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That awkward moment when you turn up for your vacation to realize that the hotel’s still under construction. (You may need to replace “awkward” with “stuff of nightmares”.)
That was the horror faced by people who’d booked the Blue Lagoon Princess in Halkidiki, Greece, through British company Thomson Holidays. Billed as a 5“T” property under the “Platinum Lifestyle” brand, the renderings looked seriously appealing.
But when people who’d booked turned up last Monday, the official opening date, they found the hotel still looking like a building site.
It was all going so well for Hotel Gotham. Manchester’s newest hotel was looking good, garnering great reviews and generally making a splash – and then, a pesky a reality TV “celebrity” had to come along and spoil it.
There’s bad behavior by normal hotel standards, and there’s bad behavior by Hard Rock standards. And when you factor in a good old British lout, you know bad behavior for the ages is on the cards.
Last week, a 41-year-old man from Hampshire, Andrew Wood, was on the trip of a lifetime to Universal Orlando. He got drunk. He went back to his room at the Hard Rock Universal Orlando. Except on the way (maybe he got caught short, maybe he didn't want to soil the sexy new rooms) and peed into an ice machine.
HotelChatter Long Reads / Hotel Delays / Hotel Hell / Baha Mar Hotels / Bahamas Hotels / Hotel PR / Hotel Crises / → All Tags
An exclusive HotelChatter Long Read by John Buchanan
Shortly after that, Baha Mar insiders told us the resort would actually open on March 27. Progress! Except after three months of non-stop marketing and advertising hype about the new "Bahamian Riviera", across traditional and digital media--along with a special Grand Opening offer that included a $100 resort credit--Baha Mar delayed its opening again to May in a most spectacular way--by announcing the delay on Facebook two days before the scheduled opening.
Would-be guests flooded the Bahamian megaresort’s Facebook page with questions about their existing room reservations and plane tickets. A few even said they had no idea about the delay until they saw the Facebook post. Several seriously unlucky folks had less than 48-hours notice before leaving for the Bahamas.
We’ve not seen a mob mentality rage of this kind toward a hotel before. Indeed, angry customers are still leaving comments on the resort’s Facebook page, asking about their upcoming reservations for May.
After canceling its official grand opening weekend for May 5-7, and moving its general opening date yet again, Baha Mar is now accepting reservations for July 1-3, seven months after the initial December opening date. (And no, there was no official update on social media from the resort about the May opening being moved as well.)
To be fair, delays are to be expected when building new hotels, especially one as big as the $3.5 billion, China-funded Baha Mar resort which will have a flagship hotel and casino, two luxury hotels (Rosewood and SLS Lux) and a Grand Hyatt. But it is one thing to delay your hotel’s opening date before you’ve begun accepting reservations. It is another thing entirely to delay your opening just two days before the expected date without notifying your existing reservation holders.
One can only wonder--Will Baha Mar ever recover from this very public embarrassing setback? Will guests want to take a chance on booking a room for July? Will travel media, travel agents, meeting and events planners and other businesses believe Baha Mar when they announce their next opening date?
When we talked about Intercontinental’s branding-by-smell last month, the general consensus was that it was rather a good idea.
But sometimes, you can have too much of a good thing. And that might just be the case at the Intercontinental de la Ville in Rome.
HC reader @GreeleyCopley tweeted us last week:
But perhaps we should have framed the article differently, as in What Airport Hotels Shouldn't Do.
A reader commented on the story with list of bad airport hotels, along with reasons why the experiences were so awful. Anyone who's ever stayed in an airport hotel before can sympathize.
And then we realized, even though airport hotels have come a long way in recent years, there are still some stinkers (literally) out there. So we want you to tell us the airport hotels you think should be grounded, permanently. Or at least renovated. (Don't worry, we'll start a new OpenThread for Best Airport Hotels soon.)
To start, we're reposting our commenter's top offenders:
· Sheraton Charlotte Airport: musty, very dated rooms, moldy bathroom ceiling, terrible food in the lobby restaurant, very weak wi-fi
· Sheraton Houston Airport: see Charlotte above, but rooms are not so clean, either.
· Aloft Denver International Airport: typical Aloft, just meh, but it is fairly far from the airport. Like a 20 minute (free) shuttle ride far. And the only halfway decent restaurant nearby is Ted's Montana Grill (not so decent).
· Hilton Charles de Gaulle Paris: This place is just one hideous fee after another. Like $27 for wifi. The food at the bar was mediocre and wildly expensive. I was really annoyed at this one.
· Hyatt Regency SFO : Renovate, renovate, renovate and open a real restaurant, not some funky sports bar and grill. This place is stuck in 1994.
Now's the time to vent! Share your worst airport hotel experiences in comments below!
The Nu Hotel, which will check you in for under €200
We’ve talked a lot on both HotelChatter and Jaunted about Milan’s Expo, running May to October this coming year. We’ve talked about the new hotels opening for it. The one thing we hadn’t done yet was speculate on prices. Glad we hadn’t because this news causes a few wrinkles.
If you want to visit Milan during Expo, your average hotel rate will be up by 300 percent.
When is a Holiday Inn not a Holiday Inn? When it’s the Holiday Inn Sarajevo.
Its story makes a sad little Flashback Friday. The Holiday Inn is perhaps one of the most iconic buildings in the Bosnian capital; not just because of its
fugly outlandish yellow design, but also because it gained a certain kind of notoriety during the siege of Sarajevo (which, at 1245 days, was the longest siege of a capital city anywhere in the world).
This is where the journalists stayed during the war, so there were a lot of pictures of the hotel published. Also, despite being smack on Sniper Alley (the main route to the airport, where the surrounding Serbian army liked to focus its attacks), the Holiday Inn survived the war relatively unscathed. It was bombed, of course – the mortar scars are horrific. But compared to the complete destruction of other buildings on that same road, it did pretty well.
HotelChatter 2014 Awards / Hotel Hell / Hotel Emergencies / Hurricane Odile / Cabo Hotels / Cabo San Lucas Hotels / Mexico 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...
There could really only be one choice for worst hotel hell this year: the number Hurricane Odile did on the resorts of Cabo San Lucas.
Odile came and went in September, with social media giving us updates from the frontline. Many resorts closed for weeks, if not months, and some are still closed as we write this. Then there was that legal battle that followed for Capella too.
There are WiFi charges, and then there are WiFi charges. And then, well beyond that, there are WiFi charges – utterly obscene, the like of which we’ve never heard of before. This comes under the latter.
WiFi at the hotel starts at €9 for “low speed”, rockets up to €200 for “medium speed” and then goes utterly insane at €300 for high speed. That’s almost twice the cost of their lowest rooms, which cost from €163.
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.
Throwback Monday to… a time when Aleppo was a popular tourist destination.
The Baron Hotel was one of the finest hotels in Syria when it opened in 1911. Charles de Gaulle stayed here. So did Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey. Agatha Christie wrote Murder on the Orient Express in room 203. “Hotel Baron, the only first-class hotel in Aleppo” says a poster from the 1930s strung up in reception. It’s the oldest hotel in Syria.
Or, rather, it was until last week, when its owner revealed he’s closed it.
“It's been nearly four years since the war began and I see nothing that inspires any optimism in me, quite the contrary,” Armen Mazloumian told AP. “Honestly, the hotel will never go back to how it was.”