Friday, December 22, 2006 Turkey Turkey

'Jimmy's Place', or 'How not to run a hotel'

Jimmy's Place, also confusingly known as one of the two Artemis Guest Houses in Selçuk, at first glance looks like a great example of good-value backpacker accommodation. It has internet access, bar, restaurant, reliable hot water, central heating, satellite TV in the lobby and a large travel library. What more could you want?

Well, we could want some of those things to be actually present, that's what. Maybe the place is great in the summer, but in December it should be avoided. When we turned up the place was in total darkness apart from the light of the TV and the lit cigarettes of the guy on duty and his friend. After finishing a phone call to his mate while we waited at reception, the duty man ambled over and checked us in. Except he didn't seem to know how to check someone in, because in copying down our names from our passports he put Glenn's name down as "British Citizen". [My friends call me Brit, but you can call me Mr Citizen—Glenn.]

The guy's mate came with us to our room and together the three of us fumbled through the darkness to find it. When we finally got the door unlocked, the lights wouldn't work. After a few minutes our guide realised that he needed one of those card things that hotels have to make the lights come on so he left us in the hall while he fetched one from downstairs.

The room was extremely cold. The central heating we were promised was there (in that there was physically a radiator in the room), but it was switched off. We went back to reception to complain about the polar conditions upstairs and we noticed that the lobby was also at the same temperature, so we weren't hopeful of getting a resolution. We asked the guy to switch on the central heating and he said firmly "No". No room for negotiation then. He did however offer us a remote controller for our air conditioning unit, which he said could also make hot air. After about ten minutes we had succeeded in making hot air come out of the aircon unit (mounted high on the wall), and for the rest of our three-night stay the top three feet or so of the room were lovely and warm while the space we actually occupied remained cold. We could at least dry the clothes once we had rigged up the washing line in the rafters.

The next morning we decided to take a shower and were not confident that the water would be hot. It did however come through lukewarm after five minutes or so. We spoke to an American guy who had not thought to complain about the lack of heating (so wasn't given a controller for his aircon unit), and had not let his shower run long enough. He had a very bad stay.

Other reasons not to come here in the off-season:

  • At least three-quarters of the lighting circuits in the place seem to be disabled.
  • The internet access is very expensive, and when we tried it, not working.
  • The travel library is useless because it is locked. When you track down the only member of staff with a key, he insists that you cannot take your chosen book out of the lobby (which is dark and cold, remember).
  • The satellite TV is only for friends of the duty staff to tune to strange Turkish music channels, with the volume turned up.
  • When you order a meal in the restaurant, the prices advertised in the menu will be doubled—after you have eaten of course—because (for Isla's meal): "The chef had trouble buying the ingredients at the market" and (in Glenn's case): "The chef decided to make it extra-special". We made it clear that we would be paying the originally advertised price.
  • Although there will probably be a few other guests staying in the hotel, you will not be able to meet them because of the situation with the lobby. They will likely be in their room wrapped in blankets.

We provide this post as a service to other backpackers, not because Jimmy's Place was particularly bad compared to other hostels (they all have their quirks), but because it was claiming to be something it was not. Jimmy: if you are not prepared to offer your advertised service in the off season, you should close your hotel until the spring.