Monday, April 20, 2009

No sooner had I basked for a moment in the glory of the glowing Trip Advisor review posted in the last blog, than I am brought back crashing down to earth again with our first awful review on the same Trip Advisor Website! It was written in Italian, but my friend Cressida kindly translated it for me. Having read it I phoned up Beigna, in charge at the moment, and ranted and raved of course. Then I phoned Keita, who also phoned Beigna and continued the verbal attack.

Hotel Djenne Djenno is a new building which enjoys a tranquil position just outside the city of Djenne.

The rooms are of two types; standard, with two tiny single beds, and superior, bigger - with a double bed and a porch : both are furnished with care, have a bath with shower and an excellent mosquito net.

The garden is well cared for and the structure of the complex is very pleasant.

The one problem we encountered was the service: it was non-existent.

On arrival there was almost no-one there to meet us, we were given a different room from the one we had booked, we asked for something to eat, anything to eat ( it was 2 in the afternoon) and were told that it was impossible and during the entire stay there was nobody present in charge – we always had to go and search for someone. To order a coca-cola ( which ran out on the second day ), to find out how dinner worked ( a surprise menu ), to obtain toilet paper ( no-one had checked the room to see what was needed), to get information on the things we needed: why the first night the generator was broken ( we never did have light in the hotel, though they said there would be ), and the following evening it was pitch dark… oil lamps at dinner and in the rooms. We should add that during the two days of our stay the proprietress was not there and we tend to believe the absolute lack of service depended on the fact that when the cats are away, the mice will play !

Breakfast and dinner were more than satisfactory, but, for example, in our room there were objects abandoned by thousands of other people…. battery chargers, a personal diary, a rucksack on top of the cupboard, boxes with stuff inside, and the sheets ( blue) were without doubt clean but had bleach stains the size of a house..

The hotel is very charming… but the cat I fear cannot be allowed to go on holiday !

Oh Dear Oh Dear.
BUT, in our defence, let me say the following:
There are certain things mentioned here that cannot simply be helped. Djenne is extremely primitive. There are absolutely no shops, no plumbers, no electricians and no modern day equipment or services at all. The hotel does not have connection to electricity. We have to generate our own. This caused no problem normally but a generator can break down, and in the last few weeks this has happened a couple of times. When this occurs there are two things to do: people can either go to another hotel or stay. The couple in question clearly chose to stay, so therefore should not perhaps have complained.
IF people choose to stay, they are given the option of sleeping in a mosquito net tent on the roof under the stars, which is a lovely experience.
The dinner is always eaten in the light of oil lamps under the stars- current or no current.
The sheets this lady talks about were brought from Ikea in London. As soon as they arrived Igor washed them with bleach and 'ruined' them, i.e. they have white stains on them. This in my view is not a major problem in the middle of darkest Africa. There are no shops to replace such sheets- that will have to wait until I get back from Europe again! Had the sheets had brown stains on them- yes OK!
Some people should perhaps stay in more 'civilized' countries for their holidays?
On the other hand, there can of course be no excuse for the alleged lack of service, and that is the most worrying thing in the review. Beigna wrote me an email and said that I must trust him- he is sorry about the review but he is doing his best.
I have no choice now, I will be back in May only. The generator is being mended as we speak.
Oh dear Oh dear.


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