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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:
OpenThread / Hotel Religion / Travelodge Hotels / UK Hotels / Hotel Bibles / Hotel Bookshelves / → All Tags
A Bible in your bedside drawer has always been one of those comforting mediocre hotel room givens, like toiletries of dubious provenance and chocolates – if you’re lucky enough to get them – that taste of cardboard. But could this be coming to an end?
Travelodge is currently coming under fire in the UK for removing Bibles from all its hotel rooms, “because of diversity reasons” and “‘in order not to discriminate against any religion”. Predictably, there’s a firestorm of people on Twitter vowing to switch allegiance to Premier Inn, and the Church of England declaring that: “It seems both tragic and bizarre that hotels would remove the word of God for the sake of ergonomic design, economic incentive or a spurious definition of the word ‘diversity’.”
In actual fact, the story isn’t as extreme as it sounds at first – the Bibles, which were always provided free of charge by the Gideon Society, haven’t been burned or chucked out – Travelodge says they are being “retained” and will be doled out by reception on request. What’s more, in surely the most telling part of this story, Travelodge says this decision was taken in 2007, and the hotels have been steadily implementing it since then, without receiving any complaints until the Daily Mail got wind of it last week.
Bathrobes at the Four Seasons Los Angeles.
Today, we're taking stock of the changing seasons...Four Seasons Hotels, that is.
With Four Seasons making expansion a top priority in the next years--the Four Seasons Orlando will open this weekend while Four Seasons Dubai is now taking reservations for December--it's a good time to take stock of what Four Seasons has done right, and where they still need some improvement. In other words, what to do and not to do with future Four Seasons Hotels.
The Le Mérdien Bora Bora
This art-centric Starwood Hotel has been coming out of its shell in recent months, picking up a few new properties here and there. And they aren't stopping. Last week, Le Méridien announced they will be opening 11 new hotels over the next 12 months, which will triple its portfolio in the Americas since the French-born brand was acquired by Starwood in 2005.
Here's where Le Méridien will plant their flag over the next year: Tampa (inside a century-old Federal Courthouse); Bangladesh; Chicago-Oakbrook Center; Bangkok; Charlotte; Gujarat, India; Mahabaleshwar, India; Indianapolis; New Orleans (formerly a W, will undergo a $29 mil renovation); Thimphu, Bhutan and Qingdao, China.
But where is your favorite Le Méridien hotel today? Clearly, some Le Méridiens are better than others but we want to know which ones. So help us out by sharing your experiences with us. And SPG-ers, we know you know the dirt so don't hold back!
[Photo: Le Meridien Bora Bora/Facebook]
Hotel Blackslists are real, this we know. But what gets you on a hotel's naughty list can vary.
Most of the time it's for doing something illegal--drugs, prostitution, soliciting and failing to pay your bill. Sometimes, it can be for disruptive behavior--loud parties, drunkenness, damaging the room and walking around naked. And other times, it can be simply because the hotel didn't want you back. (Or rather, didn't want you there in the first place, which once happened to us a few years ago.)
But for this one guest in the U.K., the reason for blacklisting was very clear--he joked about his "trouser snake."
HC Alumnus JuliaB tweeted us a write-up of the indecent incident in a newspaper and it is beyond hilarious.
The full monty went down at the Hilton Baskingstoke Hotel in Hampshire when a guest made a naughty remark on an online comment form, telling staff "he had a large snake in my trousers." The guest said the reception staff laughed about it when he checked out. But then a few days later, he received a note from the hotel manager that said they would no longer accept future bookings from him since having to read his comment made the staff uncomfortable.
So we have to ask--was blacklisting this guest an unjust decision?
We've talked about our favorite and least-favorite W Hotels, the best Kimpton Hotels and the Sofitel Hotels we're most thankful for but now, on the eve of Love Day (which is what our three-year-old calls February 14), it's time to talk about our favorite place to have an Andazm.* For those not in the know, we're talking about Andaz Hotels.
The HotelChatter team has been in just about every Andaz out there, (except for Peninsula Papagayo which just opened in late December), and the general consensus is that Andaz Hotels are awesome. What's not to love? Personalized check-in, free wine hours, complimentary minibar snacks and free WiFi. Each Andaz also has its own distinct design, ensuring that no two Andazes are exactly alike.
Keep reading to see this editor's personal fave Andaz Hotel!
For the first time since its introduction decades ago, we saw the consumer push back against the minibar in 2013. Chalk it up to nostalgia, but a small part of us was surprised to see such a staple of the hotel industry begin to crumble. But nostalgia is all the minibar could hold onto, because the logical part of our brain was not surprised at all.
When the news first broke, we told you how we thought the hotel industry had gone about minibars all wrong with its decision making, jacking up the prices, installing electronic sensors that botched up billing (over a $2 can of soda, no less), and charging a fee to convert it to fridge space when guests decided they’d rather bring their own snacks as an alternative.
That said, explained, and accepted, it is hard to feel bad for hotels. What did they think was going to happen? Did they really think guests would flock to the fridge for $5 candy bars? An all-out focus on profit margins turned what could have been a useful, convenient amenity into a useless, don’t-even-look-at-that-thing waste of space.
It's that time of year again: the 2013 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 usually involved something found inside the guest rooms (toiletry dispensers, bibles, tipping the housekeeper, etc. but this year's thread involved the waiters and waitresses working downstairs in the hotel restaurant.
Here's how it all went down for ASchecter in a Brooklyn hotel:
Despite being in the travel industry and finding ourselves on the road much of the year, the holidays are the one period of time where we can guarantee a few nights at home in our own bed. In all honesty, this contributor has never woken up on Christmas morning in a hotel room, so the idea of it seems very foreign in some way. Hotels are our home away from home, but there's never been a substitute for waking up in our own bed on Christmas morning.
Sitting here, we wonder what it would be like to rise on the 25th in a hotel. What would we do? How would we spend our morning?
If we were in a suite at the Goring, things would be pretty merry given the pile of presents that looks like a Christmas tree. And lots of hotels do their best to create a festive atmosphere for those traveling during the holidays, including giant macaron Christmas trees and other holiday decorations.
When staying at a hotel, it's common to tip the folks who work there for various services, such as the housekeepers, the bellhops and the concierges. But a credit card education website is now saying (randomly) not to forget the front desk workers this holiday season.
CreditDonkey.com has compiled a list of all the other people in your life that you need to leave a tip for including hotel, motel and resort desk clerks. CreditDonkey claims these employees make an annual wage of $21,960 in their gig and deserve a tip between $5 and $10 before you check-out, especially if you they've helped you out other than just checking you in and handing you a room key.
We have to agree with this sort of tip, not just for the holidays, but always (again, if they go above and beyond their duties.) So now, who else should we tip at hotels over the holidays? And we're talking about a few days at a hotel over Christmas, not just a one-night stand sometime the week before. Let us know who should go on the NICE list in comments below!
Of course, tipping the housekeepers, the bellhops, the concierges and the front desk can add up (not to mention the pressure to tip is high these days. Read the comments on this story for some advice). Perhaps consider some other gifts aside from cash that will be sure to delight. Otherwise, make sure you've got your dollar bills and fivers in place before checking out.
Lost and Found / OpenThread / Customer Service / Ritz-Carlton Hotels / Florida Hotels / Hotel Staff / Ritz Kids / Hotel News / → All Tags
We've all had horror stories when it comes to staying in a hotel, especially if we just happened to forget something in the room. While some might think that their article is lost forever, that's not always the case. Here's a story in great customer service by a hotel, restoring our faith in not only hotel staff far and wide, but humankind on a whole. Prepare to have your heart warmed.
The whole situation went down when the Hurn family decided to spend their vacation at Florida's Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island. Upon returning home after a few days soaking up the sun, living in luxury and scoring some rest and relaxation, their 8-year old son realized he had left his stuffed toy giraffe, Joshie, back at the resort.
Like any good father would do to buy some time, Chris Hurn told his son that the toy needed some "extra vacation time and would be home soon". He then called the hotel with the hopes that Joshie was sitting in a lost-and-found box somewhere in the backroom. To much surprise, Ritz-Carlton's staff informed him that Joshie was safe and sound and offered to send the plush animal home free of charge.
Mr. and Mrs. Smith (of the boutique hotel guide, not the Brangelina movie) recently celebrated their ten-year anniversary by handing out their Smith Awards at a packed out event on London’s Brick Lane. Among the various categories was “Sexiest Hotel Room”, an award that was taken home by one of the first high-style, design-led hotels of the city: Blakes London, specifically for its Corfu Suite.
Watching the count down from 10 to runner up had us wondering whether we agreed with the result. Was this the sexiest hotel room? What would be our pick, and why? And what would you, dear reader, think?