Hotel Room Gone Bad (Part 2)

Yesterday I gave you my advice on what to do when your hotel room does not live up to expectations. Normally I complain immediately if I’m unhappy. On my recent trip to New York I was stuck with a bad room for 6 nights.

Here’s what happened at New York’s Millennium UN Plaza Hotel:

I booked a “superior room” through a Travelzoo promotion for $199 per night. This did not include the unbelievable daily charge of $12.95 for Internet.

At check-in I had just flown eleven hours through six time zones and was not feeling on top of my game. All I wanted was a bed. It was 9am and I was told the room would not be ready until 3pm.

By the time I got to the room I was completely wasted and had actually fallen asleep sitting in the lobby. It was not until the next day that I realized the room was not what I had been promised.  Even then, I was too tired with jet lag to deal with it.  I knew I’d been taken, but couldn’t deal with repacking and changing rooms.  Damn.

Here’s what I’ve subsequently done about it:

1. Soon after checking out, I received an online questionnaire from the hotel, inquiring about my stay. Had I not received that, I was prepared to contact the management directly.

2. The hotel’s general manager responded as follows:

…I had a chance to review the survey that you recently completed. We are sorry to learn that you encountered some service inconsistencies during this visit. In particular, your remarks concerning your accommodations. We also regret that you did not receive any assistance by Front Service and have addressed the poor performance with the appropriate managers and staff so that measures may be taken to prevent deficiencies such as you experienced. In the meantime, please accept our sincere apologies for having caused you disappointment and inconvenience….

Mark Irgang
General Manager

3. I responded to the General Manager:

…When we checked out, the gentleman at the desk asked how things had gone and I told him about our dissatisfaction with the room and the misrepresentation compared with the photographs of our room type on your website. He said that we were in an old and unrenovated section (however that would not account for the window discrepancy).

Superior room on website photo:

Our “superior” room:

Under the circumstances, I think something more than I’m sorry would be appropriate….

Sometimes you win and sometimes you don’t. It’s important to know when to let go so your vacation is not ruined.

One of the best comments I read recently is saying this to the Front Desk agent at check-in:

“Give me the room you were going to give me after the one I came downstairs and complained about. ”

PS:  If we hear back from the hotel, we’ll let you know.

3 thoughts on “Hotel Room Gone Bad (Part 2)”

  1. We completely agree that the best time to resolve a hotel problem is the day of arrival and not departure.

    In this case however, we had been up for 24 hours, without a bed, and all we could think about was sleep. We could not reasonably expect to check in early, and have no issue with that. While we considered booking the previous night too, the likelihood of our connecting flight being late make that look like just throwing away over $200.

    On two occasions, later the first day and again on our second day, we stopped at the front desk to attempt to talk to them, but on both occasions the line was long and the staffing short. We decided to spend our time enjoying the city.

    How much is your time worth?

    The first post on this subject reflects the way we normally suggest handling a room issue. Today’s post discusses how we dealt with it, when it was not possible to resolve the problem at check-in.

    We have since heard from the hotel management and are discussing the situation with them. We’ll report back here, and we hope that our experiences will be helpful.

    Beat of Hawaii

  2. Your photos made me really follow this post and read carefully what you said. It’s seems to me like false advertising by the hotel. Here is my humble opinion.

    Jeff, I was surprised that you did not immediately go back down to the front desk and required the room your were promised and paid for. OK I do understand that after 11hrs of traveling you did not feel up to the challenge but I bet you would have gotten your room.

    I made it a habit to check everything in my hotel room first – cleanliness, non-smoker, no elavator next door or such – before settling in.

    Secondly, I don’t know what made you expect that your room would be ready at 9am in the morning? Maybe, if you’d booked a dayroom, which I sometimes do when traveling to Europe, just to be able to stretch out and have a shower on a long stopover between switching planes.

    Otherwise, I never ‘assume’ an early check-in. Maybe I’ve learned this from the many years as a host of vacation rentals in Hawaii and new guests suddenly showing up in the morning hours with a bright smile on the face – understandable, because they finally made it to Hawaii! – despite old guests not having checked out yet and cottage needs at least a 2hr-cleaning time before new gusts may checkin early. Well, that’s what policies are for! To keep everybody happy!

  3. I am curious what you were expecting. A rebate on your room rate?

    I think the time to address a service problem is when it arises, not when the bill appears. In a restaurant, if the steak isn’t cooked properly (but you’re hungry), it isn’t reasonable to expect a rebate after you’ve eaten it.

    Just my two cents.

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