Tag: Hotel ServiceView All Tags
HotelChatter 2014 Awards / Openthread / Hotel Service / Hotel Afternoon Tea / London Hotels / Maybourne Hotels / → All Tags
It's that time of year again: the 2014 HotelChatter Awards! Today and tomorrow, we'll be showcasing the best (and worst) of hotels over the past year. But we couldn't do it without you! Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, or shoot us an email. And the Award goes to...
OpenThreads are our way of handing over the microphone to you, dear readers. We put forth a topic, a dilemma, a question, a preference, or an opinion and you let us know how you really feel.
Past provocative OpenThread discussions have involved the travails of tea-making, the glories of good service, and evil minibar pricing, but the one that proved most provocative this year was the recent Claridge’s breastfeeding incident.
Was it right of London’s grande dame to ask this mother to cover up with a “ridiculous shroud” while she fed her baby?
She said no. The women who staged a mass “feed-in” protest outside the hotel agreed with her. The internet was split.
But you, HotelChatterers, were unanimous. Claridge’s were entirely within their rights to ask her to cover up.
OpenThread / Hotel Service / Hotel Hell / Hotel Afternoon Tea / Maybourne Hotels / Family-Friendly Hotels / Luxury Hotels / London Hotels / → All Tags
Afternoon tea at Claridge’s is a London institution. Afternoon tea at Claridge’s in the run-up to Christmas is a global institution. Seats are like gold dust: even when we stayed overnight a couple of years ago in December – in a posh suite, for goodness’ sake! Costing over a thousand pounds! – there was no room for us for tea.
So when Louise Burns turned up for tea with her mother, sister and newborn baby, it was obviously a long planned, much longed for treat.
But then it soured when she started breastfeeding and the hotel brought over a napkin and asked her to cover up.
OpenThread / Hotel Service / Hotel Heaven / Anantara Hotels / Phuket Hotels / Thailand Hotels / → All Tags
It may not look much, but what it represents is pretty huge.
This is a plate of turmeric, which I was handed the week before last during my stay at the Anantara Phuket Layan, Anantara’s newest Phuket hotel, which opened in January in a cove at Layan, near Bangtao Beach.
Why was I handed a plate of grubby roots? Because the previous day, I’d learned that in Thailand, turmeric is a widely used remedy for mosquito bites (FYI: it works brilliantly). So the following morning, I asked the breakfast staff whether there was any turmeric in the kitchen. No, they said, but we can go and buy some for you if you'd like. I said no thanks, and thought no more of it, going off to the beach to itch. Twenty minutes later, a member of staff rushed up, proffering this plate of turmeric. Now that is customer service.
Of course, service standards in SE Asia are always head and shoulders above those in the West, but Anantara Layan really stood out, even by Asian standards. Over the course of three days there, here’s what various members of staff did:
Hotel Service / Botlr / Hotel Robots / Aloft Hotels / Hotel Technology / California Hotels / Cupertino Hotels / Cupertino Aloft / → All Tags
Named for its purpose and state of mind, Botlr, the robotic servant is currently at the tail end of a test run at the Cupertino Aloft in California. We told you all about Botlr last month but in case you need a refresher, here's how he/it works:
After receiving a request that needs to be delivered, such as a snack or small amenity, a hotel employee programs the robot by hitting a few buttons. Botlr then uses the hotel Wifi to interact within the hotel and perform tasks, such as calling and directing the elevator to a specific floor. It is programmed with a mapping system that allows it to navigate through the property, the exact same technology used by Google's self-driving cars. Cameras help it avoid obstacles and real people.
When it arrives, it uses a signal to call the room telephone and alert the guest. Sensors allow Botlr to recognize when the door is opened and lift the lid on its storage container. And instead of being silently pressured into giving a tip, guests can enter a review for Botlr on its flat panel display screen. If it's a positive review, the Botlr will do a little dance. Well, that solves our problem of not having enough cash on us.
Hotel Service / Hotel Amenities / Mexico Hotels / Punta Mita Hotels / Nicaragua Hotels / Four Seasons Hotels / → All Tags
Infinity pool at the Four Seasons Punta Mita
Gaining a competitive advantage has always been part of the hotel business, but as the number of properties worldwide continues to increase and marketing efforts such as "beachfront," "all-inclusive," and "luxurious" become diluted, resorts are now going to the next level in order to distinguish themselves from the pack. For example, this hotel in Peru hired help that will literally bend over backwards for its guests, and lord knows we've seen our fair share of interesting hotel packages.
Enter the latest move by the Four Seasons Punta Mita, who recently launched what we're calling water waiter pool service. That is, waiters who wade into the water so you don't have to leave the edge of the infinity pool to retrieve a fresh drink. The new service is like clockwork. Beginning at noon, these "amphibious waiters" suit up and make a delivery to swimmers every half hour, whether its a smoothie, coffee, or adult beverage.
Our front desk guy has been stressing the importance of great hotel service in the past few weeks but this five-star hotel in Peru is going to the extreme.
The Sol & Luna Lodge and Spa, a new addition to the Relais & Chateaux portfolio in the Urubamba Valley, has hired four former Cirque du Soleil acrobats who perform outdoors on the trapeze and ropes with the views of the Sacred Valley of the Incas in the background.
Yes, it's come to this. Hotel are now so eager to please their guests they have hired people who will literally bend over backwards for them. Guess we can't really complain about that.
Superior Casitas at Sol y Luna, which is 30 minutes from the Inca Rail to Machu Picchu and an hour from Cusco, start at $266 a night and that includes free WiFi.
[Photo: Sol & Luna]
Back in January, we got in a cab in front of our hotel and took it across town. A few minutes after arriving at our destination, we realized that our phone was no longer in our pocket and had fallen out in the cab. What ensued next was about an hour of panic and scrambling, calling the cab company and trying to get in contact with the driver. Because we didn't have the cab number, we were completely out of luck, never able to get in touch with the driver to see if the phone was still there in the back seat.
It was an experience that happens to the best of us when traveling, and it was obviously not something to blame on anyone else. But this week, a simple gesture by a hotel helped to make sure it didn't happen again. We bunked up at the Shangri-La in Bangkok, and every time we hopped in a cab, the bellman handed us a little card with all our cab's information on it. Luckily, we never had to use it, but we thought it was a really solid move, and one that would be a lifesaver if we forgot something in a cab. It would have certainly helped us back in January.
Hotel Service / Hotel Concierge / Luxury Hotels / Ritz-Carlton Hotels / Washington DC Hotels / → All Tags
For 10 years running, Mother Ritzy Duck has been showing up at The Ritz-Carlton Georgetown in Washington, DC, to hatch her brood in style. We guess you could say she has a standing reservation at the hotel (yuck, yuck).
This year, the team at the hotel has taken the utmost care to ensure that Ritzy’s stay is a true Ritz-Carlton experience that exceeds her needs and expectations -- lucky duck! –- and has assigned a "Just Ducky Concierge" to ensure her stay is a good one. A set of SOP (standard operating procedures) on Distinguished Duck Care has been written by the concierge to assist staff in taking care of this VID guest.
First and foremost is that Ritzy only gets Ritz-Carlton bottled water and absolutely no people food. Once a day Ritzy has lunch and then goes for a dip in the pool, which cools her eggs and helps with her baby ducks’ development, but for the last few days before hatching time, mama duck is given gourmet organic duck pellets so that she can eat in comfort while waiting for the little guys to make an appearance.
According to European folklore (and Metallica) a late night visit from The Sandman brings deep sleep and dreams. Which is a lot less creepy than the name implies — because frankly, “The Sandman” also sounds like some kind of serial killer summoned by chanting his name in the bathroom mirror. Just saying.
Luckily (or not, depending on your predilection for heavy metal and horror movies) it’s the former, shuteye-inducing Sandman paged by the new “Sleep Menu” available at the Hard Rock Hotel Chicago. The menu offers complimentary rentals of simple aids like ear plugs and extra blankets, plus a humidifier and a sound machine full of sleep-inducing background noise: Thunder, white noise, babbling brooks and whatnot. (Ask nicely, maybe they’ll upload Lady Gaga’s latest. ZING!) Drop a little extra dime, and you can get anything from a relaxing eye mask to chamomile tea, a Hot Toddy to a bottle of “Relax” brand wine.
And of course, you’ll be resting your head in the same Hard Rock where music stars like Cyndi Lauper and Boyz II Men have recently caught some Z’s. Guy Fieri too, but we weren’t going to mention that. We’re going for sweet dreams, not high-cholesterol nightmares.
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.
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.
OpenThread / Hotel Restaurants / Hotel Woes / Hotel Reviews / Hotel Service / Hotel Rant / → All Tags
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.