After growing up living in hotels for 20 years, I worked in hotels for another seven. So naturally I happened to witness lots of different stories. Some are dramatic, others are funny, which are the ones I compiled here. The spooky stories will be left for another article. Enjoy.
1- Haifa The Pillow Princess
Once in a fancy 5-star hotel in Egypt, I was called to the reception to check out Haifa Wehbe — the seductive Lebanese singer. After a three-day stay the bill was a little over $3000. However, she said she was supposed to be invited and shouldn't be charged. Knowing that there wasn't any notice left on the system, I replied that I have no info about this arrangement. So she unhappily handed me her credit card.
For some reason, I still called the owning company office, informing them about the situation. I was quickly told to let her go and to “put it on the company”. I gave her back the credit card and said that it's all taken care of. She smiled and thanked me, then headed to the main entrance preparing to depart.
At that exact same moment, the head Housekeeping called me from Haifa's vacant suite to tell me that she took one of our exceptionally soft pillows with her! A little confused, I called my manager and told him the story. He asked me to check with the bellmen handling her bags and look for the pillow, and to stop her if found.
I went to the luggage room and we did find the pillow. Imagine now I had to personally go to Haifa, who was standing in front of the main entrance surrounded by her Emo posse ready to get into the limousine, and find a gentle way to tell her: Hey, we all know that you just stole something from us but we want it back. And it came out like this:
“Excuse me, the Housekeeping informed me that there is a missing pillow from your suite.”
She instantly and nervously replied: “No this is mine.”
I then knew she was lying. I only had two choices; I was either going to tell her, “No it's not, we saw it inside your luggage and you're not leaving with our pillow” and risk some unknown consequences. Or, pretend that she convinced me with her soft, spoiled voice and wave bye bye.
I chose to wave bye bye and to keep telling the story.
Once in the late 90s in a 5-star hotel in Egypt, an Arab guest was seen in his balcony hanging a bed sheet with his room number written on it in huge as he was trying to pick up a woman from the opposing building!
3- Turkish Connection
Another time in a different 5-star hotel in Cairo, I was called to meet a Turkish walk-in guest who desperately needed a room while we were fully booked. I told him that the situation was extremely tight, but he insisted that I help him. I then called the other property and made them book the last room they had, as well as arranged for a limousine ride to there. I also got curious to know why was he was so desperate, so I walked to the lobby to find a good-looking woman sitting there waiting for him.
Before leaving, he left a $100 tip and was all smiles. He looked at my face and said: “Thank you very much, but you're not Egyptian...you're Turkish!” I was somehow fascinated as I smiled back, saying:
“Well, I have Turkish blood. But how did you know?”
And he just responded: “I just do.”
I'm still wondering what made him say that. Some friends suggested later that it was due to how I write my family name with a ‘C’, which he could see on the name tag. Though this is a French thing and not Turkish.
4- A Pimping Guest
Once in a 5-star hotel in Cairo, a colleague contacted an Arab guest to kindly ask him to take a visiting female out of the room as it wasn't allowed. The man asked if he could do it after half an hour or so, but my colleague refused. So the desperate man offered him some money, and when he still refused he offered him the visitor herself after he was done with her.
5- Hash-Sniffing K-9
When working for a 5-star hotel in Egypt, security called me once saying that the guard dog at the entrance of the parking ‘caught’ some hash in one of the guests’ cars. I went down to check and told them to leave it as it.
Thing is, anyone who knows a tad bit about detection dogs would know that there are either “drug-sniffing” dogs or “explosive-sniffing” dogs, they cannot be both. We confronted the security company which provides the canines and they confessed they had picked the wrong dog for that specific shift. Of course anything could have happened because of this mishap and I doubt anyone would have suspected.
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