“Never judge a book by its cover” is good advice we all should take. It’s no fun being misjudged as something that you are not or not credited for being something you are.
Such was the case when I was staying at Gleneagles in Scotland with my husband and in-laws as part of a golf trip that included visits to several golf resorts (St. Andrews, Turnbury, etc) as well as time in London. It was my first trip to Scotland, a country I had always aspired to visit.
Traveling with my in-laws was always a treat. They liked luxury and had the financial means to obtain it. The Gleneagles Hotel is a luxury hotel, somewhat like the great English houses seen on a British PBS special. The hotel’s web site describes it as a magnificent “French chateau”, but it is more like a baronial country estate. Opened in 1924, it is the best blend of historic architecture coupled with modern convenience and top-notch service.
On one morning of our stay there was a show jumping competition being held. I love horses. My husband and I went down to the breakfast room to enjoy the sumptuous buffet. I was dressed more for riding with form-fitting stir-up jeans and an oversized sweater, but no riding boots. I wasn’t sloppy, just dressed for the activity and the slightly chilly Scottish weather. I am average looking and don’t give off the air that I might have a somewhat privileged life.
I ordered a Viennese coffee and proceeded to tell my husband how excited I was to attend this competition which was a qualifier for a final competition on the European continent later that summer. Some of the best riders and horses from all over Great Britain were there. My misfortune was being overheard by a dining room supervisor, who assumed I was not a guest of the hotel and came over and roundly chastised me saying the buffet was for “Guests only.” He was so rude, that I was dumbfounded. I can’t remember if either one of us managed to mumble that we were indeed guests.
Later that day while returning to our room, I was relating what had happened in the breakfast room to another person in our party, saying that the staff member said I didn’t look like I belonged there. I heard a female voice behind me say “You look like you belong here to me.” We turned to find a woman who turned out to be one of the assistant managers of the hotel. She asked for a full accounting of what took place that morning. She promised the matter would be taken care of and apologized for it happening. Now that’s what I call customer service.