GLOBAL VILLAGE

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Hotels from hell. Last month we asked for your worst-ever hotels as business travelers. You responded with horror stories from Venezuela to China. Our absolute favorite is from Ariel Allen, VP of creative services, global advertising, at Colgate-Palmolive Co. Look inside (Page I-22) for her tale about the Chinese hotel where 27 senior U.S. ad execs spent three endless nights.

From Latin America, DM9's Jose Eduardo Cazarin Silva reports that the Hotel CCT in Caracas forgot to deliver soap, towels and most mes- sages, and the switchboard closed for dinner. Strangest of all: "The sheets were significantly smaller than the bed." A hotel from heaven is Montevideo's beautifully decorated 22-room Belmont House, managed by its elegant owner from a leading Uruguayan family. Superb food.

Some of you invented your own categories, like world's worst hotel bus. Pity the luggage-laden traveler who had to hitchhike through a Saudi desert after the hotel bus driver mentioned, too late, "We're not going to the airport today, we're going to see our friends." (He missed his flight.)

We suspect a few of you are Guests from Hell. Leo Burnett USA's Wally Petersen had a legitimate grievance when his phone at London's Carlton Towers stuck permanently on "ring" and the maid threw away his expense account receipts, but did he have to absentmindedly flood the bathroom while dealing with the phone crisis? A happy ending: the hotel manager offered Wally two free nights' stay.

Hearing voices? If they're talking about cat food, you're perfectly sane. Richard Hodgson, senior brand manager of Spillers' Purrfect cat food, is testing in U.K. supermarket pet food aisles a hidden speaker that urges shoppers to try his brand. European retailers say "talking shelves" boost sales by up to 400%.

Jean-Michel Goudard, Euro RSCG's chairman & CEO-international, is racking up the frequent flier miles. He says he'll have a majority-owned South American network in place by the end of this month. One incentive: he was not happy to see his global client Philips hand its $20 million Brazilian account to rival D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles in Euro's absence.

A changed man. Robert Wilk, McCann-Erickson Worlwide's longtime research guru in Japan, is now Roberto, of Roberto's Italian Table. He runs cooking and cultural holidays from his favorite city, Venice. Roberto's next project: a "Leadership Training Program via Cooking" with particular appeal for Japanese men, whose new hobby is cooking.

Claudia Penteado contributed to this column.

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