Why? It’s the dreaded This Room Isn’t Right syndrome. It’s hard to explain what makes us women want to change rooms so often. It isn’t any plan to be upgraded, more a matter of principle, that if a room in a good hotel is charging $$$, it should be as advertised.
When I checked into my room in Philadelphia, I was told I had a Junior Suite – a separate living room area, plus a large bedroom. I got to my room to find shreds of cardboard all over the floor, and flecks of black thread too, like what might come from someone’s socks. I called downstairs before unpacking and mentioned this and was told someone would come up promptly to vacuum. I waited and waited and while waiting I noticed that there was a stain on the carpeting, the bedskirt was ripped on one side, the end table had white paint on an edge – overall, the room looked abandoned, almost ready to be overhauled. I had to go out and as I left, I stopped by the front desk to tell them housekeeping could go in and vacuum, and mentioned at that time the room looked old and tired. No comment from the front desk.
I got back about an hour+ later and the room remained unvacuumed. I called downstairs and said I wasn’t happy that no one came up. They apologized profusely, offered me another room and I said yes. A bell man came to get my bag (****, see below) and moved me up quite a few floors to a much nicer room – not much bigger but looked newer and cleaner. The rest of my stay was perfect.
I get home to see an email from the Head of Housekeeping:
I am one of the Housekeeping Manager’s here at [I’m leaving out the name of the hotel] Philadelphia. I am emailing you to follow-up with you in regards to your stay with us. I wanted to extend my sincerest apologies that your original room that you had checked into was not vacuumed as thoroughly as it should have been and I am following up internally with our Ladies. I hope that the remainder of your stay was pleasant, your honesty and feedback is essential in continuing to improve the service we provide to our guests. What could we have changed to make your stay more desirable? Your opinion is valued and I look forward to hearing from you soon.
I wrote back:
Thank you for your nice note. Your staff was kind enough to move me to another room when my two requests to vacuum the carpeting did not bring anyone. Beyond all the debris on the carpet, the room was dingy. Like it needed a complete overhaul. The bed skirt was ripped. The bedside end table closest to the door was scratched with white paint on the edges. There was a stain on the carpet under the window. The thermostat didn’t work very well. So I’m glad I got moved. I was very pleased with my stay. Thanks again for reaching out.
Then a response:
Thank you for your complete honesty. I understand that our product is becoming outdated and I am very happy to tell you that we are undergoing a complete hotel renovation starting as soon as next Monday, November 9th. The rooms will be split up between dates but you will definitely love the new rooms once they are turned over. Please feel free to reach out to me for any future stay and if there is a newly renovated room available at that time I would love to have you in one of those rooms. I am glad overall you enjoyed your stay and I look forward to seeing you again in the future.
Hmmmmm. That’s very interesting. So the hotel knows its rooms are outdated, knows that some (many?) need updating, yet I was assigned a room at full rack rate, a room that was about to be gutted, and they hoped I wouldn’t notice or care? I am also a card-carrying Rewards member in good standing, which alone should have eliminated the first room from where they put me. Isn’t that the whole point of the rewards plan?? To be rewarded, not punished?
I know the object of a hotel is to be fully booked but when the management knows that a room is undervalued because of its outdated appearance, it should be so-priced. Maybe someone would like a room that is dingy and worn if the price was right, maybe half the rack rate? In any event, management knew full well my room was one about to be redone yet the front desk staff was non-responsive when I told them the room was not up to the chain’s standards!
Here are my set of standards:
1. Cleanliness above all. That means, for me, a room doesn’t have to be massive or have a living room, but what it has in it should look brand new. Stains in a rug, or on a chair are a huge turnoff. Same with bedding, even if its the bedskirt.
2. A comfy chair, or two, in the room, with an ottoman. Lots of times after a long day of sightseeing, it’s good to plop down in a chair and take a power nap. Many today only have a chair at a desk, which means a nap has to be in the bed. I don’t like to do that.
3. A flat screen TV that has actual HD feed – not a flat screen that gets analog feed!
4. Plenty of charging outlets, especially at bedside.
5. Bathroom nightlights.
These two rooms,
irregardless of their decor, would be okay for me. I don’t ever ask for a suite, but I do usually ask for a room one grade up from basic. And when I can, I look for a room on a Club Level. One of my favorite hotels is The Langham Pasadena, and their Club Level king rooms are perfection. That should be the gold standard. Not over the top. Just clean. neat. Quiet. What you expect to pay for.
A comfy chair. A bench at the end of the bed. Good quality lamps.
A bedside clock that can be dimmed!!!!
**** The bellman who came up to move me came at the request of the front desk, not by me, and he brought the luggage dolly and took my small suitcase and laptop bag for me. In the room he asked if I wanted my suitcase up on the luggage rack, etc etc, all the things a bellman would do when checking in of you so requested his service. But I did not. It was a courtesy gesture for the inconvenience of being moved.
Question: Would you have tipped him?