As a general rule, it’s a good idea to err on the side of keeping your complaining, carping, bitching and bellyaching to yourself, but I’m going to suspend that rule for today. The problem described below isn’t of great importance, but it did touch a nerve—mainly because I didn’t get what I paid for, and for no good reason other than thick-headed hotel employees. So earlier today I wrote this letter to one Ric Leutwyler, senior vice president of brand quality and member service at the hotel chain Best Western.
“Dear Mr. Leutwyler,
“My family and I stayed at the Best Western All Suites Hotel near USF behind Busch Gardens from March 27 to April 2, 2005, in Room 1300. On the whole, the stay was pleasant, but unfortunately toward the end there was a serious lapse in service, and no acknowledgement of it by hotel staff.
“On April 1, we stayed in until just after noon, affixing the No Maid Service sign to the door. The sign specifically said that if a guest needed maid service for the room, the front desk needed to be informed by 3 pm. As we were leaving at about 12:30 pm, I called the front desk and asked for maid service.
“When we returned to the room briefly at about 4 pm, we noticed that nothing had been done, so I went to the front desk in person and asked for the room to be cleaned. When we returned for the day at about 10:30 pm, nothing had been done. There was a considerable amount of garbage in the room, no clean towels, and little toilet paper.
“I returned to the front desk to see what could be done. The woman at the desk was polite enough, but she couldn’t say why the room had never been cleaned, and said that the cleaning staff was gone. 'At least can someone remove the trash?' I asked. I thought that was only reasonable, considering that I pay for that service when renting a room. No, she said, the cleaning staff is gone. She didn’t use these words, but she meant: It’s not my job, go away.
“I don’t remember her name, or know whether she was the shift manager or not, but I know what a good manager would have done. A good manager would have taken two minutes and removed the garbage personally. That simple act would have made amends for the hotel’s error, and prevented this letter.
“As we were leaving the next day, there was no inquiry about how we liked our stay, and no acknowledgement of any problem. I paid fully for a day in which I received aggravating, substandard service, and will think twice before staying at a Best Western again. I’ve stayed at hotels all over the world, and this has never happened anywhere else.
“Since you are SVP of Brand Quality, I thought I would share my experience with you.”
Like I said, a minor complaint, but I think Best Western ought to dole out a tongue-lashing to someone over this. Still, I was honest when I said that property was, on the whole, pleasant. All the rooms (all suites) faced a courtyard shaded by palms and other trees, with a kidney-shaped pool and a hot tub in the mix. It wouldn’t have been a vacation for Lilly without that pool.
Also, breakfast was no extra charge each morning. I’m not taking my kids anywhere that doesn’t do this. Mostly, it was average breakfast food, but the grits were unexpectedly tasty, and the orange juice was a consistent delight. It was Florida, and the juice should have been delightful, but you can’t count on these things.
The property is near Busch Gardens, located near a good many other hotels and motels, so even in spring break the prices were competitive—less than $100 a night. Considering the location and amenities, that was a good deal. We didn’t actually go to Busch Gardens, though the roller coasters were visible from the Best Western parking lot. I had no special interest in it, Yuriko didn’t care about it, and most importantly, it’s still outside of Lilly’s zone of awareness. For her, the theme park world is bipolar: Six Flags and DISNEY! More about that tomorrow.
Labels: Florida, hotels and motels