Hi! Just wanted to share our experiences concerning the JW Houston that we just stayed at the weekend of the fourth. Unfortunately, it was not up to JW standards, in our opinion, and we have been to many JWs all over the world.
I guess the biggest disappointment for us was the truly terrible customer service. We are friendly people, and love to travel, so we often have big "American" grins on our faces while checking in(unless we are in France, where we lived and learned quite quickly that that was not always a good thing!!!). So, usually no matter what category of hotel at which we stay, the smile is reciprocated. Well, not here. In fact, the young woman(I will not mention her name, although I will never forget it), continued to scowl at me and our well behaved children the entire check in. Now, I realize, that perhaps she was having a bad day(we all have had them), but she really wouldn't smile back when I smiled at her...strange for a JW! Usually, once they know your name, the smile is accompanied with a "Mr. So- and SO", too.
Then when I politely asked her if our upgrade had gone through, she curtly told us that the room was not cleaned and if we wanted it, we would have to wait an hour(we checked in after 3:30, so not too early, but earlier than the 4pm check in, so I told her that that was fine. We would wait. No problem...truly! She said okay, and that was it. I then talked to my husband, and we asked if we could use the pool while we were waiting(every other JW would OFFER you to go to the concierge lounge, the pool, the work out room, etc, while we waited, and they would OFFER to hold our bags at the desk...not this one. She said okay, like I was putting her out, and then I had to go back and ask if I could have her hold our 1 bag and 1 carry on (not very much for a family of 5) behind the counter., Again, a reluctant," Yes". I then asked if SHE could call our cell when the room was ready( the emphasis is for you, as this is how good customer service SHOULD be, not ask I kindly asked her...I am a polite person). She said yes, and it shouldn't be too long, as housekeeping was just starting right then. So we gave her our number, under the impression given by her that it wouldn't be much longer. We waited MORE than an hour and a half later. My other half wants to wait, and let them call(like THEY said they would), but I have 3 children that are ready to get cleaned up and eat right now, as it is getting late after a long journey. So, I call the front desk. They say, OF COURSE, it is ready! Were we supposed to read their minds? Or did they want us to all wait in the reception area until it was ready...I doubt it. Other half goes down and comes back 20minutes later to say that the room they promised was NOT available, and if we wanted something similar, we could pay for our room plus half the price they were charging for the other room. We are PLATINUM!!!! Why couldn't they just have been honest about the room in the first place??? And,if they would have been, we would have taken the original room, without the extremely inconvenient wait!!!
Now, after I went down and talked for ANOTHER 15 minutes, they finally put us in another room, that was at least more on par with what they were formerly going to charge us for...why must a platinum member have to BEG for what they said they had reserved for us?? Do they really want to humiliate and inconvenience their elite guests? Because that is what they did.
Then I asked about Concierge Lounge access. They said it was closed, and too bad about breakfast. I once again had to say, but we are Platinum, and a breakfast is supposed to be comped if the CL is closed. They said no. Now, to be clear, readers, this is NOT a resort!!! So, I pressed, and they finally gave me one breakfast free, saying kids 12 and under are free. So I nicely thanked them. I was thankful, especially after the hours we had been waiting by now. But, I kid you not, the next day at breakfast, they charged me for the kids, and said the front desk was wrong..it was 5 and under free. Another hassle to work through.
And then the keys didn't work(and, no, we did not have them by our keys or credit cards). This happened so many times it was ridiculous! And, then the morning the CL was open,we couldn't get in with our keys. They hadn't programmed them for entry. So, after having to go back to the front desk and forth a few more times, we luckily got there at 8:45, because anyone who got there at exactly 9am was out of luck. The attendant began putting things away right under the fingers of patrons...unbelievable!
I will not go into the teeny tiny toilet/bath/shower area(the smallest I have ever been in)...remember, it is a JW!!!! But, I will say that the maid service was excellent, and the gal cleaning up the pool area(a group of 8 had sadly left empty beer cans everywhere) was a gem, and it was a great location(directly across from the Galleria Mall). But, really, a JW? What is the criteria? They could use some lessons from the JW San Antonio on customer service...I used that JW because it would be the closest. Every single other JW from Hong Kong to Cairo to even Las Vegas...the list could go on....has treated us with a million times more respect than the front desk at this JW did. Now that I think about it, we have received better customer service at Residence Inns, and even a Fairfield Inn, where the rooms weren't the greatest, but we were treated like valued guests, and they were happy for our business.
Sorry, but I thought I needed to give people the head's up.