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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.
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.
Morocco Hotels / Marrakech Hotels / Boutique Hotels / Hotel Reviews / Africa Hotels / Hotel Service / → All Tags
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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 ... '
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."
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.
UPDATE: A rep for the hotel wanted to clarify that W Hollywood never had a "no guest allowed" policy. She writes, "When initially testing the pool party at Drai’s, the first few Sundays had a massive turnout - 700 people showed up. Thereafter, all hotel guests have been admitted and they always have priority."
The other month, we were pretty much horrified to learn of the W Hollywood Hotel's pool policy for hotel guests.
Essentially, the hotel did not allow guests into the pool area during the Sunday pool parties run by Drai's nightclub unless they had a reservation for Drai's. With the pool party running from 10am to 10pm on Sundays, this meant hotel guests were essentially shut out from using the pool for a day.
The whole story came about from watching travel writer Jason Cochran's Twitter feed, who later wrote about the ridiculous policy in-depth for AOL's travel blog, Gadling. But now, LA Curbed has confirmed that W Hotel has made the pool accessible to guests on Sundays again. Kinda.
UPDATE 5.19.10: The hotel has relaxed the pool policy for guests.
The fabulous people of L.A. may be thrilled that Drai's and the pool scene is now open at the W Hollywood Hotel and Residences, but if you're a regular person? Before you get into your bathing suit and head to the roof for a swim, check your calendar. Is it a Sunday? If the answer's yes, you may be staying dry.