Compensation Clinic: Sofitel Melbourne

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LoyaltyLobby reader sent me a message about his unpleasant stay at the Sofitel Melbourne and asking for my advise what he should do.

EDIT: Another LoyaltyLobby reader pointed me the new small print on the Le Club Accorhotels Platinum benefits that does have the Sydney and Melbourne lounges suddenly excluded from the lounge benefit.

compensation-clinic-sofitel-melbourne

Le Club Accorhotels spiced up the benefits of the Platinum status that now includes also a lounge access at all Le Club-participating properties (there are only few exclusions). You can read my piece about the benefit upgrade here.

Message From LoyaltyLobby reader:

I had a very embarrassing and distressing incident at Sofitel Melbourne on the 9th November that Iwant to share with you and seek your advise. I wrote the following email to Le Club Accor and am awaiting their response.

The hotel front office manager has defended that the hotels position and his staff. I have made 2 requests for the senior management to contact me but only the front office manager has done so. What else can I do as it clearly breaches consumer laws and is such an awful experience. Any advise will be deeply appreciated.

Complaint To Le Club Accorhotels

We had a very unpleasant incident with the guest services at Melbourne Sofitel.I am a LeClub Accor Platinum Member and booked the stay on Le Club Accor.Having checked in, we rested and proceeded to the Lounge which (When we booked) clearly stated on LeClub Website that we have access to.

No one was at the front desk and so we proceeded to enter like the guests in front of us. A ofitel staff came and asked us for the room no. We had already taken some food on the plate. In front of ALL the guests next to the food area,the staff came back and told us that we are not entitled to the lounge and that we should leave or pay the $175AUD to access the lounge.

I proceeded to explain that Le Club website says that we are entitled and he disagreed saying that the local Sofitel Melbourne website says no access. We left our food and as embarrassed as we were and with all the stares with the remaining guests in the lounge, we walked out in shame. We met the night duty manager and explained what had happens. She apologized saying that the same thing had happens 2 weeks ago and that the Le Club website and the Sofitel Melbourne website were in conflict. She gave us a $90 credit.

Unfortunately the entire incident,being embarrassed in front of ALL the guests for no fault of ours and being subsequently told by the front office manager, David Talbot,that the staff in the lounge DID know that there was a conflict between the 2 websites, is all too much. It is against the consumer laws in Australia to advertise something but not provide it and the whole incident destroyed by weekend in Melbourne as we clearly had not anticipated this from a 5 star hotel and esp on a platinum membership that i am on.

I am seeking a formal apology of the hotel and steps taken to redeem our lost weekend. Failing which, i would like to take this further to the Department of Fair Trading in Australia and seek redress.

Resolution:

Filling you in re Melbourne Sofitel. The manager of the hotel contacted me offering me a refund for the stay. I thanked him for his gesture and made the point that a member of the senior management only responded when i escalated it to Le Club Accor.

The whole experience was very frustrating and embarrassing and did spoil my mates and my weekend away from Sydney.

EDIT: Addition:

As I pointed out in the second paragraph (after LoyaltyLobby reader Tweeted me), the Sydney and Melbourne lounges ARE now excluded from this Platinum benefit.

compensation-clinic-sofitel-melbourne-exclusion

These two properties were NOT originally listed being not participating to the lounge benefit (there were no exclusions):

le-club-accorhotels-spiced-up-benefits

There are some hotels that don’t participate to Le Club Accorhotels program, but are part of the Accor group:

le-club-accorhotels-non-participating-properties

Conclusion

It was not unexpected that it would take some time for the hotels to catch up with the new benefits offered to Le Club Accorhotels Platinum guests.

It is rather amusing, however, that one of the flagship properties that blames that there is discrepancy on what their hotel offers for Platinum guests and what is stated as benefit on Le Club Accorhotels website.

Sometimes there is no other way to resolve these issues than complain to the corporate. Hotels get fined for complaints and it will also affect their internal quality scores. Also, if property gets constant complaints about the same issues, the corporate can react and send someone to fix them.

EDIT: There are now three types of Sofitel hotels that are part of Accor: some are fully Le Club Accorhotels participating, some now exclude the lounge access benefits and some don’t participate to Le Club Accorhotels at all. How program members are supposed to know this?

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