Compensation Clinic: Marriott Xiangshui Bay, Sanya New Years Stay


Our Compensation Clinic has taken a rather long break mostly due to lack of our readers traveling but we finally have a new case from the Marriott Xiangshui Bay in Sanya, China.

Remember that you can always email us, send a message via Facebook or use Twitter and include photos too. We’ll try to cover a Compensation Clinic case here regularly.

Hotel stays during the holidays should usually be a special occasion but it’s also a period in high demand and so service / quality shortfalls are often the norm, especially in hotels that aren’t very well run.

I got a message from a long time reader in China who is a long time Marriott Bonvoy Platinum. She stayed in Sanya over the Christmas and New Years holidays at three different hotels and the Marriott Xiangshui Bay fell way short of expectations.

The issues were:

  • Room extremely dirty
  • Bathrobes contaminated with dirt (reader sent a picture)
  • No Upgrade available
  • Front Desk offered 30 CNY ($4) worth of compensation as discount off the buffet

Here is the picture of the bathrobes:

The thing with upgrades during the holidays in Sanya is that the island is extremely overrun, especially now that Chinese aren’t allowed to leave the country for leisure holidays or respectively face a long quarantine when coming back.

Sanya isn’t my cup of tea based on the clientele even under the best of circumstances and holiday periods in China are probably the worst time to travel to leisure destinations.

The problem our reader has: Despite having lived in Europe for a decade she still carries a Chinese passport and ID card and unfortunately if you complain as a local Chinese in any customer service matters in China you’re being pretty much ignored. Proper customer service and service recovery is almost non existent in any field, not just hospitality.

In this case being offered a 30 RMB discount off the buffet is nothing sort of a bad joke and an insult really. That’s $4 so how is that a suitable service recovery?

I decided to help the reader out and sent an email to the hotel management, forwarding the comments and information of the guest.

The Assistant Director of Rooms got back to me quickly and promised to follow up with the guest.

Dear Sebastian,

Thank you for the information.  I will contact the guest directly and provide proper service recovery.

Happy holidays!

Best regards, Alex

I checked the background of Mr. Alex via google and he is a real industry professional who according to his profile has worked internationally at some big name hotels.

After this I told the reader that someone will contact her to make things right regarding the situation with the room.

Later I was told the hotel provided two New Years Eve dinner buffets worth 398 RMB each and a better room that was perfectly clean. Probably a small upgrade but the hotel was really full and didn’t sell any more rooms.


The reader was lucky here that someone worked in this hotel that had a decent understanding of hospitality and customer service and in the end things were corrected for the remaining two nights.

The compensation of two dinners was adequate given the cost of the stay overall and the issues experienced, especially the ridiculous compensation offer for a $4 buffet coupon.