As usual we had messed up. Not realising it was the end of Chinese New Year and the island would be hopping we’d only booked for three nights thinking that the other 9 nights could be booked on arrival. After one night’s stay we were in reception trying to sort it out. So far the receptionist had offered us the next three nights at a discounted rate and we were trying to negotiate the remaining 8 nights (the discounted price was in actual fact the advertised price- 300bht per night. We paid 500bht for the first night). The remaining 8 nights included the upcoming weekend.
“Your room booked for weekend, three people moving in, can’t have” the girl said smugly. ”Everywhere much bookings” she added.
Any hopes of getting a swank room for a few days to celebrate my 50th receded.
“One hut, not booked if you move now can have for all time…same price” she continued.
I knew the hut being touted intimately having been palmed off in it on prior stay. The resident neighbours held impromptu karaoke sessions late at night, the toilet block was next door and its associated odours pervaded the room constantly and the noise from the nearby building works often woke me up in the morning. Needless to say I wasn’t happy.
I was about to ask why she thought we would be willing to move to a small – could not swing a cat in, dark, dank, holey cabin that was impossible to keep the mosquitoes out of. When we had booked a concrete mossie proof, 2 beds, light and airy apartment where I could swing my friend holding said cat by the tail and still have room to spare. I thought better of it – Thais do not get sarcasm. I applied some tact and logic to the situation. “Why would I want to move when I have a better apartment at the moment for the same price?”.
“Because if you move today you can stay all time in shit hut not have to move out” was the reply
“Why can’t I stay in room for 3 nights I already book, then stay until other people come, move into shit hut over weekend and move back when they are gone?” I responded
“Can’t guarantee booking for shit hut then” she replied
I heard a groan from behind me and turned around. My friend was sat on the bench with her head in her hands. I returned to the fray.
“But you tell me no one has booked shit hut, so what is the problem?” I asked.
“OK you can stay the extra 2 night’s then move into shit hut” she conceded.
Having reached an agreement we left determined to find another room for the weekend only to discover that everywhere was booked and that if we did not take shit hut we would end up sleeping on the beach. We went back our hotel reception to pay for and secure the accommodation.
“Ok we stay in current accommodation for the 6 nights then move into shit hut for the nights you have booking then move back when it is vacant”. I said
“Not possible room now booked for 2 nights before weekend” she replied
“But this morning you said we could have room until weekend then move into shit hut”. “We stay long time, we are here now, the room is not booked so why can’t we have?”
“Ok you come at 8.00 on morning of 16th and see if room available until 18th, if not you c h e c k o u t” the emphasis definitely on the last 2 words.
After a brief conversation with my friend which consisted of are you confused because I am, we agreed with resignation to take the shit hut and move in to it after 3 days.
“ so we stay in current room for next 3 nights move to shit hole for next 4 nights and then move back into current room when weekend over” I clarified.
“Can’t do” she replied obviously relishing the game
“ Why not” I asked
“ Shit hole now booked but if you move in now to shit hole you can have” .
I heard another groan from behind me.
I had a moment of inspiration “what if we pay extra to cover the cost of the 3rd person you can get in the good rooms , would there be anything else available?” I asked
Smiles, deep breaths………… breakthrough!
“Room cost 1000 baht per night for weekend” she said. “Boss say we have to get 1000 baht for room”
No problem we said in unison – although it was a rip off.
“We think you not want to pay this much” she replied. How poor do I look? Would have been my normal retort but I restrained myself.
“No problem” we replied in unison again.
“OK if you pay 1000 a night for 2 nights you can stay in the same room you have now for the rest of the time here” she beamed and thus confirmed my growing suspicions that this had been about getting more money for the room and there was no booking.
“But we give you discount - you here with us a long time”. She added. I screamed silently. I waited for the groan from behind and was not disappointed.
Now here’s the interesting thing about the whole affair. We were quoted 500bht per night and 1000 baht per night for the weekend and we stayed 12 nights which should have cost 7,000 baht. They charged us 500 for the first night, 300 for subsequent nights and 700 for the 2 weekend nights (discount). Total cost to us 4600 baht - much less than we expected to pay. If the alleged weekend booking had been genuine, or they had rented the room out at 1000 baht as they wanted to they would have netted 5600. So in fact after fucking us around in order to get more money they actually made less.
And that’s Thai logic.
A couple days later I walked by reception and heard two tourists asking to change their room. “All rooms booked, no have” was the response. I carried on walking.