Call the Pizza Service.
By Roland Wildberg ~ Weekly Exclusive - Views On The Latest Trends
Friday, 6th September 2013
Exclusive Feature: The Hilton in Midtown New York prospectively want their guests to use take away food at night.

It is the biggest hotel in New York City - and it has recently become a hotel without room catering: the Hilton Midtown at the end of last month has abolished 55 room service waiter. The guests, so the management reported recently, have changed their habits. The customers' orders for food in the room are decreasing for quite some time, and so the Hilton threw away only a redundant service. A scandal?

If there might be only one guest left who has not heard about that trend and feels a strong appetite for something hot around 1:00 a.m. or later, there is 'herb'n kitchen': In the foyer, a 24-hour buffet is installed for this particular clientele to offer pizza, sandwiches and coffee. Until 1 a.m. somebody from the staff will even bring it to your room.

However, the food is not freshly prepared, and thus the opposite of kitchen, strictly speaking. And even with generous consideration a sandwich wrapped in cellophane or a reheated pizza is not really comparable with freshly prepared delicacies, served steaming and directly from the room service waiter under silvery gleaming cloches in the suite. A very first class service, appropriate to a first class hotel.

But also imperative? The Hilton Midtown is is not the renowned property, which departs fom the fabled service: New York neighbors The Hudson and The Grand Hyatt long ago left this quality feature, also The Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikkiki Beach Resort on Hawaii for a while does recommend visitors a buffet in the foyer.

We remember our conversation with one hotelier and gourmet passionate chef a few years ago at the Baltic sea coastline, who lately had expanded his private hotel and were soughting ways to improve the utilization of his restaurant. First, he abolished the vending machines had set by his predecessor on each floor. In addition, half-board was mandatory.

A nocturnal shock experience was the decisive factor for this radical decision: A guest had called the local pizza service. "This has depressed me so much", the entrepreneur recalled, "and forced me to do something." A change in trend towards more quality and thus more revenue. It has worked so far, the hotel was able to increase its standard of 2.5 to now four stars.

Which conversely means turning away from room service and putting up a train of machines on each floor everyone of you, dear readers, has to consider personally. Of course, many guests will appreciate if they no more have to wait 30 minutes for their coffee, but right at the machine next door can tap one immediately. Even though that one in flavour may be closer to flushing water than to coffee.

Whereby we enter the sector of individual requirements: A property that is defined as a business hotel, will prefer always the automated solution, as the many new budget hotels do already. Wheras N&V Global Vending and other innovative manufacturers of that kind with their huge mysterious buzzing devices can never simulate real luxury, so sorry.

Real luxury, in this we are fussy, is the personal, human touch, somebody serving individually and in day or nighttime officiously at the room door. But one has to will and to be able to afford it.

This is strictly an exclusive feature, reprints of this article in any shape or form without prior written approval from 4Hoteliers.com is not permitted.

Roland Wildberg is Travel Writer and Correspondent based in Berlin, Germany. He started as an Editor for the National daily 'Die Welt' (tourism section), later on switched to a freelanced career and nowadays mainly publishes on the Web. Observing the hospitality industry always has fascinated him as it looks like the perfect combination of sleeping and writing – work-live-balance as its best.

Roland also heads the annual 4Hoteliers ITB Berlin news micro-site journalist and video/photo teams. For more info:

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