Hotel Charges Man $127 for Water (Travel Can Be Very. Expensive. So Know What You’re Getting Into)

The Crystal Bar at the Wellesley hotel in Knightsbridge, London isn’t a cheap place to sit down and drink.

So there’s lots of mileage out there about a man who was charged $127 for 3 bottles of water.

Edward Heaton had a business meeting at the five star Wellesley Hotel in Knightsbridge, London. It was hot so they opted to sit outside on the cigar terrace of the Crystal Bar, and order three small bottles of San Pellegrino sparkling water. After the meeting concluded, and Mr. Heaton requested the bill, imagine his surprise, when the total came out to $127.

The story isn’t exactly true. The charge per bottle of sparkling Pellegrino was five and a half pounds each.

The hotel has a minimum charge on their cigar terrace, so the bill was topped off to reach 75 pounds.

The minimum is listed on menus, but it seems the customer didn’t take a menu. He feels cheated because he would’ve used up the full 75 pounds, instead of leaving it as a top off.

On the other hand, though, in a way this does remind of the Chinese tea ceremony scam.

In China the right approach is to throw down an appropriate amount of money and leave, or pay by credit card and sign ‘under duress’.

Both probably would have worked in this case, too! As in China, you don’t necessarily want to call the police (although with the tea ceremony scam it’s generally because the cops are in on it).

Although it would be embarrassing to do in the context of this man’s business meeting. Which means it was also probably reimbursable anyway, so who cares, just enjoy that you’re earning extra miles and points on someone’s dime and hopefully you were using a credit card that doesn’t add foreign transaction fees if you’re from the Stats.

(HT: Tocqueville)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. You think its reimbursable, but I don’t know. My CFO would have my head if I tried to expense this.

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