The first time we visited Portugal in 2014, the place my husband and I were most excited to see was Cascais (pronounced 'Kish-kash'). It is a sea-side resort town about an hour or so away from Lisbon and the look of the whole area screams LUXURY.
"Oh Cascais very nice," Cristina, one of the staff at Biera Del Mar (our modest hostel in Lisbon), remarked genially. "Where will you be staying?"
"At the Albatroz Hotel!" I exclaimed with excitement.
She went silent, her eyes full of questions. Chief among them being, why were we staying at this hostel here, if we could afford Albatroz?
Albatroz Hotel is a luxury guesthouse converted over from a 19th century aristocrat's residence, right beside the Bay of Cascais. It sits on top of a cliff so one can get a commanding view of the sea from every corner of this place. Pretty sure, its a 5 star hotel too.
And boy, were we excited to stay at such a luxurious place for the very first time in our lives, with its curving staircase, marble floors and hand-painted tiles on the walls. I was looking forward to Portugal, because of this hotel alone.
Our main reason for staying at Albatroz and coming to Cascais altogether was because we were meeting up with old friends whom we hadn't seen for quite some time. They were staying at the lovely Deluxe Sea View Room which had its own stone balcony. We were not. But our room was still gorgeous and I was especially impressed with a glass-fronted closet where I hung my Calvin Klein coat.
We had a lovely afternoon, evening and spent the night visiting Cascais's nightlife before retiring to our friends' Deluxe Suite. The next morning, we came down and had breakfast at Albatroz's restaurant, overlooking the deep blue sea. Which is where the embarrassing situation happened.
The bill came.
Just for my husband and I.
We asked why? The breakfast was included with the price of the hotel, was it not? Our friends' told us that their breakfast was free...
The waiter graciously explained (and in a quiet voice so that nearby diners would not hear) that our friends had access to free breakfast because they were staying in one of the luxury suites. We were staying in a regular suite, hence our bill was 50 Euros for the buffet breakfast. My face went hot and red. We paid the bill and got out of there as quickly as we could to minimize any further embarrassment,
While walking around the seaside afterwards, we came across many restaurants that had breakdast for 4 Euros each! *Sigh* We did feel ripped off which definitely took away a lot of my enthusiasm of staying at this tres magnifique hotel.
Lesson learned: stay in your lane. Don't stay somewhere where you truly don't belong.
Since then, we always stay at places that has breakfast included or we do AirBnb and make our own breakfasts. Even though, our combined incomes have gone up and now we can actually afford to stay in a Deluxe Suite at Albatroz Hotel.