Americans

Lest any citizen of that great country, led by (at least as I write this, still led by) Mr Clinton, think my views on American tourists are far fetched, I would defend myself by saying that most hotels keepers in Britain have had similar experiences. If you are an American, without a sense of humour (humor) then read no further

The main problem is language. Because we speak (almost) the same language as each other, visiting Americans make the mistake of assuming that our culture is the same. However it is not the same culture, so problems occur.

The typical American tourist tries to pack too much into their stay in Britain. They book one night in a hotel like ours, as one of 14 one night stops they have reserved for their 14 night stay in Britain. This means that they arrive late in the evening, having spent the entire day packing in as much as possible. The rental car has the near side wing mirror hanging off from brushes with Cornish hedges, and at least one of the hub caps is missing from similar meetings with the kerbs. They emerge from the car cursing our roads, our road signs and our roundabouts.

They wander into the hotel, wondering where the "bellhop" might be to whisk their baggage to the elevator. Problem - English country house hotels do not have either bellhops or elevators, and the number, size and weight of suitcases for their one night stop beggars belief. I heard of one hotel owner looking glassy eyed at 7 enormous cases - then pronouncing gravely "one night, one suitcase"

An 18 year old receptionist is unable to do much about conveying such baggage to their room, so normally the hotel proprietor is called upon to perform the porterage - if you have one night stops then for heavens sake pack things in one bag that can be easily taken to your room

As soon as they get to their room two things are required - firstly a bowl of ice - for the booze that they have brought with them, secondly a complaint that they cannot use their AT&T card with the hotel phone system.

Next, although we have a jolly good restaurant, and a rosette to boot, around half American guests then ask me if I can recommend a good restaurant in the area. Truthfully there is not one restaurant in Newquay that I personally would eat in, and even if there was, I am not sure what the answer would be!

We then go through a series of problems with electrical things - they have brought with them hair dryers, computers, electric tooth brushes, etc which, would you believe it, do not run on the British electrical system - different voltage, different plugs. We then spend time sorting out plugs, adapters, transformers and still the pesky things will not work. What on earth have they done in the other hotels they have visited - or is it that they look on me as a soft touch

By now it is dinner time, we are trying to serve dinner and look after our "normal" guests who are eating with us, they are still trying to get recommendations as to a suitable place to eat, and a way to get free phone calls with their AT&T card, plus another bucket of ice

Breakfast the next morning again shows the difference in our cultures.

  • "No Madam, we do not offer waffles and maple syrup for breakfast"
  • "Yes Sir, we can get you a glass of iced water, but we do not automatically offer iced water to guests at breakfast"
  • "Yes Madam, we can serve your egg easy over, but not many British people have it that way"
  • "No Sir, hash browns are not part of an English breakfast"
  • "Yes Sir, that is a sausage, at least it is what we call a sausage in England"

The final anomaly comes in the time of departure. With at least six hours driving plus sightseeing stops before they get to that nights hotel, our American guests invariably loiter until late morning before hitting the road. Inevitably this will lead to a late arrival in their hotel that night

All we have to do is hump the mountains of unused baggage back down the stairs to the rental car, and another day on the road for our departing guests

                            And if you want to stay in a nice hotel by the sea in Cornwall, Corisande Manor Hotel, Cornwall

                                                                                                       Corisande Manor Hotel, Newquay, Cornwall

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