Well, this is a new one on me. Checked into the Marriott LGB yesterday and was informed that the Lounge would be closed until January 3rd (although I could access it—if they remember to unlock the door—for lukewarm water & soda and use the Starbucks machine if I could find it in the dark). Now granted, they gave me breakfast coupons, but what about the evening apps & desserts? The honor bar? Newspapers? There hasn't been a "holiday" period I haven't traveled, and other than the property being a little on the quiet side, I've never had a Lounge flat closed on me.
OK, it's not the end of the world, or even a significant event on an average travel week, but still, it is mildly annoying.
Anyone else experience similar Hotel Holiday Hell? What kind of little reminders do you get in your travels that you have no life (when even the hotel staff does).
The last three years, Marriott in St Louis. Renassaince in Providence RI, and this year, the Marriott in conshohocken PA, have all been closed over the holiday (locations I had been staying at regularly on consulting engagements). Not a big issue for me as I get off the road between Xmas and new years. Honestly, I am more annoyed at lounges that are closed on weekends.
I'm sure the economy is driving a lot of that; I know I've stayed in Marriotts over the holiday season and been the only one in there, but the lounge was still open. Not cost-effective, but the service was still there.
As far as the Renaissance, I didn't know it had a lounge, most I've stayed in didn't (but gave breakfast coupons instead—LOVE the buffet at the Ren NY Times Square!).
I don't know of any US domestic lounges that are open on weekends (at least not with service—just open to grab water or soda); I've not encountered one yet. I know the international properties are in many (if not all) cases. I'm certainly looking forward to spending almost nothing on food & drink at the Marriott Reforma (Mexico City) over a weekend in February.
I had the experience at the Renaissance Polat Istanbul (an amazing hotel) during the week holiday of EID a year ago. However, they made it up to me in every possible way. They'd boxed off an area of the lobby for elite members, including drinks and hors d'oeuvres free, and also for breakfast. They apologized profusely, which I didn't feel was necessary since they more than made up for any possible inconvenience with great service and all the amenities I expected. And I was truly treated as a special guest.
Again, I find this the case to be more likely outside the US than inside. Most Courtyards, which will not give elites a free breakfast in the US, will do so abroad. Maybe we can learn something about hospitality?
PS - I'd like to add that if I did NOT get those amenities (Concierge Lounge or equivalent and breakfast) outside the US, I would stay at other hotels that are less costly. It is one of the many reasons I almost always stay at Marriott when I can. Breakfast in Europe at a nice hotel typically runs 15-25 euros. If it's not free that means you're paying about $20 for a continental breakfast and $33 for a full breakfast. So it matters.
It is that expensive at the Marriott Rest., it is that much at most expensive places in Europe. I wished I had save the menu at the Marriott, but I think the prices kept me from keeping it. It is not that they are out of line with the market, but you are a whole lot better off with a CL for select times than trying to afford eating out, all the time.
Brace yourself for Switzerland! The dollar has really moved up against the Swiss Franc but it is an expensive country.
Many times I have been at a Marriott during the end of year and have found the Lounges to be closed every time. In some instances they gave me a free shoeshine (?), breakfast coupons and a coupon for one cocktail at the Lounge (whoopee!!!). But seems the closing is based on occupancy at a hotel--my guess is that it is a cost/benefit thing" what value does an open lounge have compared to the cost of having it staffed and filled with food and drink?
Sadly I do believe this is now "the norm", but that being said, I have always ask the clerk for some compensation! Usually they look at you like you grew another head, but when you ask for a Manager, then the tune changes and what he obviously discussed earlier (about Platinum Members compensation) with the desk staff comes out. 1) There will always be some sort of compensation, do not settle for less, and if necessary kindly offer to immediately contact Marriott Customer Service stating "So they can contact the Property General Manager concerning no compensation." 2) What to expect in place of Lounge privileges? Well any of the following has been offered to me or another associate I travel with: A) 1000 points per day or B)Breakfast coupons + 500 points per day for losing the evening lounge. C) Breakfast coupons + Evening free appetizer of your choice and a free drink of your choice. I have had some Hotels say offer "breakfast coupons and 1 drink or appetizer", I kindly "refuse to accept this as acceptable alternative" and you must use those words. Then counter offer with what you think it is worth (maybe you don't want a drink maybe you want a desert??). So far this has been 100% effective on them changing their minds. Additionally when I book Hotels over a weekend, I call ahead and ask about breakfast on Sat, Sun and Monday, if they don't offer Platinum Members any compensation, then I don't stay period!
If I can't find a Marriott Hotel offering this, I have actually stayed at an Embassy Suites, for those days. Granted I not happy with switching my loyalty for the weekend, but if Hilton will compensate me with a breakfast, then so be it!
Concierge Lounge here at Marriott San Ramon (SF Bay area) closed all week for the holidays. Wife if Platinum and I'm Gold. We got one coupon for soft drink and appetizer on arrival and coupon for one continental breakfast in the morning. The lounge here is quite beautiful; it's a shame we cannot access it. We could have stayed at the nearby Courtyard for significantly less money.
Now that seems entirely unsatisfactory. I suppose I understand the reason for the closure (whether I agree with it or not), but the fairly lame attempts at compensation for Elites are more insulting than anything else. As you noted, you could stay at a CY and deal with the breakfast and the rest on your own and still save money. Although not rising quite to the level of a bait & switch, it nonetheless is a fairly poor demonstration of their appreciation of your continued patronage. After all, if one is reducing services because of insufficient business, why would you then intentionally drive away what business you have? It's like an airline saying that since we don't have enough paying customers for First Class, we're closing the cabin entirely.
Good points JK. Any chain that isn't 100% corporate owned and operated runs into trouble with consistency. That's where the "at participating fill in the blank" comes in. Wether it's a franchise operator thumbing their nose at corporate or a "savvy" GM somewhere thinking they can get away with it... bad business is bad business. What these rock heads fail to understand is one of the basics that successfully sustainable businesses never forget. YOUR first loss is your CHEAPEST. If in fact, the GM looks at compensation as a money loser, he/she forgets that if you screw me once, I may not come back. The few dollars it takes to keep me happy will certainly be less than the thousands that leave with me never to be spent in your establishment again.
Provide the few dollars of compensation, ie. breakfast, a few points, a couple of beverages, and I will come back. Even though disappointed, most people can understand when issues develop. Most appreciate an honest attempt to make things right.