Compensation Clinic: Sheraton Kobe Bay Hotel & Towers – Half Nights Rate Waived Plus Taxi Fare

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This weeks Compensation Clinic comes with compliments of the Sheraton Kobe Bay Hotel & Towers in Japan where my stay was starting and ending on a rather bitter note.

Check-in process, Room allocation, Breakfast and then the Check-Out were all completely unacceptable for a Sheraton Hotel and the really isolated location didn’t help to make it better either.

Sometimes a stay already starts bitter when you’re being told point blank “Check-Out time is 12:00pm” despite being a Platinum member. This is exactly what happened at the Sheraton Kobe, in the Club Lounge no less.

At this point a room upgrade wasn’t even discussed yet and this property is one of the few that doesn’t update the Room Category and Room # to be visible online or in the SPG App. The App is a useful feature nowadays to see in advance when the hotel upgrades you (or not).

Needless to say that greeting didn’t go over well and I simply stated that the Sheraton Kobe is neither a resort or conference center and that the standad platinum benefit at 4pm checkout applies without limitations.

The club attendant then said if I insist on a late checkout there would be no upgrade beyond the standard room booked and even those they only had with two twin beds. At this time check-in was more or less on red alert when I aborted it and had her call the Front Office Manager. After then it was suddenly not an issue anymore to both upgrade the room and to apply a late check-out (which I didn’t need as I checked out at 12:30pm but that’s not the point).

The benefit letter I got was complete nonsense. I didn’t any of the listed in room amenities.

The Club Lounge also has very strange hours of 17:00-19:00h for the evening cocktail. At the time of check-in (19:10) there were only peanuts, crackers and some wine on the table.

At breakfast time the lounge was packed so I ventured downstairs to the restaurant where a super long lineup formed it’s was through the lower lobby. After a 20 minute wait I was seated at a table – without cutlery. Coffee and tea have to be taken by the guest from a machine and half the dishes were gone due to the masses of people attacking the buffet. I ended up having some orange juice, a miso soup and some salad which was pretty much all I could gather until the buffet closed on time at 10:30am. No idea what they did with the people behind me in the line.

Check-Out at the Club Lounge was impossible. There were three parties and it took an eternity for the agent to check even one couple out. Not sure if it’s necessary to do everything in such detail and to engage in endless small talk if it’s obvious there are three more parties waiting for the one attendant.

At the Front Desk itself there is a shiny SPG Gold & Platinum Members sign but the counter isn’t manned. I requested the Front Office Manager again (turned out the gentleman from the previous evening was the Duty Manager). I laid out the issues in detail and requested something to be done about it but didn’t request specific compensation (I tend to do that only if there is no movement from the management of the hotel what offer).

The FOM discounted the daliy rate by 50% which represents a value of 7,603 JPY.

The hotel also paid for the taxi the my next hotel (Crowne Plaza Kobe) which showed another 4,500 JPY on the clock.

There are only a few international chain hotels in Kobe and I found the Crowne Plaza a bit better and more centrally located (right next to the Shin-Kobe Shinkansen station). In hindsight I’d probably rather book a basic Japanese hotel instead of the Sheraton if I had a choice.


This was a very generous compensation from the manager at Sheraton Kobe and the stay also posted to my SPG account with the full rate so no points were lost in the process. The value of the compensation combined equaled almost a free stay.

I found this to be much more effective than a SPG points credit and also much cleaner in terms of the account. Sometimes I favor in house compensation for the ease of getting it done over points credits.

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  • Hyatt Lounger

    I saw a guy at the Hyatt regency Tokyo lounge this month complaining about his various stays to a rather disinterested colleague. Let’s say this overweight and generally frumpy looking guy talked suspiciously like the writer above. Not to mention he looks like a complete PITA DYKWIA. Should have taken a picture.

    Sebastian, if you, next time don’t be complaining so loud and disturb fellow lounge guests.

    • Joseph Merrick

      Should have taken a photo so we can all say hello to him when we meet him!

    • Andy

      Was he gay and had a German accent? Possibly with some Asian rentboy tagging along…

  • karl

    Struggling to see why compensation was sought, and subsequently given. Very odd.

  • Joseph Merrick

    “Sometimes I favor in house compensation for the ease of getting it done over points credits.”

    This sentence tells a lot about the authors general idea. It seems to be not about having a pleasant stay, but all about squeezing something out of the hotel. It is a shame. People like that make it harder for everyone of us if REAL issues arise, because hotel employees are getting more and more indifferent thanks to “professional complainers”. I can only imagine the frustration everyone must feel to have a guest like that.

    • Nitram

      All these hotels need proper crm to avoid hosting guests that are just looking to hose them down… The complaints by this author lack any proper grounds and as a previous poster has written, this seriously increases the indifference of the staff involved – you are doing the opposite of your blogs tagline.

  • colin

    Rather generous, more than was called for, especially a cab to boot. I am sure undue whiners are noted centrally with all hotels feeding back and eventually over the top complainers could be told they are no longer welcome within that hotel chain
    If a legitimate grouch mentioned gracefully with no demands then hotel probably doesn’t feed back?

    However I also wonder if SP has become known and identified as a “blogger” within his hotel chains, so he gets away with more complaints and greater rewards for complaints . I am sure John mentioned a couple of years ago that .one Amsterdam hotel knew him from his blog.

    That said….
    I would be very frustrated over such b/f experience, especially if paid and not gratis due to status. (1700-1900 evening food timing is not unusual, and not worthy of compo if checkin arrival is post 6.30pm)

    My last stay such where combination of massive b/f queues, self serve but zero cutlery/plates/bread/rolls/cold-meats/hot-food/juices replenished for incoming guests at 08.45am was Renaissance Amsterdam 30months ago when I paid for b/f as no MR status. I just politely asked for b/f cost back at checkout and received w/o reception needing to ask his manger.

    I’d guess if a status guest with foc b/f I might just ask for b/f cost discount off bill if other issues existed in my stay. I have never (to my memory) ever had part of a room cost comped

  • Sean Wayman

    While I agree that some of these complaints are hard to understand, the personal attacks by some are dreadful.

    • Nitram

      Have to agree – some of the insults are not shining the best light on the commenters even if based on facts.

      I can’t think but wonder if John actually appreciates Sebastian writing like that as the amount of comments are seen positive by search engines.

      As these posts seriously shine bad judgement on the direction of the blog particularly considering the tagline, John should finally rethink if these personal posts by John are really adding value as I doubt Sebastian will quit complaining (as seems John, though he doesn’t write as frequently about it).

      • Joseph Merrick

        I think you might be right thinking that John appreciates the amount of feedback Sebastian receives, even if it is generally negative.

        It is however very unfortunate that search engine ranking seems to be more important than quality.

  • Gary

    John, I think it’s getting quite obvious that little Sebastian is not welcome on airplanes, in hotels or this blog. Please find someone new.

  • Stvr

    SPG’s angriest customer strikes again.

  • Jackie Huen

    In Japan, I tend to run into problems every time I stay in international hotel brands, whether it’s internet that can’t reach websites outside of Japan, or a broken lamp button which can’t switch the lamp off, or missing welcome drink coupons…etc. Japan business hotel in contrast, seems to have checked and prepared everything in order before guests’ arrival and always problem-free.

  • Denis D

    Sebastian is always on the hunt for compensation and trying to squeeze points from every single issues. I believe it’s clear for everyone who’s been with the blog for at least a month or two. Sometimes I have feelings of him making up issues to get comped.

    – this is by no means justification for ugly and very personal attacks, that go as low as body shaming. I mean those who attack are so pissed off with Sebastian behaviour, yet they find a way to go even lower.
    – this doesn’t cancel the fact that some issues mentioned by Sebastian in his article are actually serious. I would also be frustrated being greeting in such way by a club lounge attendant.

    I generally find check-in/check-out process at a club lounge to be longer and more troubled (staffs are always not as well trained as at a frond desk, often calling to get authorisation and so on) in Asia. That’s why I always decline to check in at a lounge and have everything done at a front desk.