Thursday 27 December 2007

Ghiradelli’s Christmas Wonderland Turns in to Toilet Nightmare

Ghiradelli Square – Ice Cream and Chocolate Store
900 North Point Street
San Francisco, CA USA 94109

Where is it?

No toilets in the store – you are expected to use the ones out in the square, which on this evening was one hell of a trek! Go out of the store entrance and head left into the square. Head towards the centre of the square and you’ll see some steps. Take them down to the courtyard and go straight. (There was a private function so we could not go through the night I was there – and the officious pompous git at the entrance wouldn’t give directions to a mere visitor – so I had to backtrack). You need to follow the step towards the street. I had to backtrack back to the store, left down the hill, left again on to Beach Street and then left to the base of the stairs where you will find the toilets on the left.

What’s it like?

Having eaten my main course elsewhere and deciding the desert menu wasn’t really up to much I decided to head toward Ghiradelli’s which I’d heard did great ice cream and deserts as well as having great chocolate. Seems that Ghiradelli is famous in the US for being the first chocolate factory in San Francisco. When Domingo Ghiradelli set up his factory in 1852 I’m sure he didn’t realize that the business would still be going over 150 years later, and have a reputation for high quality confectionery across the country.

I’d have to say the reputation is well deserved. As I sit here eating an egg-nog flavour special edition piece of chocolate I have the satisfaction of reporting that first hand. I can also say the ice cream with butterscotch source was pretty damned good too – the perfect desert. In fact if I was scoring this place on the ice cream it would be one of the best there is.

My visit also came far enough in November for it to be respectable to have your mind on Christmas and picking up a few gifts. And Ghiradelli square was on form in this department too. Decked out in Christmas lights it was easy to get into the festive spirit. The vibe about the place, the anticipation of great chocolate, the excitement of present giving, just everything about it is great. Indeed the square itself is fantastic for picking up upmarket oddities.

It’s a pity then that some pretty damned disgusting toilets spoiled the whole experience. Not only is there a great hike to the toilets, especially when it is hindered by some of the more unhelpful shop tenants (see above), but when you get there you have to wonder if it safe to enter especially at night. When you go in you have to question if they have been maintained at all. The fixtures are rusting away, there are gaping holes in the walls. The baby changing station is there, but you’d not want to go near it. In sum you would only use these toilets if you really, really had to.

Given these are the only toilets for the chocolate and ice cream shop, you want somewhere spotlessly clean, well maintained and safe. It needs to be the sort of place people will be happy to their kids, not the sort of place you suspect is used mainly for taking drugs.

Marks out of 10:

2. Pretty damned poor!

Comments to the management:

Given the quality of the other facilities here you obviously know what makes for a good customer experience, so the state of these toilets is unforgivable. Shame on you! Get some toilets in your store and give the kids somewhere safe to go. And whilst you are at it give your shop tenants a kicking for being so rude.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dessert, not desert.