A South African couple promised "splendid" views of the bustling Eastbourne pier from the Majestic Hotel couldn't understand why it wasn't on their GPS – until they realised they were about 19,000 kilometres off track.
"I booked into the right hotel, just in the wrong country," said Michael Adendorff yesterday, who was unfortunately unable to keep his booking at the $180 a night Majestic Hotel in Eastbourne, England, for last Friday and Saturday night.
Michael and Sunette Adendorff found themselves driving around in circles in Eastbourne, Wellington, on Friday afternoon, wondering why a street named Royal Parade wasn't registering on their GPS system.
When they pulled in to Eastbourne pharmacy on Rimu St to ask for directions, employee Linda Burke had some bad news.
"They just walked in and asked me where Royal Parade was, with the Majestic Hotel, and I said: Oh no, there's no hotel here.
"I looked at it and said: That's in the UK, that's in England.
"He checked on the internet and said he did think it was funny they charged him in pounds."
Ms Burke wasn't about to let the pair go without accommodation, so offered to put them up in her own house for the night.
The long-term Eastbourne resident then took the pair to the local RSA for beers and dinner, where they watched the New Zealand v Tonga match and received some good-natured ribbing.
"We met a lot of locals from Eastbourne, it was very nice," Mr Adendorff said.
"The Kiwis took the piss out of us because of our silly mistake but it was very nice and they were very friendly."
The website of the Bay Majestic Eastbourne Hotel in Eastbourne, England, advertises splendid views directly opposite the beach, "within a few minutes walk of the bustling pier and picturesque Redoubt Gardens, and lying close to the heart of the town".
Mr Adendorff couldn't understand how they managed to make the colossal mistake, which left them about $363 out of pocket.
But Ms Burke's hospitality more than made up for the mix-up.
"The welcome and the way we were treated and the way we saw Eastbourne was much better than if we had booked into a hotel," Mr Adendorff said. "She took in two complete strangers, and it all worked out well."
However, the English hotel would not refund him, saying he left it too late.
The pair are now in Picton, and will be back in Wellington next week to stay at the West Plaza Hotel – which Mr Adendorff has double-checked is indeed in Wellington, New Zealand.
Yesterday, Ms Burke shrugged off her generosity.
"I've done a bit of travelling, and sometimes you get in a tricky situation and people just help.
"That's what Kiwis do, don't they? They were a lovely couple."
- © Fairfax NZ News