The disappearing hotel: Where has all the service – and the butter – gone?


What makes a good hotel great is its customer service – human customer service. — MIKHAIL NILOV

After a full two years of idling rooms, dwindling guests, and shrinking services, hotels across Asia are turning on the fairy lights once again. Returning guests gratefully collapsing at the altar of this renewed five-star devotion would do well to examine the miracles of 2022 with a healthily jaundiced eye.

As with the nouvelle cuisine trap, the art of the restart revolves around the promise rather than any proffered tangibles. That one buttered pea rolling around your expensive bone china plate in an orgy of solitary ecstasy and the boast of a brand marquee that excites smartphone shutters, is considered enough to silence any dissenting murmurs.

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