Here’s the story-and is it a whopper- to illustrate advice to the National Executive of the G.H.A. to inform its membership that while the internet is invaluable for promoting countries and establishments, it can also be very damaging and can destroy a country’s tourist industry or a business…..
Incidentally, I e-mailed the post below on the Philip Briggs Bradt update site to the Ashanti Regional Manager of the Ghana Tourist Board for his action. I hope that he will report back to the next Ashanti region meeting of the Ghana Hotels Association
August 18, 2009
Hi Philip, I’m really finding this updates site useful, thank you. I thought I would add some small small info about a recent trip to Lake Bosumtwi. So I am a research scientist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and I’m currently based at the Kintampo Health Research Centre in Brong Ahafo, and have been slowly making my way around the attractions of the country over the past 6 months with my trusty 2007 edition of the Bradt guide. I thought I’d post on my recent experience (8th Aug 09) on a weekend jaunt to Lake bosumtwi with my friend Christine. We had booked to stay at the Lakepoint Guesthouse in Abono: We both rang/texted the LakePoint Guest House owner multiple times the day before we were going, to find out if there were any chalets available. After several tries it finally became clear to her that no, we weren’t separate bookings, yes, we were staying for 2 nights, and yes, we were more than happy to have the 3-bed chalet even though there were only two of us if everything else was booked. Phew! so that sorted we finally made our way with a friendly taxi driver on the Friday night from Kumasi. 3/4 of the way there on a very bad road we rang for directions on a very bad line, to be told that our room was no longer free ‘because we had not confirmed’. I was a bit concerned but thought we could sort it in one way or another as it seemed that inexplicably a couple of dorm beds were now vacant. We arrived there, and I must say it is in a beautiful secluded location, the buildings are well made and decorated- the main restaurant/reception was very pretty with fairy lights everywhere and a nice breeze. The chalk menu on the blackboard looked yummy (nice fusion seafood/ghanaian/european) and the other guests seemed really content. S, we arrived at the reception to enquire whether we could sort out the issue with our room. We politely asked if we could discuss our booking. The girl on reception at first denied that we had booked, but we then tactfully pointed out that our names were right there in the book in front of her. OK, so they did not have any more chalets she said, but we could have a look at the dorm. We were reluctant to do this at first as we were looking forward to a relaxed weekend without having to sleep with randoms with different itineraries. So we asked again if we could speak to the manager to whom I had just spoken on the phone. The girl smiled and shook her head ’she will not come, she has hurt her foot’. So we smiled equally vacuously and said, no prob, we’ll go to her office. So needless to say she goes to get her. The manager does not come with the receptionist, but she sends a message saying that we should have confirmed. We rightly repeated that were not aware that we needed to confirm, we were not told to do this after any of our many calls otherwise we definitely would have done so, and we had only just booked the previous afternoon anyway. In the middle of this, the manager finally arrives, limping on a bandaged foot, looking very peeved. So we smile and start again. She gets very annoyed and cuts me off before I’ve even started ‘ we have no more chalets, what do you want me to do, build you a house’ and ‘So do you want to sleep with me then’ I was very embarrassed, we were disturbing guests and she was shouting like a madwoman by this time. It was very difficult to explain that we were not in the wrong, she should not have given away our rooms without confirming with us whether we were coming, and her lack of remorse or any attempt to apologise or compensate made us very reluctant to be shuttled off to a dorm at their convenience. So she eventually shouted at us to ‘Fuck Off’ – and we unsurprisingly decided to leave. We should have left much earlier. We ended up at another place, the Lake Paradise Hotel nearby, which although is a bit of a large, souless Accra-type outfit, the rooms were great quality, the beds luxuriously large, and the views of the lake were lovely. And most importantly the owner and the staff were extremely friendly and helpful and sympathetic about our circumstances, which maybe in retrospect is worth more than staying in a trendy eco-lodge if the landlady is a nutter. We walked (hiked) to and from the Rainbow Village Guesthouse from our hotel the next day which was great fun, and really enjoyed our day there- it is extremely colourful and nicely landscaped, there is a wooden jetty from which you can swim, a volleyball court and lots of sunloungers. We were brought freshly squeezed orange juice and coffee by a humorous teenage waiter. We ordered food which was fine, and had a near miss at the end of the day with the same waiter who tried to charge us an extra 6 cedis for sitting on the loungers. He gave up pretty quickly with a laugh when we spotted the charge. So I guess my take-way points at the end of this not-so-small post is that Lakepoint Guesthouse can be a huge disappointment. I know other people who’s rooms have been overbooked at the last minute, and one girl I know was told after she had called the guesthouse to change her booking that ’she changes her mind as often as she changes her knickers’ by this woman (admittedly this is second-hand info about someone else’s experience). So even though I have personally vowed never to return to that place, I would actually still recommend it if you can avoid having to deal with her, or if you are prepared to make other arrangements at the last minute if rooms are overbooked. Lake Bosumtwi is beautiful a relaxing place to spend a weekend, and we saw some very colourful birds- Rainbow Village has a tree full of chattering weavers- but be aware that mobile phone reception around the lake is very poor to non-existent- which might be just the thing for some people- making it a bit more difficult for us to arrange for taxis etc.