Arguably the Best Service I Ever Received From a Hotel
I was floored with what I consider arguably the best service I ever received from a hotel when I checked out of the Hilton Luxor Resort & Spa, on which I intend to post a review.
Upon checking out of the hotel, I asked for the best place to fill up the car for my drive back to Hurghada; as well as what was the best route out of Luxor to get there. The gentleman behind the front desk showed me the responses to both of my requests on a map; but then said that he would get his driver to show me.
I simply shrugged that off, as I felt like I was set — although I dreaded the prospect of driving back through the city of Qena, where driving conditions are arguably worse than in Cairo. Again, I intend to post details of that in a future article.
I started the car and drove out of the long straight divided driveway; was given access to the exit by the security guard who lowered the barrier for me; and I proceeded to drive out of town.
I was approximately one kilometer or so away from the hotel where I encountered a makeshift parade which blocked my access to the main road out of Luxor — when suddenly a pickup truck zooms to the right side of my car and stops with the horn honking and the driver gesturing to me through the window. I was about to wave my hand and say la shukran — generally, no thank you in Arabic — when he said that he was from the Hilton hotel; and when he said that, I recognized him as well as saw his Hilton name tag, which said Hamatto on it.
First, he took me to a petrol station and had me escorted in. They had a more expensive grade of gasoline; but I had a beat-up rental car — again, another topic for another time — and explained that I did not need the best grade of gasoline. I was fine with the grade with which I had been paying 2.6 Egyptian pounds per liter, which is approximately $1.40 or so per gallon — but this particular petrol station was out of that grade.
He then took me down the main road — the makeshift parade had cleared out by then — to a second petrol station; but with no luck. The situation was similar with the third petrol station further down the main road.
At the fourth petrol station — we must have been at least five kilometers from the hotel at this point — he told me that the grade I wanted was not available and that the superior grade was in supply; but he also told me of a grade which only cost 1.6 Egyptian pounds per liter. I indicated to him that I was interested in that grade.
“You have to have the right engine for such a poor grade”, he warned me; but I said that the car I was driving was simply a rental car — although I will take his recommendation. After all, he would know better than I.
“Open the hood”, he instructed.
I thought that was a bizarre request; but I popped the hood of the car. He reached in and revved the engine a couple of times before he said that the lower grade of fuel would work for the particular car I was driving.
He then has me escorted to a pump; and then he pumps the gasoline into the rental car. Total cost to fill the car: 60 Egyptian pounds; or approximately $7.92 in United States dollars.
During that time, a young boy was wiping the desert sand off of the rental car with a rag. He kept wiping all around the entire car — even when it was time for me to leave. He seemed very appreciative of the tip I gave to him, which is probably why he kept wiping down the car.
I asked the driver from the hotel how much I should give him as a tip. “Please, no”, he said. “This is your first time here in Luxor. It is my pleasure.”
I just sat there in the driver’s seat, stunned. I had just given him a hundred Egyptian pounds for the fuel as per his instructions and he cheerfully gave me back the 40 Egyptian pounds in change; but he refused to take anything — and of course, I was more than willing to give him far more than 40 Egyptian pounds. He so way beyond deserved it, as he was the absolute opposite of the touts I encountered — again, another topic to be discussed at another time.
Just when I thought we were done — he must have spent at least 45 minutes of his time by now with me — he then asked if I knew the desert route out of town to get to the road to Safaga to avoid going through Qena.
“I tried to take that route on the way into Luxor; but the police at the checkpoint told me I could not take that road and instructed me to turn around.”
“Ah — probably because you are American. Follow me.”
Follow me?!? I could not believe this: I must have followed him for at least another five kilometers to a point where he said that all I have to do is take the first left after the security checkpoint; and I will be on the open road on the desert route bypassing Qena to the highway to Safaga — and sure enough, that is exactly what eventually happened.
I placed my hand over my heart — I have seen other Egyptians do this, probably as a way of saying “peace be with you” — and repeatedly said shukran. I could not express my gratitude enough — yet he was so humbled and happy to have provided the service. He must have spent at least an hour for me — he was communicating on his mobile telephone much of the time, similarly to an agent of the Secret Service of the United States — and he still had to drive all the way back to the hotel after he was done.
Although I was not in need or in despair, I have always said to myself that I would go the extra mile and give the extra effort to help someone out — and people who know me know that I indeed live up to that mantra. For example, I would certainly take someone to a destination if that person was lost. However, Hamatto absolutely proved it. This world would be a far better place if everyone provided a mere fraction of the effort and service that was given to me by Hamatto — he literally went a number of extra miles out of his way for me — and for that, I am incredibly grateful. He deserves to be recognized for his devotion and dedication to guests — especially after they have already checked out of the hotel.
There were other factors which propelled the Hilton Luxor Resort & Spa to what I dare say was one of the best hotel properties at which I have ever stayed; but again, I intend to give additional details in a future article where I review my experience there…
…but please just take my word for it for now: I give the Hilton Luxor Resort & Spa my highest recommendation possible — I do not give high recommendations lightly — and if you ever find yourself in Luxor, you absolutely must stay at this hotel property.
I must disclaim that although I do have elite level status in the Hilton HHonors frequent guest loyalty program, no one at the Hilton Luxor Resort & Spa hotel property knows that I write this weblog; so I did not receive special treatment as a result.
Photograph of the pool of the Hilton Luxor Resort & Spa ©2015 by Brian Cohen.