Hospitality and Daydreams

By on June 23, 2017

In the distant and ancient past, the human race was not too keen on hospitality towards foreigners. In most societies, hospitality was reserved only for relatives, clan mates, tribe mates and occasional foreigners bearing rare gifts. Everyone else was usually condemned to die the moment they were within worrying distance.

As the human race evolved and people travelled and interacted, boundaries, borders and walls began to disappear and more connections and partnerships across different societies started to emerge. Today, the world is more of a global village than ever before and people are more welcoming to foreigners. And this is perhaps how and why tourism is one of the fastest growing industries in the world.

It goes without saying that institutions dealing with people from all over the world have to master the art of 21st Century Hospitality if they are to survive today. Most hotels and such establishments in Uganda have over the recent years taken a step in the right direction in terms of hospitality. Of course, as the front line soldiers in the hospitality battle, they take the most hits and quite naturally, they enjoy the most praise – for good reason. It is very impressive that the Hotel industry has somewhat embraced top notch hospitality and every day that passes, they seem to raise the bar even higher.

Traveling around East Africa is fun because almost everyone is kind and welcome. And this naturally means that most hotels in the East African area are special. It therefore takes a bit extra for one to identify one particular establishment as being heads and shoulders above the rest.

I recently spent a night in Kampala Serena Hotel and as is always the case, I was wowed by the manner in which Hoteliers in Uganda have taken the hospitality game seriously. Right from the gate, it seemed like there was a general conspiracy to make any and every visitor feel at home.

The Hotel is located in the middle of the city where there is understandably a lot going and therefore activity is unending and noise can be a little overwhelming. However the moment you drive in, you almost feel like you have been airlifted to some far off place where the Oxygen is a tad purer, the place is strangely quieter and the people are a little more difficult to piss off, assuming you even tried.

It must be ingrained in East Africans to treat not just those they know but even those they don’t know with a sense of compassion and utmost solicitude. For this reason alone, everything they do is done with an extra sense of hospitality. And so when you drive into the Serena Hotel parking, the parking lot attendants are all smiles – seemingly oblivious to the troubles in their own lives.

As you are ushered to the reception of the Hotel, you can already feel like they are setting you up for the mother of all welcomes. And right there at the entrance is the guy who will open the door for you no matter how physically able you may be. He tips his hat a little, smiles and then holds the door for you. Of course, as a person visiting the Serena Hotel, you are probably not going to want to struggle with the door – seeing as patrons of Five Star hotels can’t be seen struggling with doors. The reception which is a little to the left is manned by a gorgeous lady and well put together dude who as the standard procedure is at the reception, are both smiling – also seemingly unbothered by the worries and problems they may have in their own lives.

Both will look in your general direction and one will offer a very hearty welcome in a fine accent that might throw you off your feet, if you are not one of those focused individuals who know what their purpose in life is.

So anyway, the lady who will have a name tag will say hello and proceed to ask whether you are having a good day or not. And then she will give you a genuine look as if to say, ‘Listen young man, I know you are going through some horrible things in your life but I am genuinely asking how your day is? I know there is something I can do to make it better. Take all the time you need. And yes, this is pure African Fabric I am wearing.”

By now, you will have unconsciously volunteered a few details about your life. You will have told the smiling lady that you are having a rather crappy day and you are hoping to check in, take a long warm bubble bath, pop some wine and read Neil Gaiman’s American Gods. She will proceed to ask for your passport and engage you in a bit of chit chat as she sorts out the paper work for your check in.

At this point she will ask whether you would like to take a seat. And then she will motion you over to a set of couches that look like they were taken right out of a throne room in a Persian Gulf Kingdom. The next 30 seconds of your life will require you to make the most important decision of your life – whether to continue chatting with the smiling girl or take a seat in the beckoning royal couches just a few meters away.

Like I did, you too might decide to go over to the couch and rest your feeble bones in the rather expensive chairs that seem like they were curved out just for this moment. The couches are right next to a very refreshing water fountain that will unknowingly wash away the demons darting about in your tired mind. You will involuntarily lean back, close your eyes, and begin to drink in the serenity of this place.

A few minutes shall pass.

And then you will drift off mentally to a place constructed with tranquility, serenity and calmness. All this will play out in your mind as you quietly smile and enjoy the few moments in this heaven-sent couch.

But you will be yanked out of your brief little daydream by your own conscience which will be afraid that it might be planning a thorough sleeping session in this rather comfortable couch. You will most likely want to stand up, shake off the momentary relaxation and head to the counter, to the smiling girl.

Serena Hotel ReceptionThe reception to heaven (Image Credit – Expedia)

When you ask whether your check in is ready she will smile and tell you it was ready a while back but you seemed so peaceful in the couch she did not want to bother you. And then you will smile and think perhaps if she had bothered you she would have been part of your beautiful but now ended little day dream.

She will then hand you the card to your upstairs room. And from the blue, a finely dressed gentleman with broad shoulders and a neat hair cut will emerge with your luggage. You might wear a surprised look but the guy will calmly tell you your luggage was intact the whole time and just like the smiling lady, he too noticed that you had peacefully drifted off and did not want to bother you. Again, you will smile. And then you will turn to the lifts which will be a few steps to your left. While in the lift, the broad shouldered gentleman will slide in the card and punch in the floor number. And then you will look into the mirror in the lift and mouth those famous words from Touch the Sky by Kanye West, “I think I died … ‘cause this must be heaven.”

And then when you get to the room, the broad shouldered guy will help you into the room, give you instructions on Wifi and Room Service and he will go ahead to ask if you have anything you would like to be helped with. Your mind will see no need to keep the young man around so you will simply thank him and once he has stepped out, you will want to fall right there, on the carpet, by the entrance for a quick nap – just to resume the dream in the couch. And even though you remember the original plan was a quick soak with a good book, the soak and the American Gods would have to wait.

Rooms newImagine drifting into dreamland in this beauty! (Image Credit – Rainbow Tours)

You will simply crawl to the humongous bed, collapse on it and then drift off … to continue the downstairs dream.

“Well, if one’s going to daydream, one might as well make it a good one, don’t you suppose?” ― Danielle Paige, No Place Like Oz

a.k.a Beewol
The Talkative Rocker
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Beewol – The Talkative Rocker

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