The meanest hotel in Europe?

The Hotel Ambasciatori, Sorrento.

The Hotel Ambasciatori, Sorrento.


Some months ago I wrote a light-hearted post about running out of the right sort of teabags in our hotel room abroad. Hotels happily provide tea and coffee free of charge for early morning cuppas but sometimes it is the wrong sort of tea – fruit tea instead of black.

I used to take the Mickey out of my parents who packed the PG Tips when they went abroad but after running out in Lisbon in March I took a leaf out of their book and stowed some in my suitcase for our Italian trip.

Free tea and coffee is a little gesture from what, after all, is called the hospitality industry but I hadn’t bargained that our stay in Sorrento at the Grand Hotel Ambasciatori would turn out to be in the Meanest Hotel in Europe.

Have an extra tea or coffee and we'll charge!

Have an extra tea or coffee and we’ll charge!

They charge you €0.50 for every tea bag and sachet of coffee once you use up the two teabags and portions of coffee provided (who wants mint tea or blackcurrant tisane, two of each, first thing in the morning?).

I have never, ever encountered this before. Now there is a notice to this effect but I thought it only applied if you used everything up on the first day – milks, sugars etc. But when, like Oliver, I went to ask for more they wanted to charge.

I told them what I thought which is what I’m telling you now, that this is mean-spirited and unworthy of an otherwise very nice hotel in large, floral grounds on a cliff top overlooking the Bay of Naples.

Luckily, we had plenty of tea bags of our own but it was the coffee which ran out. Oddly, they replaced the little milk cartons without charge every day. Morning drinks for two would have made the hotel just €7 a week but lost them a lot of goodwill.

On departing I left my surplus teabags in the room. No charge.

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