Travel

Hotel charges man $127 for 3 bottles of water

Proving that there really must be something in the water across the pond, a British businessman has paid $127 (or £75 GBP) for three bottles of sparkling mineral water from a swanky London hotel.

All because of the hotel bar's absurd minimum charge policy.

After entertaining a client at the bar of the five-star Wellesley hotel on July 17, Real estate agent Edward Heaton asked for the check -- a fairly standard operation. What was printed on it, however, came as a surprise: For three 500-ml bottles of San Pellegrino, the bar was charging £75 ($127).

“For £75, we probably could have had a nice glass of wine each or maybe even a bottle of champagne", Heaton told The Independent.

Each bottle of water cost approximately $9.32 (or £5.50), an already ridiculous amount to spend on the most abundant compound on Earth. But the bill skyrocketed by almost $85, because the bar's minimum charge policy mandates after 4pm each day, customers must spend at least $42 (or £25) respectively.

Needless to say, Heaton was surprised. He emailed The Wellesley to complain, but also tweeted a photo of his wallet-emptying receipt.

The hotel tweeted chirpily back...

But Heaton wasn't having it:

The Wellesley responded in a public statement:

"Mr Heaton did not raise concern at the time of his visit but did send an e-mail of complaint the following week. In response, The Wellesley’s management team replied on the same day to offer its sincere apologies to Mr Heaton for an experience he deemed less than satisfactory".

But Heaton, who said he "wasn’t angry", admitted his real problem was with the sneaky hidden charge.

“I have no issue if they have a minimum charge, but they need to make it clear. It is the lack of transparency that I have a problem with".

The hotel stridently defended its policy, saying “Guests are made aware of this policy on arrival and the rates are printed on the menus distributed on the terraces", adding that “the minimum spend... is comparable to similar venues across London".

Heaton, a regular at upmarket hotels in the already expensive city, insists he has "never had this before" and "will never set foot in that hotel again".

If he does, though, he'll no doubt order something stronger than water to make sure he gets his money's worth.


Chloe Pantazi is an editorial assistant on Thrillist's travel team. Yes, that's a British accent. No, she doesn't watch Doctor Who. Follow her on Twitter at @ChloePantazi.