Friday, 21 July 2017

Taxi Scam Alert! A Stay at Sheraton Bucharest

A Bad First Impression of Bucharest

First Taxi Scam in a long time!


Stayed October 2016


After an overnight stay in Athens, I arrived in Bucharest in the late evening.

Why Romania?

Thanks to a certain tennis player named Simona Halep (who disappointingly was runner-up in this year's French Open) and that I saw some of my friends visiting the country (Ms Moon L. and Ms Stacie T!).

After reading many horror stories about the taxis in Bucharest, including kidnap and murder, I made a point to read about the best way to get a cab at the airport.



My research concluded that I should order a taxi from the booth at the airport and the booth will issue me a ticket stating the company and taxi number. While using the booth, I had to choose which taxi company from the various rates offered. The cheapest one kept timing out and resulted in a long queue at the booths. It took me 30 mins to get a cab and after choosing a slightly more expensive company.

The ride was fine and when I reached the hotel, I was quoted a fare 3 times than my research prepared me for.

And so, I asked him again for the fare several times and he insisted on the high amount.

It was late and there was no staff at the entrance of the hotel so I paid up and entered the hotel.

At the front desk (to the right of the lobby), I asked about the usual fare from the airport and despite the slightly more expensive rate, I definitely paid at least twice as much.

Front Desk

The staff apologized for my bad first impression of Bucharest and Romania and proceeded to call the taxi company to complain about the driver.

The ticket printed at the booth supplied the information needed and I was told Bucharest is trying to improve her image and reduce such taxi scams. Unfortunately, I still ended up a victim.

Granted it was a small amount equivalent to 20 Euros, the feeling of being cheated still didn't feel very good.

Thankfully, it was all great from this point!

My platinum elite status granted me breakfast as my elite gift, and lounge access, as well as a complimentary upgrade to a suite.


Brightly lit corridors

Living Room of Suite

Toilet

Bathroom

The comfortable bed

Standard Sheraton Toiletries

Complimentary Drinking Water

Complimentary Fruit
Bucharest is indeed a rather affordable city, looking at the prices of in-room snacks.

Sorry for the unclear picture!


The view of Bucharest from the hotel revealed a somewhat sobering image of decaying buildings amongst new constructions.




The Executive Lounge was a mid-sized room which didn't serve breakfast but was good for tea and evening cocktails (read: early dinner).


Business Room at the Lounge







The Japanese restaurant at the hotel is named one of the best in the city and I was glad about seeing sushi at the lounge.

However, I would say the taste and texture is rather different from what I am used to.



 A small and empty gym exists in the hotel as well.



Breakfast was served on the second level and was a good spread, the staff were relatively fast considering the number of people at breakfast daily.

The spread was fair, typical of a Sheraton.











I would say I enjoyed Bucharest for the affordability, but I wouldn't be back anytime soon.

I also wonder what became of the complaint to the taxi company about the taxi scam.

Most importantly, this is a reminder that no matter how much research and planning, things can still go wrong.

Happy and Healthy (and safe) travels!