Compensation Clinic: Waldorf Astoria Palm Jumeirah

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This week the Compensation Clinic case comes from a LoyaltyLobby reader’s stay at the Hilton’s flagship property Waldorf Astoria Palm Jumeirah in Dubai.

Compensation Clinic Waldorf Astoria Palm Jumeirah

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You can access Waldorf Astoria Palm Jumeirah’s website here.

Here’s what LoyaltyLobby reader emailed to the General Manager of Waldorf Astoria Plam Jumeirah after their stay back in November:

Also for the kind attention of Mr David Wilson – General Manager

Good afternoon

I hope this email finds you well.

I hereby wish to follow up my complaint as below, now that I have returned home to the UK.

It was nice to meet with both Angelo and Zeina in the lounge the afternoon of our last night but this seemed to be a very forced and awkward meeting, which I did not ask for.

My concerns as below were simply not addressed, especially with regards to the room being small and no mention of the tremendous road noise was acknowledged. My mother had awful trouble sleeping for all 4 nights and the sole per pose of our stay was to receive full rest and relaxation. When Angelo did state that we had in fact ‘been upgraded’ this was really seen as an insult as I am certain that no other Gold member would receive a room of this poor standard. The absurd offer to move rooms for the last night was declined also, in reality who would wish to change rooms the night before one leaves the hotel? The hotel front desk are clearly solely interested in revenue generation and the selling of upgrades rather than looking after loyal HHonors guests. I have never experienced such service, or lack of, in any 5 star hotel worldwide.

The Executive lounge offering was also very poor. Breakfast was limited, and the constant excuse that ‘this should have been a suite’, wore a little thin after a while. I did not have any choices with regards to my gluten intolerance and had to ask all of the time. Surely breakfast should have been offered in the main restaurant so at least a basic omelette or poached eggs could have been offered perhaps. The evening canapés were basic and bland. Again no allergy information was offered on labelling and so this really was a gamble for me. I surely cannot be the first, nor the last guest to have a specific dietary requirement in your hotel? This is again a basic.

I still firmly state that my Gold status was never recognised the hotel and the fact that I was left embarrassed and belittle re internet in room and of course the issue with demanding of payment on night 2 was also left unrecognised.

Whilst I do recognised that you both tried to rectify the situation by the placing of chocolate strawberries plus a bottle of cheap prosecco in the room on our last evening was sadly rather too little too late.

The car transfer to our city centre hotel was also an embarrassment. Whilst the concierge were efficient, the driver was not given any instructions. He did not know where the Pullman hotel was in Deira and had to make numerous calls for directions. Then he kept asking us how we were paying and was demanding telephone numbers, room numbers and about money. I actually felt sorry for the man as he was simply doing his job, but had not been made aware that the hotel was paying for the journey and he was subsequently out of pocket. Yet another example of clear and incompetence by the hotel.

I would simply not return to your hotel, and rest assured we are frequent visitors to the UAE, and in future will stay at the Waldorf Astoria in Ras al Khaimah. Here they valued their most loyal guests and the service is personal, first class, efficient and discreet. Nothing is too much trouble and they actually listen to their guests.

You have an awful lot to learn with regards to providing the supposed 5 star branded service at the Waldorf Astoria on the Palm as the standard received by ourselves was just not acceptable. The four nights we stayed were quite simp

Not sure how much longer the email went because the email that I received was cut off at this point.

Here’s the reply from the GM

Warmest greetings from Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah, I trust that you reached home safely.

It is my understanding that your stay with us including the upgrade extended was not up to your satisfaction, and as such truly apologetic as we are committed to creating wonderful experiences for all our guest and more specifically our HHonors Gold & Diamond members.

I do understand the severity and frustration that comes with the lack of your dietary requirements and rest assured that I will personally follow up for appropriate actions to be taken hence forth. With regards to the construction noise and the truck movements, unfortunately this is not an area within our reach due to the continuous development of the Palm island.

Thank you once again for your candid feedback, and we hope to regain your trust and faith in the near future.

Please do let me know if I can be of any further assistance.

This looks like a copy/paste form letter that they would send anyone giving them less than stellar feedback.

The reader then escalated to Guest Assistance that promised to get back to her. This is one of the replies after not hearing back at all:

Thank you for contacting Hilton Guest Assistance. My name is Tijuana. It will be my pleasure to assist with all of your concerns pertaining to your stay at the Waldorf Astoria in Dubai Palm Jumeirah, United Arab Emirates.

It is my understanding that they offered complimentary Lounge Access and two level upgrade (Superior room to Premier room). They have addressed all of your concerns no further compensation will be given.

And here’s the reader’s response:

However this IS NOT in any way satisfactory.

None of my concerns have been addressed nor even replied upon in any detail whatsoever.

Regarding the so called ‘upgrade’ this was to a room that was cramped and faced a major road with severe heavy truck noise 24/7. The ‘complimentary’ lounge access is laughable also considering this is a basic in ALL other Hilton group properties WORLDWIDE as per HHonors Gold and Diamond benefits.  My dietary requirements were dismissed from the outset regardless of my pre origination some months prior -waiting 24 hours for alternatives is disgraceful for an apparent 5 star property. I was not able to access internet as the reception had not even logged my Gold membership regardless of booking direct. The sheer fact that money was demanded from me late on our 3rd night has been completely ignored also.

None of the above has been taken seriously in any way  and the Management of this hotel are arrogant in their replies also. For over £200 spent per night I expect much more and have stayed in far superior properties.

May I suggest you re read ALL of my previous detailed email and only then contact me with a far more said factory response than the below.

And the reader emailed me at this point:

Happy New Year to you!

I am sorry to trouble you but I am seeking advice re a very poor stay with Waldorf Astoria in Dubai in November.

Cut a long story short, my the Gold (now Diamond) status was not recognised, awful room facing main road, gluten free requirements took 24  hours to be delivered in only a 4 night stay despite pre arranging months prior. When reporting this in house the management team offered a room change on last night (!) and a bottle of prosecco, plus a free car to another Dubai hotel but this was not what I expected as a Gold member with excess of 100000 HHonors points earned.

The emails below have been bounced back and forth and Diamond member services do not want to know and I’ve not been able to communicate with the same person twice. Hugely frustrating!

I’m merely after a decent resolution to this as the hotel directly do not wish to have anything further to do with my issues raised.

Any advice and / or escalation to someone higher in Diamond member services would be most helpful.

Many thanks and best regards

My advise was to keep escalating the issue with the Guest Assistance especially now that the reader was Diamond member.

And here’s the email from the reader with compensation that the Guest Assistance offered:

Thankfully I’ve finally received a satisfactory response… a 2 night ‘Be My Guest’ certificate is being raised and issued from the US for a complimentary 2 night stay.

Persistence paid off…! I was losing hope as a Diamond HH. Sadly the Waldorf Palm Dubai do not wish to take any kind of responsibility so won’t be staying nor recommending again.

I have written about these Be My Guest certificates earlier (access here). Basically you just book a paid stay (hopefully when the rates are throughout the roof) and hand in the certificate at the checking in. They charge the day(s) to the Hilton Guest Assistance that then turns the bill to the offending property. I have always received points (and bonus ones too!) based on the rate that I had booked even when it was charged to Guest Assistance department.

Conclusion

Before anyone criticizes the reader for pushing to get compensation, I had similar bad experience with this property last year. Number of things just weren’t right from knocking at the door when the DND sign was on to receiving pre-arrival email two days after my stay.

I received a refund of the points portion of the Cash + Points after the property only promised to upgrade me on a future stay. The case was escalated to Guest Assistance too.

Guest Assistance doesn’t offer these Be My Guest certificates unless the property fails to reply to their messages and they deem that the issues warrant one or two on this case.

I have stayed at more than one Waldorf Astoria hotels that really shouldn’t be branded as such. I have a feeling that Hilton doles out this brand way too easily to properties that just doesn’t have the service to back up the brand promise. That is especially the case with this Palm Jumeirah property.

The Guest Assistance also partly failed on this case. The reader forwarded me the entire chain of messages where they had failed to reply or act even when promised to get back within certain time frame.

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