Tag: Hotel Service

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This Boston Hotel Proves That Good Service Does Not Depend on Tipping

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  Site Where: 1 Seaport Lane [map], Boston, Massachusetts , United States, 02210
April 23, 2014 at 12:00 PM | by | Comments (0)

When this writer checked into the 428-room Boston Seaport Hotel, one of the first things the clerk went out of her way to tell me was that there was no tipping at the hotel. I figured I'd heard her wrong, so I asked her to repeat it. She smiled. The craziest part is when she told me it's not a new thing - the hotel has had a no tipping policy since it opened in 1998.

Fifteen years ago, it put its then 260 employees through 35,000 hours of training on all aspects of guest service, from opening doors to room tidiness, and taught them to do it all without expecting a tip.

We've talked a lot about tipping on this site in the past, and there's always a debate about who should be tipped and for what. I found the no tipping policy at the Seaport to be extremely refreshing and impressive. Two reasons stand out in particular. 1) When receiving help from the staff, I didn't immediately feel like I owed them money and 2) I felt like the employees genuinely wanted to help me, and when it comes to the travel industry, that sometimes gets lost in the shuffle when money is involved.

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Brand.com Helps Hotels Bury Negative News. Noble or Sneaky?

June 27, 2013 at 10:10 AM | by | Comments (8)

We recently received a press release and this first sentence caught our eye:

“Once a bad review or a negative article of a hotel/resort is written online, there is no way to delete it. However, thanks to ReputationChanger.com, provider of something called ORMS or online reputation management services hotels/resort managers can now bury negative reviews to fix a tarnished online reputation. ReputationChanger.com can help hotels/resorts clear negative reviews, control, monitor, and manage their online reputation.”

Well that certainly got our attention. Could this be a Kosher operation given the drama with TripAdvisor? Would this company Olivia Pope these hotels and “handle” their negative reviews even if they're well deserved?

We weren’t sure we liked the sound of this, so we contacted the company to find out more.

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Can An Unfriendly Waitress Ruin Your Hotel Stay?

February 13, 2013 at 9:51 AM | by | Comments (15)

The other day, we were meeting friends for brunch and settled on a restaurant in a Brooklyn hotel which shall remain unnamed*. We'd heard nice things, and having popped inside the lobby once or twice, we figured it would be an opportunity to soak up the vibe, relax, and eat good food.

Wrong.

It all started when the hostess refused to seat us until the rest of our party had arrived, even though we could see plenty of open tables. Fine. We told them we'd wait in the lobby and order some tea. Well, we had to elbow our way to the bar to get that done. And after one barista impatiently took our order, we lingered for ten minutes waiting for the tea to materialize (how hard can it be? You fill a pot with water and stick a teabag in it) before giving up and heading back to the lobby.

Five minutes later, another grouchy barista tracked us down in the lobby to inform us our tea was sitting at the bar—in other words, he could have brought it out to us, but didn't. OK, we said, we'll come get it. On the way back to the bar, we requested that the tea just be added to our brunch bill since we'd already put our names down for a table.

"Fine," he said, as if we'd just asked him to commit adultery.

Evidently, this was not off to a good start.

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Pancakes, a Fez and Babouche Slippers Took the (Birthday) Cake at Riad Joya

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  Site Where: Hay Mouassine, Derb El Hammam Nr. 26/27, Marrakech, Morocco, 40000
January 11, 2012 at 4:00 PM | by | Comments (0)

Yesterday we teased today's full review of Riad Joya, a boutique hotel planted squarely in the middle of Marrakech's Medina, the most ancient part of the city. Having made the claim that Joya provided us with the best service ever experienced, it's only fitting that we elaborate on such a bold statement.

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Wait, No. Maybe You Don't Like Hotels After All?

July 20, 2011 at 2:35 PM | by | Comments (2)

Yesterday we dished on a new survey that said online reviews are mostly positive but today with the release of the newest J.D. Power and Associates annual hotel survey, overall guest satisfaction has apparently dropped off. Huh?

But wait, it gets even more confusing. The survey also reports that guest satisfaction with room rates and fees have increased as have occupancy rates. This actually strikes us as strange because we've been seeing a lot of silly new fees implemented at hotels lately, coupled with the usual suspects like resort fees, internet charges and parking. But apparently, you all don't mind about that.

However, you are displeased with the other parts of your hotel stay from the hotel facilities and operations to services. But there could be a reason for that.

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When You're Tired of Living in Hotels, You're Tired of Life (Except in London)

May 12, 2011 at 7:06 PM | by | Comments (2)

And now we leave you with a special guest post from Paul Carr, the man who spent three years living in London hotels, an envious escapade which not only serves as the premise for his book, The Upgrade, but which also gives him license to lay into London hotels for their overpriced rates and poor service. And away we go.

When Samuel Johnson suggested that a man who is tired of London is tired of life, he clearly wasn't paying $500 a night to stay at a mid-refurb Radisson in a drafty twin room overlooking some dumpsters. In fact, if you want to become tired of life very quickly, a night in a London hotel is a great place to start.

I should start by emphasizing how much I love hotels. I love hotels so much, that three years ago I gave up my apartment in London, sold nearly all of my possessions (all that wouldn't fit in a single carry-on bag) and began living as a permanent hotel-dweller.

Since then, by virtue of having no fixed abode (and very little shame), I've enjoyed a life of ridiculous excess and adventure, met thousands of incredible people and had more fun than is perhaps sensible for a grown man. Certainly more than is legal: my adventures have landed me in jail cells on at least three occasions (that I can remember) and ultimately lead to me finally quitting drinking and writing a book about my misadventures: The Upgrade, which just so happens to be published this week in the UK and Europe.

And yet, London is the one city on earth which makes me hate the idea staying in hotels, let alone living in them. For a start, the economics are ridiculous. A cursory glance on Hotels.com shows me that the cheapest,the cheapest, central London, four star or above, hotel room available tonight is $531. By contrast, for just $30 more in New York, I could book a loft at Morgans. Hell, for $100 less I could comfortably book any of the current hotel-only deals on Jetsetter and still have enough left over for dinner.

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Motel 6 Really Wants to Know What You Think Of Its Rooms

October 18, 2010 at 3:40 PM | by | Comments (3)

Motel 6 really wanted to know what we thought of this room

We always had Motel 6 down as a wham, bam, thank you kinda place to stay. You pays your $35.99 (one person), you gets your (grubby) room key, and the next morning you high tail it outta there, hoping you left the cooties in the bed.

That’s what we did recently, anyway, at the Motel 6 in Pueblo, Colorado. Our room smelt odd, the covers were pretty grim, they tried to charge us more than they should have (they allocated us a studio rather than a room, when we’d asked for a room) and it was, all in all, not the nicest motel we’d ever been in.

The next day, we didn’t even bother handing in our key at reception. We just got the hell out (along with the local gun show folks, who’d been filling the beds the night before).

We thought no more of it until the next day, when we got an email from Motel 6, asking us to fill in a survey about our stay. Which we ignored.

Then, five days later, we got another email. This time it said, plaintively:

We noticed that you did not have time to complete the survey. We are concerned that you may not have responded because we have somehow failed to live up to your expectations. At Accor Hotels, we are committed to providing a superior guest experience to each and every one of our customers. Please take a few minutes to tell us how well we met your expectations.

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Free WiFi Doesn't Mean Functioning WiFi at International House in New Orleans

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  Site Where: 221 Camp Street [map], New Orleans, LA, United States, 70130
September 9, 2010 at 2:39 PM | by | Comments (6)

How’s that for a list of WiFi options? We were beside ourselves with excitement when we arrived in New Orleans yesterday and got these babies from our hotel bed. Even better, the WiFi at our hotel--the International House, owned by hot hotelier Sean Cummings--would be free. (That’s actually why we booked it-- we even called to confirm, such devotees to the Free WiFi cause we are).

But--you could see a but coming, no?--unfortunately, our free WiFi was not to be. Mainly because we have an annoying Mac that occasionally isn’t recognized by hotel WiFi networks. So we logged onto the network fine, it accepted our password, but then we got network error messages instead of pages loading.

When this has happened to us before (at other properties), the hotels called their tech support and approved our IP address, letting us onto the network. Unfortunately, being a boutique hotel, International House has no tech support. The guy on front desk last night was a sweetie, apologized profusely and even took some time Googling our problem, but to no avail. We agreed to wait till the morning.

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If You Stay At The Jane, Don't Expect to Have a Night in the Ballroom

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  Site Where: 113 Jane Street [map], New York, NY, United States, 10014
September 1, 2010 at 4:06 PM | by | Comments (0)

Off limits come night time if you’re a hotel guest

As you may have gathered from our review yesterday, we didn’t exactly dig our stay at The Jane NYC. But what we lacked as regards a clean room and a pleasant environment, we told ourselves, we were gaining in street cred, as staying there would surely get us entry into the fabled Ballroom, which reopened in May.

What were we thinking? Of course they’re not going to let plebs who pay $89 for a room into One Of The Most Exclusive Spaces In Manhattan. We would ruin the hipster vibe if we dared enter, smelling of The Jane.

We got in around midnight on Thursday night and could hear the choons as we walked up the staircase. We noted the hipsters standing outside smoking and jumping in taxis and loafing around in the lobby looking way too cool for school. And we wanted to join them (actually we kinda needed a drink to persuade us to return to that room, but anyways).

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Andaz Wall Street and 5th Ave Hosts Provide Service In The City

August 24, 2010 at 9:38 AM | by | Comment (1)

We already know that Andaz Hotels prides itself on friendly, floating hosts and stacks of local knowledge. But did you know that you can call on the Andaz hosts even when you're not in your hotel room, but out and about in the city?

We learned this when we were handed this red business card pictured above when checking in for our stay at Andaz 5th Avenue this July. On one side it's a regular ol' business card for the hotel, but this red side tells us our host's name and says, 'If you are out exploring the city and need anything, please call or text me at ... '

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Apple Wants To Get Into The Hotel Concierge Business

August 2, 2010 at 9:25 AM | by | Comments (3)

Is there anything Steve Jobs can't do? Not content to just woo us with iPads in hotel rooms, Apple is said to be looking into the hotel service industry in a much more direct way.

According to tech blog reports, Apple has filed patent applications for a few travel and shopping apps, one specifically designed to provide hotel amenities and services.

As CNET summed it up, "It also would appear to put some hotel concierges out of work."

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It's Hard To Beat The Views At Shangri-La Sydney

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  Site Where: 176 Cumberland St, Sydney, NSW, Australia, 2000
June 9, 2010 at 9:20 AM | by | Comment (1)

Yeah, mate, yesterday's Guess The Hotel shot was taken from level 14 of the Shangri-La Sydney, where we can barely tear ourselves away from the window.

Back when this was the ANA Hotel, the bar on level 36, now known as Blu Bar was the place to wow tourists. The newly renovated bar still provides knockout views, but there's nothing quite like knocking the socks off longtime Sydneysiders by inviting them into your hotel room to see this more personal view of their city.

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