stiffed for water charges by the Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur. This time was an event at the Arthur's Bar (which I did not attend - still peeved at the Shang from previous experiences at events there as reported elsewhere on this blog). Seems staff were asking if our members and guests wanted still or sparkling water WITHOUT STATING UPFRONT THAT THERE WOULD BE A CHARGE FOR IT. Although it was managed to get nipped in the bud before it got too expensive, the principle is that staff remain apparently instructed by management not to advise that water is chargeable at functions and it is presumably "assumed" by the staff that guests at such functions will know and understand that such water is chargeable as an extra. Whether such water issues are discussed and determined at contract negotiation stage I do not know at this time. If it is, then most of what follows becomes futile since the Shang can presumably point to the contract and say "you should have told your guests." 

Even so, I feel there is still a point. The issue is that in private Society events (which this one was), the assumption generally is that water is part of the evening's offerings for which any and all charges will have been paid upfront by Society members as part of the overall total they have paid to the Society. They reasonably assume that their water is gratis and payment for it would have been covered in their prepayment for the evening. For the Society to get stiffed with an extra bill for water leaves a very bad taste. As stated elsewhere, I presently no longer patronise the Shang if I can help it. When I do, I make a point of asking for warm water which comes from the tap. Whilst I enjoy sparkling water, I prefer not to pay the premium that hotels impose on it. 

The perception is that it appears exceptionally cheap for a hotel of the supposed stature and star quality of the Shangri-La Kuala Lumpur to add such water charges for guests of private functions at hotel outlets and venues. I recognise from a business angle that there is a cost factor that needs to be covered. Even so, why not be upfront about the bottled water and its chargeability and not nastily surprise people at the end of the night with the bill? It really whacks the goodwill factor which gets seen to take second place to apparently making a swift couple of Hundred Plus Plus Ringgit on the water. Why not instruct staff to offer warm water as a viable alternative? As said, this is the second time it has happened to the IWFS (previous was a Chateau Beychevelle Wine dinner at Lafite). I just find it sad and unbecoming and it all reinforces why I now prefer to not patronise the place either personally or through the Society. Well, this and the below standard food I had at a function there in July last year. Bad form again, Shang, bad form again…

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