I would like to know how many of you (or us) knew that something called the Club Sandwich Index (CSI) existed? Seriously I always thought CSI was something my mother watched on prime time television.
Jokes apart I was intrigued when I recently read the news article which proclaimed that a study of prices of club sandwiches offered across different categories of hotels (2-5 stars in this case) across 30 different cities would help you decide which cities would be more expensive to travel to.
Hmmm! There were two different strands of reasoning to the study. One was that by studying the cost of an item that was available across destinations, it was possible to gauge the general cost levels at those destinations (in comparison with the others). The second was that people often forgot to factor in costs for food and other related items whilst travelling- having concentrated primarily on flight and accommodation costs and the CSI would help you draw attention to those surprise costs.
You can read the study in more detail here.
So do I have a problem with this? Oh yes, most definitely! Having done a reasonable amount of travelling myself I can say one thing- the price of a club sandwich in a 3 or 5 star hotel menu is just that. Not much more and not much less.
If you are a tourist travelling for leisure and are eating club sandwiches from in-room dining (or in the hotel restaurant) day in and day out (exceptions on those tired days are allowed)- you seriously have to look into your travel habits (unless you are a star hotel club sandwich connoisseur in which case my deepest apologies).
The point is that we all know it is expensive to eat in the hotel- especially in a 5 star hotel. That is why most of us like to go to a neighbourhood restaurant and snack on some authentic local food (or an Indian restaurant if you’re from India or a vegan restaurant if you’re vegan etc etc). My guess is that $54 in Paris (the price of a club sandwich in a 5 star place in Paris) will get you a nice wholesome meal outside the hotel. Of course you have to take the trouble of getting out and about at the end of the day and not succumb to comfort sandwich food- but my guess is that you would. Or not. Hey if you are staying in a 5 star hotel in Paris- my guess is that you really aren’t going to be concerned about how much $$$ you are spending on dinner. In that case why restrict yourself to the club sandwich? Why not something a little more exotic?
The above also feeds into my point about being caught by surprise by the price for food. If you are on a shoestring budget you have to adapt. You really can’t afford the luxury of ordering a club sandwich on room service- maybe just grab a sandwich on your way back from the railway station or maybe some delicious Chinese take out for far less money. And if you are not on a budget then there is not much that is going to upset you. Especially the price of a club sandwich.
The point about relative cost differences in hotels in different cities is true to a large extent. But we already knew that right? I mean a 5 star hotel on the Champs Elysees or Times Square is going to be more expensive than staying at a 5 star hotel in Chennai let’s say.
Did we really need a Club Sandwich comparison? Unless it was someone’s lunchtime fantasy- deprived of food and starving at their desk they imagined what it would be like to travel from one city to another eating club sandwiches everywhere- comparing the costs and extrapolating the data.
Seriously, the next time you want to travel somewhere, please get a guidebook to read about the kind of costs you have to be prepared for- or use wikitravel or something. Don’t base your decisions on club sandwiches. Unless of course, you love club sandwiches.