Saturday, November 20, 2010

Loud whale

A while back you reported on a controversy in the B&B industry (nose40&41), referring inter alia to a set-to between Portfolio of Places and Christiane von Ulmenstein, the owner of Whale Cottages, Hermanus.
You might like to know that my wife and I suffered badly at Ms Von Ulmenstein’s hands. I was due on a business visit to SA last November and decided also to have a fortnight’s holiday. I phoned Whale Cottages and specified that we wanted a view of the sea and privacy. I stressed privacy as we were badly in need of a quiet break.
I was told we would have the Lighthouse room at the new Whale Cottage and that it had its own patio area. We paid in advance.
When we arrived we were deeply upset to find that the room was indeed on a patio, which had lots of tables and chairs – because that’s where everyone had tea and breakfast!
It was like a public walkway. The side of the room facing the patio was all glass so the only way we could have had even minimum privacy was to keep the large glass door and curtains tightly shut. We refused to stay there.
We would not have dreamed of making a booking had we not been so misled.
We have been trying to recover the money we paid. I wrote to Cape Town Tourism Council but thus far have had only a bromide response. I am sure that this cannot be connected with the fact that Ms von Ulmenstein is vice-chair of the council.
Whale Cottages have offered a weekend at one of their cottages. I’ll probably have to sue.
Warmest good wishes to you for your muckraking. Great stuff.
Benjamin Pogrund

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