Whine Wednesdays: Hotel Telephones


It never ceases to amaze me how badly some hotels pay attention to their telephones and phone systems.

Do they actually ever check that they work, the speed dial buttons are correctly working and connecting callers to the right parties or that the Instant Service is actually a real service and not just the telephone operator?

Like right now, I am at the InterContinental Medellin… that is an InterContinental “Museum” collection hotel left to somewhere in the 1970’s/1980’s with technology to match. When you try to use the “Instant Service” the phone dials using the old rotary phone technology and you wait and wait and you might be actually connected at the end.

If you press zero, the phone uses the regular touchtones and you get connected to the same “Instant Service” instantly.

Ibis Miraflores Lima

Whine Wednesdays Hotel Phones

Wouldn’t you think that pressing zero would get you the hotel operator? At this hotel, however, pressing zero gets you an outside line and you have to press 9 to get the front desk.

I found this out when when someone called me at 6:55AM and I wanted to call the front desk to find out why they woke me up. Well, I couldn’t call the front desk because pressing zero just gets you the outside line.

The front desk later told me that I should have consulted the hotel brochure that is placed under the TV to find out that their front desk can be reached by pressing 9 instead.

They have all the crap attached to the phone trying to sell the overpriced taxi service, but they couldn’t have a simple sticker attached letting their guests know that number 9 is the operator? Makes no sense at all.

InterContinental Los Angeles

Apparently, pressing “Instant Service” at this hotel gets your call connected to hotel security. A friend of mine, who stays at this hotel regularly, told me that he has to get someone to reprogram the phone in the room every time he stays at the hotel.

I am sure sooner or later the problem will be fixed in the whole hotel with his numerous stays!

InterContinental Kuala Lumpur

Their phones work (although the internet doesn’t), but it looks like the hotel picked up the phones from the local flea market and paid buck or two for them. They feel like a child’s toy.


It shouldn’t be too difficult to have someone to go through all the phones once or twice a year to check that all the speed dials are working correctly. I also don’t quite understand this “Instant Service” concept when it is just answered by an operator that tries to transfer you immediately to the other departments and not actually to handle your issue on hand such as room service order.