Palma | P. PRIETO


As we move into the second half of September (where does the time go?) our small family unit of two is making plans to spend some time rediscovering the island as international travel doesn’t have a very high priority at the moment. Indeed, I mentioned this in a column a number of weeks ago and friends and acquaintances have said to me that they are very much of the same mind during what’s left of September and October. Anyway, we have been doing our research of when - where - how long for… and for how much? And I have to say that there are some really good deals out there right across the island. In writing “our research” a little earlier, I have to say that I may have stretched the truth somewhat. For, in my experience, women do the research and men nod or shake their heads at what is presented to them. A little spat may occasionally ensue, whereupon there is a disagreement as to where to go and stay - but, sensibly most men back-off with dignity mostly intact and seek to do as they are told, in an agreeable fashion. Apart from seeking ideas about places to visit online, the Majorca Daily Bulletin’s sister paper Ultima Hora, has a really good section in its Sunday edition advertising a wide section of places to stay at differing rates across the island, from hotels to hostels - from the flash to the modest at very good prices. I suppose, something could come out of this disastrous season if those of us who can afford it decided upon our own Majorca based staycation, after all that’s what it appears former British and German tourists are doing in their own countries - so why not us as well? I feel a campaign coming on!

Nail it down, or it will get nicked

Talking about hotels and the like, I read a tourism based story in a British Sunday newspaper recently that suggested more than 70% of guests steal from hotel rooms. Think about that statistic will you? This means that seven out of ten of us are predisposed to thieving on a truly monumental scale. I suspect that these figures do not include shampoo, conditioner, or indeed soap, because once you have broken the seal on those tiny sachet’s there’s not much else you can do with them is there? No, what we have here is larceny on a quite a different level. I remember a while ago when staying in a hotel, I spied a discreet little notice that listed the cost of various sized towels if a guest wished to purchase any of them. I suspect this was just a last ditch attempt to shame light fingered guests into leaving towelling robes and the like - well alone; as in, not nicked! Mini bars are a favourite it seems, miniature bottles of Scotch, plus dinky bottles of Cava are often spirited away and even on some occasions I’m told that some guests will attempt to steal the fridge as well. I have a friend - let’s call her Maria shall we? Maria over the years has worked her way up from a chambermaid in a large hotel group to her present position as deputy director of a very smart and well established, small independent hotel. I bumped into her the other day and asked her about the pilfering that goes on in hotels and she smiled a knowing smile. In short, she told me that the word ‘pilfering’ is really not an adequate word to describe what some guests will attempt to steal from a hotel room - any hotel room. I asked her if this sort of larceny was linked to the number of stars that a hotel might have? As in the more basic a hotel, the more light-fingered guests might become - perfectly logical, if a tad presumptuous maybe. Anyway, according to my mate Maria, nothing could be further from the truth, as it seems that guest in more modest accommodation do not possess the same level of expectation as those who travel with designer luggage. In short, Maria takes the quite reasonable view, if something isn’t nailed down it will be eventually nicked by a person or persons unknown. She told me of a well-heeled gentleman who visits her uber-posh hotel every year for a monthly stay, and he will attempt to steal almost anything. The hotel has given up on trying to thwart his light-fingered predilections and now know just to add the cost of what he has stolen to his end-of-stay account. An account that he is quite happy to pay it seems! Come on reader, have you ever stolen a Bible from your bedside table? Did you unscrew the bathroom towel rail and take it home with you - or maybe try to squirrel away the Hoover and dustpan and brush that were left unattended just inside your hotel room as you checked out? Maria assured me that this sort of theft happens on a regular basis. Who would have thought it?

A blot on the landscape!

As I’m in a playful mood today and feel like asking embarrassing questions, how about this? Why is it that all manner of illegal building works that were halted in their tracks as far back as 20 years ago and beyond - still stand as a sort of monument to the greed and incompetence of certain developers? These pillars of bad management and occasional corruption, underline the utter uselessness of some municipalities, as many of these ‘projects’ still stand half finished, blotting the landscape as a desperate reminder of planning regulations by-passed or just totally ignored. I bet that there isn’t a local council on the island that doesn’t have within its borders an unfinished, so called project, that just stands there unfinished, unlovely - crumbling away and covered in graffiti, that nobody in authority will do more than shrug their shoulders to do anything about it. Perhaps it is time to pull them all down at the taxpayers expense and have done with it?