I am staying at the Charleston (SC) Marriott as I write this. Painted shocking yellow, the hotel is lobby renovated and is fairly nice, but...
At check in I was told that the Concierge floor was full. I pointed out that my reservation on marriott.com showed that my room was top floor, concierge-level with a balcony.
The front desk person did not seem interested in those little details or say sorry, but merely that the room on the 7th floor was all they had! I checked in and looked again at the reservation just now online--it had been changed to a regular room between 9 am and 3 pm!
This is a kind of bait and switch that I am not used to. I would assume that since as of this morning the room was guaranteed to be as advertised, that by three pm it would still be as advertised.
Update: the same associate at the front desk now tells me that they are doing a top to bottom redo of the carpeting and that about 50% of the rooms are not yet ready for occupancy. Item: tell me that in advance! Item 2: do not allow anyone to have a false hope to be posted on marriott.com for a concierge-level room (this was a PP upgrade, not one that is paid for BTW).
So far I have gotten comped internet and other goodies for the inconvenience. The Renaissance was 100 dollars more than this place with parking and tax, so hence the choice. The Renaissance is in a much better location for sure.
Full disclosure is better than anything else, in my book. Thanks for the comments folks. PDF will be the rule, though in this case if the room is not there for occupancy....
Has this happened to anyone else?
-- Revised by SteppingStones at 02/22/2010 5:35 PM PST
This happened to me once and that is the reason why I print pdf's of all my reservations... The last time the hotel tried this I showed them the printout and Then I said they had two options... Give me the room as per the reservation or give another room in the hotel for free... Guess what suddenly came open... Be nice about things like this but be firm and get what is rightfully yours...
SS -- Same thing happened to me a couple of years ago at a RI, where I had reserved a 1BR at the government rate. Upon check-in I was given a studio and told that's what I had reserved. Luckily, I had saved my email confirmation on my BB, showed it to the desk clerk, and got the 1BR. What a hassle! BTW -- if you have time, check out the Renaissance downtown while you're in Charleston. And enjoy the shrimp and grits (my personal favorite). Happy and safe travels.
"Has this happened to anyone else?"
Once in 2008 and twice last year. In 2008, the daughter of a close friend got married and the concierge level suite at a Ren was booked months in advance anticipating that we would host a small gathering for the immediate family of the bride. Due to a flight delay we checked in 2 hours later than scheduled and another party checked into our suite. The hotel checked us into another suite below concierge, but the room had not been cleaned properly. The prior guests left food in the refrigerator which started to you know what. It wasn't until 28 hours later that housekeeping came. Thanks to Customer.Care@Marriott.com we received a full refund.
In 2009 both incidents took place in full service Marriotts. One of the hotels I crossed off the list. Again, we were delayed and checked in hours later. The suite we had reserved months in advance for a special long weekend was given to someone else. Although the hotel provided some compensation, the FD was so rude and arrogant and did not want to acknowledge the inconvenience caused by their oversight.
In the third hotel, reservations were made months in advance and double-checked the week prior to arrival and the day of arrival. In this instance, the FD manager acknowledged the room assignment error, apologized profusely and invited us to be the hotel's guest for dinner and breakfast. Here, the FD manager successfully turned a negative into a positive.
Hopefully the management at the Charleston Marriott will do the same.
I know this is chiming in a bit late, but I've had this happen at two different Marriotts.... When I book overseas, I always reserve a Concierge level room, even at the higher rate, just to get access to the lounge. I know that Platinums are _supposed_ to get access to the lounge automatically, but that doesn't always happen...
At the Marriott in Heidelberg, Germany, I checked in one evening to be offered a room on the first floor (2nd floor for those of us outside the Continent ;) ). I politely stated that I had a reservation for the Concierge Floor, and the front desk clerk said that "oh, that's ok, I'll give you lounge access." I showed her my confirmation that said "Concierge Level, River View room", and she grudgingly gave me a room. I went upstairs to find a Concierge Level, City View room with two single beds in it (definitely not the King that I'd reserved). I walked right back downstairs, dealt with the same clerk until I asked for a Manager. Then, mysteriously, a room key appeared for the room that I'd reserved!
The second time was at a Courtyard in Regensburg, Germany. My coworker and I each had a reservation for a non-smoking, queen-bed (no kings except in the single suite at this hotel). We arrived, and the front desk clerks (both of them) were not able to find "any indication" of our reservation. I gave them my printed confirmation, and they still "could not find" our reservations. We pulled out our Marriott platinum cards and offered to call customer care ourselves, and they 'found' the reservations. We each went upstairs to find, once again, a room with two single beds--and mine was a smoking room. Traipsing back downstairs, we find the same front desk clerks talking about the local baseball tournament that had been moved to Regensburg and that was currently going on--and that they were making a killing on people that didn't have reservations! (Aha!) I spoke to the front desk clerk, saying that the room was unacceptable as it was two singles and a smoking room. They proceeded to say that the two rooms that we were given were the last two available in the entire hotel. We asked to speak to the manager, and the front desk manager stated that "they don't reserve bed types, because they don't have that many rooms with kings or queens." I showed him the confirmation from the Marriott website showing clearly queen-bed, non-smoking, and he just said that he would be willing to offer us both breakfast for the duration of our stay. (Breakfast was already included in our rate!) We both indicated that we were going to invoke the Elite Benefits Guarantee, and he asked what that was! When we had them bring it up on the computer at the front desk, and he realized that he was going to have to pay us nearly 70 Euros each on a 103 Euro rate (we were only staying one night), he amazingly found us appropriate rooms.
(On this later one, I contacted Marriott customer care, and received an apology letter from them... Incidentally, Marriott customer care does respond to twitter as well--I was in contact with them via twitter during the entire exchange with the front desk!)
I'm finding that all chains are reducing their customer service, even for their higher-level members... and this is a very bad thing.
This same thing happened to me at the Surf Club in Aruba last December. My reservation clearly had written on it "ocean view" (not ocean front) up until 3 days before check in, then it stated "garden view". When I checked in I got the Garden View, on the second floor.
Talking to the front desk about this netted no results even though I had in hand a copy of the reservations that clearly showed "ocean view".
We still had a great time, but I was put off by this.
Well I guess I'm the one who normally has to raise concerns abouts Marriott hotels and services, but on this occasion I can only add praise for the Charleston Marriott. It was a while ago that I stayed there - 3 nights from 20/08/08 - but I left with the feeling that it was at that time a truly great hotel. I had a great welcome, an upgrade to the top floor, and the meals and restaurants were excellent. Unfortunately the hotel is a long way from the UK, but it is defineatly on my 'Must Return' programme. It is also a good stop-off for a few days when visiting MVCI properties at Hilton Head.