The comedian Jerry Seinfeld has an amusing bit about how the entire airport industry is a racket to sell overpriced sandwiches (the airlines and planes are just there to distract you from the outrageously high mark-ups). If you swap the aviation angle for pillow mints and swimming pools, the joke could just as easily apply to hotels -- especially when it comes to club sandwiches.
Club sandwich picture from Shutterstock
Traditionally consisting of three slices of toasted bread interspersed with tomato, lettuce, bacon and turkey, the club sandwich is neither a hearty nor intricate meal; yet it regularly commands prices of up to $20 for a single serve. If you're lucky you might get a few chazwazzers on the side but that hardly makes it a bargain. Invariably, a few corners of the bread will be burnt too. Tch, eh?
Thankfully, we're not alone in our curmudgeonly observations: Hotel.com has also noticed this blatant snack price gouging and they've decided to do something about it.
In a bid to find out what country has the most expensive club sandwich, the hotel online booking service compared the average prices in metropolitan hotels across the globe.
"The CSI [Club Sandwich Index] average price is calculated from the real prices paid by guests for a Club Sandwich in 30 hotels in the capital or an important tourist city of each country surveyed, across five, four and three star categories," explains the website.
"In total, 840 hotels globally were canvassed." (I wonder if the researchers also got to eat them too? Not bad work if you can get it.)
Unsurprisingly, Australia turned out to be one of the worse offenders, with Sydney breaking into the Top Ten. The average price you'll pay for a club sandwich at a Sydney hotel is a whopping $20.53. Geneva, meanwhile, leads the world with a ridiculous average asking price of $30.45.
Below is the complete Club Sandwich Index list, along with a price-comparison to last year:
According to Hotels.com, the Club Sandwich Index is a good spending barometer that can help tourists factor the everyday cost of simple items like food and drink into their travel plans: "The beauty of the CSI is that we are able to offer travelers a simple price comparison to show how far their money may stretch in each country."
Personally, we don't think hotel club sandwiches are a particularly effective barometer: like airports, hotels are essentially autonomous entities that charge whatever the hell they feel like. To paraphrase Jerry: "A club sandwich? That'll be $25. Toast is very rare here!"
What's the most you've ever paid for a club sandwich at a hotel? Conversely, what's the cheapest? Let us know in the comments section below.