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Author Topic: Honest Opinion of EF 16  (Read 45741 times)

djem

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Re: Honest Opinion of EF 16
« Reply #15 on: 07.09.2010, 15:01:40 »

Quote
I heard one suggestion which would have overcome this issue much much better: have different collection times rather than separate queues. In the same way the supersponsers can go in the dealers den first, have the supersponsers go collect their art first, then perhaps 45 mins later the sponsers, then another 45 mins the rest of us can go. I think that would have relieved the pressure and time spent queuing.

That Idea combine with a delay could actualy make something funny  ;D
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Fauho

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Re: Honest Opinion of EF 16
« Reply #16 on: 07.09.2010, 15:12:06 »

+ The badge including key was really great ! Room key at the ringberg was really a pain in the ass !

Nonsense, the doors from the Ringberg could be opened with conbadge aswell.
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Korrok

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Re: Honest Opinion of EF 16
« Reply #17 on: 07.09.2010, 15:35:38 »

+ The badge including key was really great ! Room key at the ringberg was really a pain in the ass !

Nonsense, the doors from the Ringberg could be opened with conbadge aswell.

Haha, that is true, someone opened mine with a con badge when all my roomies had disappeared late at night last year. :D
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penpen

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Re: Honest Opinion of EF 16
« Reply #18 on: 07.09.2010, 16:17:38 »

i'm agreed with tigwolf about only one sentence

"but I think that sacrifice for what we did have greatly outweighed that small inconvenience."

it is that i'm thinking about this eurofurence.
yes it was more expensive, peoples are less nice.

but i think EF needed to change. Always the same thing, the same hostel the same place... and a little place where only the more quickly when registration open can come. Even is bigger doesn't mean better, it is selfish about those who can't come.

there some bad thing, some good thing, and i'm sure that lot of peoples enjoy this con, and now that we know this place , the next time will be better =^_^=

i'm sure that if all the last EF was in maritim , and the new one was in ringberg, it was be the same thing, some people were agree with some thing and desagree with other things.
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Cairyn

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Re: Honest Opinion of EF 16
« Reply #19 on: 07.09.2010, 16:51:29 »

Art Collection - The queue to pick up your art after the auction was unbelievably inefficient. I realise there was a problem and it got delayed, but thats not my point. There were affectively 3 queues - members, sponser and supersponsers all bottle necked into the same cash desk, made worse by very few runners collecting the art. I do realise the sponsers have paid more so they are entitled to privalidges, but not to the expense of us regular members. I heard one suggestion which would have overcome this issue much much better: have different collection times rather than separate queues. In the same way the supersponsers can go in the dealers den first, have the supersponsers go collect their art first, then perhaps 45 mins later the sponsers, then another 45 mins the rest of us can go. I think that would have relieved the pressure and time spent queuing.

You are right, the separate lines thingie did not work out like we planned and turned into a cutting-queue item instead. That was not intended. Besides the initial delay, the separate lines were not properly announced on the outside; the list of winning bidders was not ready in time; there should have been more runners in the beginning.

After the data problem was solved and the second register opened, the queues were handled a lot quicker, which I take as a good sign. The total handling time for almost all sales (which went from 15:00 to about 18:30 instead of 14:00 to 17:00) was only half an hour longer than planned (I admit it's not a consolation for people who queued all that time).

Reducing waiting times therefore seems to be more an issue of guiding guests to a narrower timeslot. I actually like your idea, although I would choose a more neutral criterion for the slots... for example, by badge numbers. (We also definitely need a huge announcement monitor for the art show.)

I hope that we can overcome the recent issues in next year's sales and get back to a more efficient pickup.
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Temjin

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Re: Honest Opinion of EF 16
« Reply #20 on: 07.09.2010, 17:34:30 »

Hello!

Just throwing my own opinions and experience into the mix of feedback.

Firstly (and it is important to say), I had a great time at my 2nd Eurofurence and arrived back into the UK feeling absolutely fantastic (and so knackered I tried to pay for a tram in Euros but still feeling fantastic). A break was exactly what I needed and EF was great. Even my partner whose first EF it was thought it was amazing.

I don't know how much personal time and stress folks like Cheetah endure organising a con of this magnitude for the benefit of everyone was else (I don't think I want to know!), but it was as ever appreciated so thank you.


Some good things. Horray!

Keycards
One key card for each person in a room. Perfect. Spot on. Yes.

Layout
I liked the large communal gathering in the centre of the hotel, made it (not to mention the ability to basically satellite observe the crowd below from the upper balconies) quite easy to spot and mingle with people.

Hotel Staff
I'm sure it was somewhat of a surreal experience at times for the staff of the hotel hosting their first furry con however they were professional and helpful, even to the point of sending a electrician to our room at 2am in the morning because the card-swipe reader on our door had broken.

Con Staff
Were helpful, had a good presence and diligent. Thank you very much for all your hard work and unslept hours in keeping the con running for all of us.


Some things to consider but also some ideas to help solve them! Horray!

Event types
This was only my second Eurofurence, but the first one I attended (14) had a more varied range of event topics. Casting my mind back there was a massage event, even a fencing / sword technique one for example and doing those things I found interesting because they weren't things I had ever done before. I realise it isn't up to the organisers to wave a magic wand and be able to offer events (it's all down to individuals coming forward able to teach / host them) but this year seemed to be a heavy emphasis on the writers / artist elements. Sometimes, although a topic might not be “furry” per-say it can be fun nonetheless and everyone can have a good time just there within the social con environment.

Event delays
This seemed to be somewhat rampant with the larger events. I won't pretend to know the reasons for it (I imagine being in a new venue can't have helped) but all the main stage events and the art purchase I attended seemed to get off to a rocky start.

Art Show Purchase
This process took a long long time and it wasn't helped by the lack of cash desks, collection runner staff and the way separate queues for sponsors and super-sponsors merely cut in front of the main body of people. I'm not trying to stir an argument about privileges and entitlements but because everyone filtered into the same cash desk the only privilege came at the direct expense of the majority of attendees having to wait longer – it might have been better had they fed into a sponsor only cash desk. Another solution could be just breaking the collection into different time slots, so collectors of panels 0-50 come at such a time and then collectors of panels 50-75 come at a different time (or super sponsors/ sponsors...etc) It's a bit like “virtual queueing” which you can get at theme parks and it helps. That way people have a time slot to aim for and can plan their day better opposed to just joining a queue with no idea how long it will take (still have no regrets waiting though - Fishing for the Stars is a wonderful piece <3).

Lifts / Stairs
With the way the hotel is laid out the lifts were obviously going to be constantly crammed, not ideal but that there is little that can be done about that without rebuilding the hotel. The stairwells however soon became a major point of confusion and at one point on Friday a group of us got trapped inside having been able to enter into a stairwell (there weren't any English signs on the door saying not to enter) but then finding it was like a evil geniuses trap and were unable to open any door back out. Luckily, we were let out before having to decide which of us would be eaten first however had more stairwells just generally been left open this would have alleviated a fair amount of lift waiting and people could have moved around more easily.

Dealers Den
I was going to say this was heaving on the first day of being opened, but that was the first day and afterwards it actually wasn't that bad. Saying that, with so many more rooms in the hotel if the artists / merchandise tables were to be split into different ones things could've been even better at opening.


So that's me done. Thanks for the great time folks, already massively looking forward to next year.  :)
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Temjin

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Re: Honest Opinion of EF 16
« Reply #21 on: 07.09.2010, 17:40:58 »

Art Collection - The queue to pick up your art after the auction was unbelievably inefficient. I realise there was a problem and it got delayed, but thats not my point. There were affectively 3 queues - members, sponser and supersponsers all bottle necked into the same cash desk, made worse by very few runners collecting the art. I do realise the sponsers have paid more so they are entitled to privalidges, but not to the expense of us regular members. I heard one suggestion which would have overcome this issue much much better: have different collection times rather than separate queues. In the same way the supersponsers can go in the dealers den first, have the supersponsers go collect their art first, then perhaps 45 mins later the sponsers, then another 45 mins the rest of us can go. I think that would have relieved the pressure and time spent queuing.

You are right, the separate lines thingie did not work out like we planned and turned into a cutting-queue item instead. That was not intended. Besides the initial delay, the separate lines were not properly announced on the outside; the list of winning bidders was not ready in time; there should have been more runners in the beginning.

After the data problem was solved and the second register opened, the queues were handled a lot quicker, which I take as a good sign. The total handling time for almost all sales (which went from 15:00 to about 18:30 instead of 14:00 to 17:00) was only half an hour longer than planned (I admit it's not a consolation for people who queued all that time).

Reducing waiting times therefore seems to be more an issue of guiding guests to a narrower timeslot. I actually like your idea, although I would choose a more neutral criterion for the slots... for example, by badge numbers. (We also definitely need a huge announcement monitor for the art show.)

I hope that we can overcome the recent issues in next year's sales and get back to a more efficient pickup.


Sorry, I posted my bit about the art queue without seeing this. Thankyou for looking at the feedback, I'm sure we can all help make this process work better next time. :)
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Vector

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Re: Honest Opinion of EF 16
« Reply #22 on: 07.09.2010, 19:29:31 »

Even is bigger doesn't mean better, it is selfish about those who can't come.

And I would say it's selfish for people who CAN'T afford the new venue, food & drinks.

I checked the prices online and I only saw that before in Saint Tropez, Ibiza or Monaco. Even in Paris, you won't pay 3€ for tap water or 6.50€ for a soft drink. That's crazy ! I don't know Magdeburg, but is that a very important place of interest or a major tourist attraction ? 

EF staff explained that the hotel can't change the prices because it's sets centrally across the whole chain so maybe the new venue wasn't a wise choice if EF staff was advised that no breathing space at all was available for the prices.

Affordable food/drinks from outside rhe hotel are not a viable solution, it will only leaves the convention hotel EMPTY. 

At the Ringberg, we stayed together the whole time, as a big family. That was the EF spirit.

The challenge is to find a large hotel in a remote location. I can't believe that the Ringberg is the only one in Germany.
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Dhary Montecore

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Re: Honest Opinion of EF 16
« Reply #23 on: 07.09.2010, 20:10:38 »

I think that during stage shows people should be able to leave but not come back in, I was busy packing and when a intermission came up I decided to go watch the Pawpet show 'live' as it where, in the stage one door was chosen so you could go in and out as pleased, so you have every fur and their friend coming and going as they please, nipping in and out during the show, going fetching currywurst beer and whatever. All it would've taken was one staff member going 'you can leave but you can't get back in until a intermission' because being at that back corner being blinded by the light every time the door opened, which was very often, distracted from the show.

That was the reason why we put up the dividers later. We will try to improve on that issue further of course.

Another thing was the dealers den was kinda small and as we furs ain't the slimmest bunch, it led to alot of 'bottlenecks' in there "oop, damn, we can't get up that way, lets go back and head round", I know others have said this, so i won't go on about it.

This issue also will be solved as it now looks like we're going to split the den again like back in the Ringberg.

(whoever put up that 'Ordinary Smoker - Reekus Fumus' on the smokers lounge, you sir/madam are awesome)

*bows* Thank you :) I still try to get our board of directors to allow our security to have disinfectant sprayers with them :D

I didn't mind the price of beer, but 6.50 for a tall glass of coke is just way too greedy.  The coffee being served in the lobby was weak, expensive and the cups too small.  Fortunately there was a mall across the road which had a supermarket and coffee shops.   I liked the layout of the hotel, the stage in particular was very impressive.  I did wonder if the hotel had ever had any kind of social event before, because it seemed about getting the most money out of business men who are putting everything on expenses.  I think they did their best to accommodate us.

That's exactly the problem. They had no experience with an event like ours at all. SO they used the prices that were absolutely normal for a four star city hotel. On the last evening the started selling cocktails in 0,5 L glasses for just one euro more, effectively reducing the basic price a lot. Ladies and gentlefurs, please remember that this was a first time experience for the hotel with such an event and for us as staff with a hotel in the middle of a city. Rest assured that Nightfox, our vice-chairman and hotel negotiator will take every complaint about the prices serious and that there WILL be many improvements next year on that topic. Those of you who gone with us through the transition from youth-hostel to the ringberg sure remember that it was just the same where back there at the first year.

+ The room-keys where quite an improvement.
+ dealers den was much larger
+ the larger headless-area was just great
+ easier to find people in given the new hotel layout
+ more infrastructure in walking distance
+ more of an audience for outside suit-walks
+ early arrival and late departure left ample time to socialize
+ dealers den open the day after art auction
+ large rooms
+ wireless networking in function space
+ THE FURSUIT THEATER
- the Stage Fever this year
- neither fire nor steaks at the BBQ
- smaller pool/sauna area
- very expensive food and parking
- The delays
- microphone- and other sound- issues
- The electronic notice-board for anouncements came late.
- art sales was very slow
- voice auction took forever
- group-photos during the suitwalks took very long each time
- the elevators of cause (maybe point out the existance and placement of the stairs better)
- delays not announced hotel-wide
- some more pause between the events could prevent delays from spreading too far and give the staff more time to rest.
- art show was very spacious but there could have been much more art in there, given the space.

I KNEW it *sigh* Okay.
-The stage fever show was a blast compared to last years show. No more moderation in suit, a FANTASTIC stand-up show by mystifur!
-Pool/Sauna: Agreed
-Expensive food and parking: I sure looks like you never been to a four star hotel so let me tell you: That's normal
-The delays: Heh, would you like to pull up a line of stage shows with little crew, a whole new kind of stage, less equipment and wrong information about the hotel in advance, rendering every planning useless? Go ahead.
-Art-sales: True. There was a major problem with the database, slowing down the whole process.
-delays not announced: They WERE announced through the hotels PA and there's no other way to do that. But con-ops has already many improvements on that.
-pause between the events: Not possible. You sure don't think of the EF staff as that dense. Of course there WHERE much more pause as we knew there would be delays due to unforeseen events in the hotel but that still wasn't enough and our team made some mistakes too, slowing us down even further. But all of this will be solved with the experience gathered this year.
-more art in art-show: I can't speak for the artshow crew, but you FYI: The art-show crew already worked till they collapsed, missing all the event and they had to obey the fire regulations also.

A disclaimer to everyone: You all (hopefully) witnessed at EF that our staff is very friendly towards all our our dear guests. If you don't know the backgrounds, please just ignore my chilly attitude in commenting the last post.

- However, social areas were awkward. The foyer wasn't really a good design for a real feel of gathering. The distance between the dealer's den, panel rooms etc and the main foyer was troublesome from a social point of view.

Well, the distance at the Ringberg was even higher. But yes, I agree the overall design just feels different and bigger.

- The prices for the hotel bar were just too high. I really do hope they are adjusted next time, as it was again prohibitive to gathering and enjoying the social side when people just couldn't afford the prices. Many people said to just go out and buy booze from the supermarket. What use is that to the EF atmosphere? You can't drink it in the public spaces - is everyone just meant to vanish to rooms in small groups? That's typical of some other cons, but it's not what I associate with EF.

Like I stated before: Please be patient about that topic. That's a really difficult one, especially since the pricing is not really decided by the hotel itself since it's a hotels-chain (the Maritim) which has a common pricing-policy. We really take your opinion on that serious as the last thing we want is EF to become some sort of AC copy with many room partys  and less socializing and gathering.


- Hotel staff seemed kinda hostile to some of the furry behaviour. I'm not criticising the hotel staff on this one - I can fully imagine that they were unprepared for shrieking, fursuiters and incessant yells of OI day and night. But if they remain unhappy with it, that will flow over onto the convention itself.

Here again, please allow them time to adjust to our kind of lifestyle. The hotel liked us, really. But of course there are some of the personal who might not be comfortable with us, at least yet.

Thanks to all of you for your opinions, critique and ideas - we take all of it into account and try to improve ourself further. Please allow a few days for the staffers to rest for they nearly killed themselfs this year and need to regenerate now. So don't be upset if your post is not answered right away. :)
« Last Edit: 07.09.2010, 21:04:04 by Dhary Montecore »
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Cairyn

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Re: Honest Opinion of EF 16
« Reply #24 on: 07.09.2010, 22:11:58 »

Sorry, I posted my bit about the art queue without seeing this. Thankyou for looking at the feedback, I'm sure we can all help make this process work better next time. :)

Sure, I read all the feedback and try to work around the issues; that's the least I can do. I am the first to admit that the separate lines did not work properly (my original idea required actual queues forming, not whole lines staying empty as it happened). We will discuss some possibility to give sponsors and supersponsors some extra benefit without increasing the waiting time for other guests too much. The extra register would have been a step, if it had been available from the beginning...

Regarding the idea of splitting pickup times, a split by panel would not be useful, since people may have bought art on more than one panel. Splitting by badge may work. How about the following:

"Art may be picked up at any time from 14:00 to 17:00. To optimize waiting time, however, we would ask you to queue for the sales from 14:00-15:00 if your badge number is between 1 and 300, from 15:00-16:00 if your badge number is between 301 and 600, and from 16:00-17:00 if your badge number is higher than 600."

Would that be helpful? How could sponsors and supersponsors benefit in this schema?
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Fangz

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Re: Honest Opinion of EF 16
« Reply #25 on: 07.09.2010, 22:17:03 »

The Con overall I think was pretty good and I had alot of fun.

Tho I had my issues with the new locations it had a few pros.
+Improved room space.
+Great headless area.
+Nice bar.
+Alot better made drinks in bar.

On the negative side there wa a few things I liked more at the ringberg as some details seems worse here than last few years.
-Little sitting space in lobby area.
-No decent outisde space :/ the BBQ at ringberg was one of my favurite events... it totaly sucked here both couse of space and less food and so on.
-Several room doors I tested including my own opened if ya hit on it sligthly with a paw... so no need for the keycards...
-Pool area was les impressive tho still fun xD
-Dealers den / artists was too cramed into a small space.
-General negative attitude from loacals, hotel staff and resturants and shops nearby.
-None anywhere ever knew english :/
-No outdoor bonfire *sadface*
-Noisy! damn I proably sleept 4 hours total whole convention as the design of the hotel with big open middle seems too amplify all noise from lobby too every room :S
-Fursuitwalk, not very good too little room for it imo.


Well thats the main thing I feel has improved and dropped with the hotel change, I personaly had a good time still.
Tho I feel it would been even better at previous hotel.
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MOW

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Re: Honest Opinion of EF 16
« Reply #26 on: 07.09.2010, 22:48:50 »

Regarding the idea of splitting pickup times, a split by panel would not be useful, since people may have bought art on more than one panel. Splitting by badge may work. How about the following:
"Art may be picked up at any time from 14:00 to 17:00. To optimize waiting time, however, we would ask you to queue for the sales from 14:00-15:00 if your badge number is between 1 and 300, from 15:00-16:00 if your badge number is between 301 and 600, and from 16:00-17:00 if your badge number is higher than 600."
Would that be helpful? How could sponsors and supersponsors benefit in this schema?

I think this is a bad idea as there are still events running during that time people might want to attend. I'd still prefer just putting a number dispenser up with some kind of displays which number is currently served so people can just get a number and check now and then without having to stand in the queue all the time.
For sponsors and supersponsors, I'd say they either get a different set of numbers or they are allowed to cut in even if they missed their original time slot.
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gaz_a

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Re: Honest Opinion of EF 16
« Reply #27 on: 07.09.2010, 23:23:12 »

Food and Drink: It's a four star city centre hotel, and priced accordingly. It was done to death at the Feedback Session on Sunday, and the upshot was that: a) it was the first year we were there, and b) pricing is set centrally across the whole chain.

Hopefully they might be able to make an exception for the convention next year, I'm sure the staff will be working on it.   I don't know what the usual prices are for German hotels but I've stayed at quite a few decent hotels worldwide and it was one of the more expensive ones.   Even tap water was charged for, although I managed to pursuade them to pour a few glasses free for the fursuiters during the dead dog.

Keycards: Didn't have an issue myself, but anyone who did needs to remember to get ALL of the cards for their room recoded at the same time, or you'll just keep locking each other out.

I had to have mine redone four or five times, a friend managed to get theirs written onto a standard hotel keycard but the desk staff refused to do that for me.   My roommate's continued working throughout.  (I will add that the card was never let anywhere near anything that could wipe it)

edit: I'll make this my only reply - basically I had an excellent time though, the hotel layout is far better than any of the big three US conventions, the rooms absolutely fine, plenty of cheap local restaurants and supermarkets.   I am probably an exception that I PREFER this year to Suhl.   The comparisons to a prison is utter rubbish, the tall central lobby looks great and it feels FAR better than a standard hotel with dingy maze of corridors.  The only downside is that it was quite noisy, the sound from the dances carried through the building, it was louder IN the rooms.



« Last Edit: 07.09.2010, 23:30:36 by gaz_a »
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Cairyn

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Re: Honest Opinion of EF 16
« Reply #28 on: 07.09.2010, 23:28:05 »

Regarding the idea of splitting pickup times, a split by panel would not be useful, since people may have bought art on more than one panel. Splitting by badge may work. How about the following:
"Art may be picked up at any time from 14:00 to 17:00. To optimize waiting time, however, we would ask you to queue for the sales from 14:00-15:00 if your badge number is between 1 and 300, from 15:00-16:00 if your badge number is between 301 and 600, and from 16:00-17:00 if your badge number is higher than 600."
Would that be helpful? How could sponsors and supersponsors benefit in this schema?

I think this is a bad idea as there are still events running during that time people might want to attend. I'd still prefer just putting a number dispenser up with some kind of displays which number is currently served so people can just get a number and check now and then without having to stand in the queue all the time.
For sponsors and supersponsors, I'd say they either get a different set of numbers or they are allowed to cut in even if they missed their original time slot.

I do not intend to force people into a timeslot if they want to attend an event, I just want to guide them a little into slots to spread the queue. Of course we can use a number dispenser as well so people can wait elsewhere, but they would still have to check back often in time for their call.
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gaz_a

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Re: Honest Opinion of EF 16
« Reply #29 on: 07.09.2010, 23:37:33 »

Yet another annoying thing is daily visit of room service even if there was red card hanging. It made me at least one stressful morning when I had to wake up too early in fact I went to the bed about 5am. Well, room service was kind and We didn't messy our room. We even leaved a small tip everyday, but I prefer if I have possibility to avoid room service to wake me up after party. xD

They were doing their rounds as normal, they visited us while I or my roommate was in bed (we left the room by about 11am most days) but didn't come in when they realised we weren't up but I think it was serviced every day so they must have come back in the afternoon.
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