For two years, hotels have complained about the lack of staff and suppliers, giving reasons for high prices and limited services. But that unemployment has somehow been factored into the equation, as the hotel industry tries to maximize profits – focusing on short-term gains while taking long-term risks to their business. And since the guest experience isn’t their primary focus, it’s about more than just cost.
In late June I stayed at the Hyatt’s The Shay in Culver City, about 20 minutes from LAX. I really liked the vibe of the hotel. I applied for a suite upgrade, asking about buying the ~$75 difference between their regular suite and premium suite. My Hyatt concierge returned to me, “The hotel has upgraded you to a Premium Suite with a complementary Balcony.”
The Shay Lobby
The Shay Bar
The hotel honors breakfast at the rooftop restaurant, and has a code for entree, water and coffee for four people – so two or three people can easily ‘order’.
There were only two arguments and stay.
- There is no hot water in the shower.
- Unanswered service requests.
Shay, Bedroom and Bath
The Shay, Balcony
The hotel offers requests via voicemail. I tried it twice. No one ever received a reply. It wasn’t just that they were slow. There was no response the next day, or at all.
As for the shower, the water didn’t get hot at all, but it got a little cold. I mentioned this, and the subject matter, in the email survey I received. I received a reply, hoping to return to the village.
Sorry for any inconvenience caused. Our team strives to provide prompt and efficient service to all of our guests, and it is disappointing to hear that we failed to meet your expectations in this regard. We are currently reviewing our communication methods to ensure that all inquiries and messages are answered in a timely manner.
Regarding the hot water issue, we apologize for the inconvenience caused. Access to hot water is a very important thing, and we understand how frustrating it must be to face this problem. Our maintenance team has been notified, and is working diligently to identify and correct the cause to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.
They consider hot water to be ‘very important’ so I asked, since they failed to provide hot water, why wouldn’t they let me pay in any way for my stay? They didn’t give me what I was paying for! There are no answers.
At the end of the month I was in the hospital Hyatt Centric Atlanta Midtown. They were generous, upgrading me to a junior suite ahead of time (without a suite upgrade certificate). Breakfast is a bit generous, although it’s consistent – you get their buffet with a note on the front that covers “15% tip” and anything above that. 15% seems reasonable for a buffet!
Hyatt Centric Atlanta Lobby
When I came in, I was asked if I wanted to clean the house, and I said yes. I specifically requested that they take care of me at home on my second day. They never came. So the next day I asked again, and at the desk I was told “I’ll see if their schedule allows.” This should not be an option for the hotel to provide. The desk assistant was great, and really followed up to make sure it was done.
Hyatt Centric Atlanta, Bedroom
I recently quit Westin Arlington and perhaps no place represents the slowest depreciation of the trade.
- They had a club lounge when they first opened
- After closing the lounge, they offered Platinums a breakfast of choice from the restaurant, as well as dinner and entertainment in the bar.
- They only serve breakfast at the buffet
- And then they ended the evening service
- Then they banned breakfast at the restaurant, no longer offering a buffet.
The lobby still has a very pleasant (albeit good) smell of white tea. It saw a minor renovation maybe six years ago. Rooms, not so much. Even the TV in my bedroom didn’t work. The clocks were changed in March. Three months later, the one in my room was still an hour behind. Many places in the room were not working. Too much toilet in the shower is not disturbing.
These were my last three hotel stays, over a two-week period, since returning to the States. And everyone was disappointed in their own way. I loved everything about The Shay except the lack of hot water, and it’s a must for me to risk it again. I wouldn’t go back to the Hyatt Centric in Atlanta if I had to. And the Westin Arlington? It’s too close to my office in DC to write everything, and more convenient than the Hyatt Place. Sad to think of how chintzy he has become.
None of these are Four Seasons, Mandarin Oriental, or Peninsula. But none of this is accommodation, either. And in every case the hotels fail to act, or find ways to offer the guest less than they did before, and there is nothing more than an apology on their lips.
There is nothing better than meditation that makes me sad. I like people who take their jobs to the extreme, care about quality, and go above and beyond what is expected of them. And I see hotel after hotel that doesn’t do this anymore, leaving out the gym members, somehow in an effort to squeeze the top bars – while the chains try to move the needle in the direction of greater satisfaction. the owner needs quick profit based on guest satisfaction.