This week’s Compensation Clinic case come from a LoyaltyLobby reader’s unsatisfactory stay at the Marriott affiliated Renaissance New York 57 hotel.
You can access Renaissance New York 57’s website here.
Here’s the email that the reader sent me:
My wife and I have been Marriott costumers for the past 2 years and over this period of time we developed a good relation with their brands. She is a clinical psychologist and I am a MD from Brazil. We tend to travel only on our vacations and eventual weekend-escapades on our own budgets. This year as a part of the Taste of Gold we got a Gold Status and we have been enjoying it.
This last May we were on vacation in NYC, and went to the Renaissance NY 57. We planned to stay there and enjoy the “lounge access/breakfast for members and one guest”, the eventual upgrade, special treatment we had experienced at our 3 previous stays enjoying the Taste of Gold.
The check in was our first disappointment. As you frequently put it we should have noticed that there was something wrong. We got there at 2pm and we where greeted by an ambassador that seemed to be a robot, did not state his name nor had the usual friendliness that we have long been experiencing at Marriott Hotels. He just handed us our room keys and sent us to our room. Only when I asked him about the Gold member perks, the lounge access and so on, he started to murmur that the hotel does not have a proper lounge, that there is a room that works as a lounge Monday-Friday that would be closed on Memorial Day, and that there is no activity in the lounge after breakfast. No afternoon snacks or anything like that. We did get for “compensation” 4 tickets for a free drink or a free appetizer at onsite restaurants (these restaurants were always overcrowded when we tried to have something and tipping was not included nor any other expenses).
Upgrade was not on the table (ok we would be staying for 8 nights on a Long Term Stay rate).
As we got to our room we found an empty bottle of water on our room behind the door, the first sign that the cleaning staff was not that thorough. We did not get our extra feather pillows or extra towels (as requested on our reservation), had to ask the maid. By the way every other day we did not get shampoo, conditioner, soap and other amenities.
I do not know what should constitute a lounge, but I guess that one significant fact is that there should be some kind of control to access such lounge. The said lounge has 3 entrances, only two of them had entrance controls. One on the side had none. During the day one can only find bottles of water. The onsite restaurant, Opia Restaurant, closed early. Breakfast was something to forget. Everyday we found scrambled eggs, no bacon, no sausages, no pancakes, no waffles, the only breads were croissants (poorly executed), bagels, some savorless muffins, the worst chocolate croissants I ever had on a Marriott hotel, cereals, yogurt, coffee and OJ. Most days the jelly served was Smucker ‘s, a lesser quality brand, not like the Dickinson jelly served on the last day. Only in the last day we got Philadelphia Cream Cheese, every other day we got a generic cream cheese served on a platter that freezed it! Very poor!!! Not what I would expect from a Marriott facility, specially a Renaissance hotel.
The worst part about it was hearing from other guests that are regulars there that the lounge used to be good, that there used to be more than one employee designed to the lounge, and that things are not what it used to be! She was relapse and did not replace food except upon specific requests of guests.
Don’t get me started at employees! Every work day you could find a new employee being trained, and not there the next days. Quarrels between employees happened in front of the guests (we witnessed 3 or more). As well as loud conversations between maids during work hours even thought we had a do not disturb sign hung at our door starting at 9AM.
On the seventh night we decided to checkout and go to another hotel! There were no questions asked, no proper goodbye. No one asked us during the whole stay if there was any kind of problem.
We know that we should have complained before, even checked out at the first sign of trouble, but we are from a different culture, where we tend to not complain, and as we were on our vacations we did not want to loose our temper and our precious time.
It was clear to us that there was no management at that facility. This became even more clear as we filled a complaint through Marriott Costumer Care (MCC) on June 2nd. Even though MCC was fast we had to send them 2 e-mails to get a first response. The manager frequently did not respond our e-mails and after a call (where she wined about any kind of compensation) she agreed to give us 40,000 points on July 14th. Only on July 26th after a couple of very angry e-mails we got 60,000 compensation points credited to our account.
Many of the North American lounges especially at Marriott affiliated hotels have gone slowly downhill over the past 10 years to the point why even bother?
The good thing about the Marriott is that the properties are usually very receptive to compensation points after dissatisfactory stay.
I have learned long time ago that if things don’t get rolling very well it is just easier to write off the stay and move to another hotel where you can fresh start. This actually happened to me yesterday at one Sheraton hotel (been to few recently due to the SPG promo).
I believe that 60,000 points as a compensation is a very good resolution. Marriott properties pay $60 per 10K points issued as a compensation.