Many guests choose hotel Sauce again for their stay in Zaragoza because they feel like being at home, in a familiar atmosphere. Our new guest in this edition of interviews can say a few things about this. The hotel was her real home . Isabel´s childhood took place within these walls when her family started to run the business.
An amazing adventure that began with that little hotel run by this family that lived on the top floor of the building in what is now the hotel Sauce. This is Isabel´s first-hand experience Today, Isabel is a member of the Sauce team . She is the online personal assistant of our guests. Our guest of this interview is a great ambassador of Zaragoza and of the hotel Sauce. We are pleased to present Isabel Fernández.
Many guests and friends tell us that in our hotel they feel like being at home. And in your case, in the past, the hotel used to be your real home. What memories do you have about those old days?
I used to live in room 503, that was my bedroom. And I had my own private bathroom, an my piano, because during that time I was a piano student. Now it bothers me to think what was the opinion of the guests on the fourth floor about my piano “concerts”.
I also had my own individual air-conditioning, a real privilege in those days and even a musical line!
I loved living in the attic of the hotel, you could see the eave of the building through the window. The views were beautiful and the room was full of light. But what I really liked was watching the cats that freely walked along the ledge and stopped peering into the rooms of the fifth floor.
Hotel Sauce is a family run hotel. And now most of our guests would be surprised to know that when the hotel opened its doors in August 1988, the family lived in the hotel during the first years.
That is right. Next to me, in room 504 lived my brother Luis, and in rooms 501 and 502 lived my parents.
On the top floor we had the living room and the kitchen. We had many plants on the top landing and a little terrace where we hanged up the washing. Though that terrace we had access to the roof of the hotel. It was very risky to climb that long metallic ladder with our father, but it was worth trying and overcome that fear, because it was a reward to see from the top the beautiful view of the basilica and the experience of being above the roofs of the old part of the city. One year we climbed and we enjoyed the spectacular fireworks during the festivals of the city.
Your live has always been linked to the hotel business. But how were your first steps into this world?
I began making coffee in our first red express coffee machine that we bought for the cafeteria of the hotel I also used to prepare t toasts in our old toaster that guests ate with peach or strawberry jam and butter. We also served croissants and a typical pastry with cream. And the freshly squeezed orange juice, ham and cheese sandwich and poached, scrambled or boiled eggs ( especially ordered by our English guests). And that was all. There was not a buffet breakfast as there is now but we used to take note of the individual orders of each table and hand them to reception with the room number of the guest.
However in my early childhood my grandparents owned a hotel and a restaurant, and with 4 or 5 years old I helped setting the tables for breakfast. It was like playing a fun game. I also used to draw on the blackboard where the cook wrote the menu of the day, next to where the coal was stored, because coal was used for cooking. I loved to watch the way my mom made the homemade cakes, she used to moist the sponge cake with rum , filled it with chocolate and decorate it with shredded sweetened coconut and cherries. Or how they prepare an endless table full of plates of appetizer dishes for the large group of dinner filling the restaurant. Popular music and dancing groups came to entertain the customers. A coming and going of waitress with their pretty uniforms. How they prepared the ice-cream, or refill the bottles of bulk wine, or how they weighed the food in the old scales. All these images are deeply etched in my memory forever.
Time goes by and there are many things that have changed along the years in the hotel business. What has disappeared nowadays from the old days?
I am thinking right now in two unique and incomparable people: “El Faraón” y “Aquilino”. They were the reservation centers of those days. Two humble men that took care of the different open air parking places around the basilica and when they saw a tourist come, they guided them to the hotel. We paid them 200 pesetas for each room that they sold. It was essential to have a good relationship with them because this would bring us good benefits. In those days tourists did not reserve in advance, they just arrived in the city and looked for a hotel. ” El Faraón “was a former bull fighter and “Aquilino” a poet that dedicated a poem to my mother Carmen.
Hotel Sauce has a long history, can you tell us an anecdote about the time the hotel opened its doors in 1988?
When the hotel opened I was 12 years old. It was summer time and I was wearing a nice green and white summer outfit. The first guests arrived and my mom told me that we had forgotten to place blankets in the wardrobes of the rooms. She asked me to go upstairs and fetch the blankets. So there I was in an August hot summer afternoon knocking on the room door of the first guests and giving them a couple of brand new blankets that they kindly accepted.
Today you work at the hotel as the online personal assistant of our guests. It sounds fascinating, can you tell us a little bit about your work?
I personally assist our guests through e-mail. If they have any questions, special requests or require information before they arrive to Zaragoza or after they leave the hotel I try to help they with anything they may need. I also ask them about their feedback to see if they have enjoyed a pleasant stay.
The people that we dedicate most of our time to the hotel business we have slight professional bias when we travel and we look at certain details that other people may pass unnoticed. You are a great traveler, what is the oddest thing ever happen to you in a hotel? ( not at hotel Sauce )
I don´t remember right now a very strange thing, but in a recent trip to Barcelona I was just going to leave the room when someone slipped an envelope under the door. I thought it was an important message from someone that could not reach me on the phone. But it was the customer satisfaction survey that I was pleased to fill in the next morning. Maybe we could put this idea into practice at hotel Sauce and see if it has acceptance among our guests.
What weird object must be always present in your suitcase?
A spare inner tube for my wheelchair, just in case I get a flat tire.
You are a great ambassador of Zaragoza and of the hotel. Why should the travelers that may be reading these lines visit our city? and why should they choose hotel Sauce for their stay?
Our foreign travelers love Zaragoza because it is not as big and touristic as Madrid or Barcelona, and still preserves that authenticity and hospitality of the local people that welcome them. I would also point out that Zaragoza is a very accessible city, everything is very handy and close distance but at the same time it is a very dynamic and lively city with lots of shops, restaurants and tapas bars, artistic and cultural life and many important historical attractions. I love to stroll along the old part of the city that surrounds the hotel and I recommend our guests to discover the maze of narrow and pedestrian streets of El Tubo, the most popular tapas hunting area of the city. That is why it is a real privilege to stay in our hotel, because Plaza del Pilar, and all the hidden gems and charming corners of the city are only a stone throw from the hotel.