Monday, January 14, 2008

Three Rials for a bottle of water?

I am currently working on a review of the restaurant at the chedi, but for today, I will share one major grievance with you. Bottled water.

Our recent visits the The restaurant in the Chedi Muscat, started off on the wrong foot with something as simple as water. They used to serve locally bottled Arwa or Tanuf, in big or small bottles, for a 200% mark up over the cost anywhere else. Fair enough, this is the Chedi.

Now, they sell 750 ml glass bottles of still water, imported from Scotland, for a whopping 2.8 rials, which is slightly more than Seven US dollars. It's just water. It's not particularly great water, but it's fancy, pretentious, expensive water that required many tonnes of fossil fuels to extract, bottle, and ship it here.

Additionally, they won't sell any other type of water, nothing local, nothing cheap, and our requests for a pitcher of tap water were initially refused. They have a good scheme here, knowing full well that tourists are terrified of drinking tap water, and so will pay the extortionate rates for bottled water.

The attitude from the staff was that the Chedi is too good to serve water from plastic bottles, or to offer filtered tap water. Thus, I was rather surprised to see that the complementary water inside the suite for which we had paid RO 350 per night ( 900 USD!!!) was Arwa, in plastic bottles. So it's ok to serve water in plastic bottles in a 350 rial suite, but not in the restaurant...because in the restaurant, you can charge the guests an arm and a leg for it. It's a rip off, pure and simple, not to mention an absolute waste of resources.

If the Chedi wanted to get serious about being an environmentally conscious hotel, they would serve filtered tap water, for 100bz a glass, with the money collected going to the Environmental society of Oman, or some other charity. They could offer the guests the option of buying the premium water, and quite a few would go for it, for the snob factor.

Kids, when you go to the Chedi, do me a favor and complain long and loud about the bottled water issue. Demand tap water. I think if they get enough complaints, they might be willing to change the policy when their contract expires with the Scottish company next year. Maybe.

This is also Cross Posted over at my blog, Other Oman


nzm said...

Best thing about the Chedi is the breakfast buffet.

Otherwise it's just another sterile hotel with too much manicured open space that people are too scared to walk into, rip-off prices and the added feature of having planes almost landing on your head while on their approaches to the airport.

Plus, when we arrived at 5pm after a great day visiting beautiful places such as Nizwa, Wadi Ghul and Jabal Shams and wanting to have a shower to clean up before dinner, we were kept waiting for 30 mins in the reception area because our room wasn't ready.

At 5pm? Come on.

Al-Maawali said...

LOL. Thats funny, suburban.
I think it's totally true.. they take advantage of the tourists who don't know any better or maybe feel too embaressed to complain about it.
Maybe I will go their restaurant one day just so that I could complain about the water and then leave :p

Great issue and I hope they do something about it.

PS: Blogspot has a problem... this post didn't show when I visited the OCB Blog but I found it in my (reader). My Blog has that same problem!

Suburban said...

NZM, thanks for stopping by. I have enjoyed M&J adventures for a long time.

AM- Cheers. And update your damn blog already. ;) I think the issue WRT the new posts may have to do with your browser's Cache... but I am a techo-moron, so perhaps someone with more technical expertise could advise?

Anonymous said...

Their restaurant used to be really great. Wonderful atmosphere and great food! I was taken aback with the water pricing but thought what the heck the food will make up for it. Not so I am afraid, the quality of the food was less than average. It (the water pricing) is probably symptomatic of a deeper issue. If the management's mindset is to rip-off customers left right and center they will soon end up with fewer and fewer customers. We have decided not to go there again and understood why the restaurant was relatively empty when we went there (we got seated without prior reservation - a first)!

david santos said...

Hi Suburban

Excellent post!

have a good day

muscati said...

i've written about this before. It's the same at they Hyatt but at least there you can ask for a local water, just make sure to tell them before they bring you the first bottle of rip off water. My issue with the Chedi when I first made noise with them over this about 15 months ago is that the imported water that they serve is no better than Tanuf and they should be proud to serve it. There's no doubt they're ripping off people. But then again I'm writing this from Germany where a 250ml bottle of Coke in a restaurant costs 5 Euro, and earlier this week in Paris 1 liter bottles of water in normal restaurants were going for even more.

Undercover Dragon said...

Yes, its a total rip-off. And the food is now 20% more expensive and a lot lot worse. Can't wait for the review Suburban.

But maybe theres an opportunity for a local businessman: take great Omani mountain water, and:
1- put it in fancy dlightly bluish glass bottles
2- also make a sparkling version! (I prefer my mineral water with bubbles, but there is no Omani one. Why is that?)

It is totally crazy that water gets shipped around the world. At hamburger nation the water was from New Zealand. OK, great water. But really!

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