After having visited a few hotels in the UAE (Abu Dhabi to be precise) this week I want to remind our readers to always request a status benefit letter from hotels even if they don’t offer one outright.
While it’s very common to get welcome letters outlining the on-property benefits for status members of the respective hotel program, it doesn’t seem to be this way here in the UAE.
On this and previous visits to various hotels in the region I have rarely if ever received welcome letters and often learned towards the end of my stay that I missed out on certain benefits such as pressing service or a happy hour.
Benefits can range depending on the property from going strictly by the book and not offering an inch more than required to giving Platinum/Diamond guests a full range of additional services such as a breakfast buffet option, pressing/laundry services, happy hour at the bar when no lounge is available etc.
This week I stayed at the Le Royal Meridien Abu Dhabi as well as the St.Regis Abu Dhabi at Nation Towers. Both properties didn’t explain the Platinum Benefits properly upon check-in and didn’t ask for the Platinum Amenity either. The latter alone would be worth a cash award at a Marriott hotel by the way.
After not receiving any explanation of the benefits I requested the front desk at each of the two properties to prepare a letter outlining the benefits.
Once the letter arrived it was pretty obvious why they don’t give these out as both properties offer the bare minimum required by SPG for Platinum Members. That alone isn’t horrible as the hotel isn’t obliged at all to offer any more but obviously it’s nothing to be proud of so to outline it again in a letter, demonstrating exactly that.
Surprisingly at least in the case of the St. Regis there would be ample room to write the letter in a way that it would look a bit better. The Front Desk person who prepared the letter completely forgot to outline that the butler service offers complimentary coffee & tea as well as two pieces of pressing per day. Why not use these benefits to your advantage and extra selling point?
Sometimes I have the impression that properties either don’t want guests to take full advantage of benefits that aren’t known to everybody staying there. I can’t see any other reason why they wouldn’t explain a guest that there is free pressing and basic items included? On top of it it’s pretty obvious that any hotel manager knows that it’s nothing to be proud of to offer the bare minimum required by the loyalty program. Especially in a city with plenty of competition.
So there you have it once again, make sure you ask the hotel to give you a letter in order to have it black on white including the operating times of lounges, breakfast and happy hour.