Swissôtel, 27 Feb 2010

Are you an optimist who tries to focus on the good? Are you a pessimist who always picks out the faults? Or are you someone who takes notice of both good and bad equally before forming an opinion?

This was my dilemma when it came to deciding whether to tell this story or not. It definitely wasn’t an unpleasant meal – in actual fact, the food was quite good – but the experience as a whole left a sour memory amongst my dining company and it had everything to do with the service. It is one thing to receive outrightly rude service, but it is a more confusing situation to receive unhelpful service with a side of attitude.

The girls and I have met for lunch and when Mistress and I turn up ahead of the others, we find that there is no record of our table reservation. We are seated in the restaurant part as the bar area is fully booked for afternoon tea service which is scheduled to commence in about an hour’s time. When Wifey calls to inform us that she’ll be bringing the husband and children along, we kindly request to be relocated to a larger table but are met with some noticeable resistance. We realise we are being an inconvenience so we let it pass, despite there obviously being many empty tables around us.

Mistress and I feel like something to nibble on whilst waiting for the others to arrive so we order some ‘Salt and pepper squid with aioli’. The squid has been fried after a light dusting with flour and, I think, some cumin seeds. The squid is tender and sweet against the side of rocket salad with sundried tomatoes and fetta, and the aioli adds a nice touch of creaminess.

We also order a jug of cocktail to share which proves to be exceptional value at roughly the cost of two glasses of cocktails. We’ve gone with a lychee and pink grapefruit concoction which is fragrant, refreshing and very girly.

When everyone has arrived and settled in, more food is ordered and the atmosphere is pleasant and full of chatter. Wifey’s son is playing around our table barefoot when he feels he’s stepped on something sharp – it appears to be an oversized tack and we deduce it to be a non-slip ‘foot’ from the bottom of a chair leg. He is bleeding a little and in pain but by no means seriously injured. When we report it to one of the waitstaff and ask for a first-aid kit, we are met with a blank look and hear a mumble about going to get the manager. The manager never materialises and the staff member returns empty handed. We ask if they have any sticking plasters and antiseptic before the staff member hurries off and returns with our requests.

Soon after we order our desserts and some calm is restored amongst us. I have the gâteau opera which reportedly uses Lindt chocolate in its making and the cake is rich as expected. The layers of the cake are not the thinnest I’ve had but it is enjoyable nonetheless.

We ask for the bill and Wifey decides to scribble a few of her comments on the feedback card. What concerns us most, with all of us hailing from a healthcare background, is that there didn’t appear to be a first aid kit nor a reporting protocol for any customer-related incidents. We were expecting to maybe see the manager/supervisor and perhaps have our details recorded or a form to fill in. Wifey was worried her feedback card would get lost in the system so she handed it to the staff member at the register who told us she was the supervisor. While a couple of the girls excused themselves to the ladies’, the remainder of us noticed that the supervisor was reading the comments card – and was sharing it with a couple of other staff members right in front of us! And that, I’m afraid, is definitely lacking in etiquette.

What action, if any, would you have taken had you been in a similar situation?

Level 8, 68 Market St, Sydney NSW
Tel: (02) 9238 7082

Opening Hours:  Sun-Thurs  10am-11pm
                        Fri & Sat  10am-12am

happy eating!

Crossroads Bar, Swissotel Sydney on Urbanspoon


  1. That's quite an experience you had there! I've been to the Swissotel for afternoon tea and found the staff fairly junior (hotel trainees?). Sounds like they need to get their act in order, including OHS training. btw, the jug of cocktails looks good!

  2. Omg, such a shame, I wouldn't expect that from a hotel :( I'm glad that at least the food was decent!

  3. That's terrible. Every workplace should have a first aid kit and safety regulations. I would write an email to them and be very unimpressed if I didn't get a response.

  4. What an experience - I would have been upset I think but I'm not entirely sure how that would have panned out. Glad it wasn't a more serious incident

  5. so sorry about your lil one good to know as we often let our lil girl walk around bare foot, Rebecca

  6. Ahh pity to hear about the lack in service and protocol but at least it wasn't a srs injury.

  7. Oh no, that is terrible. It's a large hotel so I'm sure that they could have rustled up a first aid kit. Have you thought to email them your review?

  8. That's a terrible way of handling the situation! I agree with Lorraine - considering they're a large and high class hotel I would've expected them to handle it better.

  9. Sounds like they need a refresher course in customer service! And good on you for writing up the post! I'd rather hear the truth if I'm about to go somewhere rather than a polite, neutral review.

  10. What a shame! I've always enjoyed afternoon tea here. With that said, I have started to notice a lack of common courtesy in customer service around Sydney recently.

  11. Hey Belle, I quite enjoy coming here for their afternoon tea. They have a nice bar/cafe menu as well but the service has been lacking on my last few visits.

    Hey Betty, it is a shame but thankfully the food is fine!

    Hey Anita, it would have been best for my friend's son to have had some shoes on and we appreciate that there are accidents in life, but all we simply wanted was a first aid kit.

    Hey Kitchen Butterfly, it's a tricky one, isn't it? Obviously screaming and yelling isn't going to get anyone anywhere but there was a serious lack of attention in our case.

    Hey Rebecca, as I said to Anita above, we appreciate the fact that my friend's son didn't have shoes on but we didn't get the response we expected when we asked for a first aid kit!

    Hey Richard, luckily it wasn't a serious injury. I think it got really funny when we saw the staff reading our comments card while we were still present!

    Hey Lorraine, in two minds about emailing the hotel this review...I'll leave it up to my friend whose son was involved perhaps.

    Hey Trisha, overall I think we expected more from their service in this situation.

    Hey Forager, it always seems terribly to have not nice things to say about an establishment as obviously our experience is only a speck in their timeline of business.

    Hey Jen, as I said, the food is fine and has been for the years that I've visited but I agree that service seems to be on the general decline.

    1. The Cake looks amazing.. I saw nick and rocco make it on My Kitchen Rules and it looked really hard.


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