Monday, May 04, 2009

Nice room but lousy service!

I was in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah last week to attend two meetings, and while there, I stayed at Imperial International Hotel which was recommended by a friend. The location is great as it is located right smack in the middle of town, and is attached to a shopping complex. It is great if you are traveling alone, as you can get to almost anywhere around town on foot.

Upon arrival at the hotel, you could almost miss it as the entrance to the hotel isn’t that welcoming because it has no porch. You have to side park your car, and you have to be really careful when alighting from your car as the traffic is quite heavy.

Going by the décor in the hotel lobby and the lifts, you’d say that the hotel is pretty old. But, you’d be surprise once you get off the lift to go to your room as the carpeting on the floor leading to the rooms look very much like it was just replaced quite recently. The corridors are wide and well lit.

The biggest surprise comes when you open the door to your room to find quite a very nice and tastefully decorated room. The décor almost jumps out at you! The most unusual being the bright red chair!

Unfortunately, I did not get a chance to sit on the unusual red chair as I spent most of my time outside of the room throughout my two day stay there.

It would have been a very pleasant stay at the hotel because of its location and the nicely decorated room if not for the lousy service.

When I made the reservations for 5 rooms a week prior to my trip, I requested for the RM160.00 + RM15.00 (for breakfast) rooms and was told that the rooms were all available on the said date. My staff called the hotel 3 days later to book 3 more rooms and was told that the RM160.00 rooms are no longer available for these 3 rooms, but that only the RM175.00 (not including breakfast) rooms are available on the said date. All the rooms were reserved under my name using my credit card to confirm the bookings.

The first sign of problem arise when I got a call from the hotel asking me to reconfirm my booking 4 days prior to the said date. I was told that if there is a no-show of any of the rooms, I will be surcharged. She gave me up to 72 hours to confirm my booking. That’s 3 days prior to my travel date!

That’s crazy because most hotels that I have stayed in (I have stayed in many hotels due to my work) will give me up to 24 hours to confirm booking, upon which, only then will a surcharged be made to my card.

Since I will be taking up 8 rooms, I asked for some consideration from the hotel not to surcharge me if only ONE out of the EIGHT rooms that is not being taken up, as anything could happen within the 72 hours. She refused even after much negotiation. It was only finally resolved when I called up the friend who recommended me the hotel who in turn, called up the Manager who happens to be his friend.

On the said date, I arrived with 3 colleagues while the rest arrived via a later flight. I checked in with not much of a problem, and I informed the front desk that the billings for the hotel rooms shall be made in the name of the individual person who will be occupying the rooms even though the bookings were all made under my name.

Easy peasy instructions, right? Not really. I will tell you later what happens upon our checking out, but first, let me tell you about the second lousy service I encountered at the hotel.

As I was about to go out for dinner, I dropped by the front desk to inform the person in charge that I would like to extend the check out time on my room as my flight back to KL would only be at 7.30pm.

I asked how much the hotel will be charging me for a half day use of the room. That was when I found out that the person on duty earlier had given me a room that was RM175.00 (not including breakfast) and not the RM160.00 like what I had requested when I made my booking the first time around.

The only difference between the two rooms was that the more expensive one had a view. It did not matter to me about the view as I wouldn’t have time to look out of the window anyway, and when I asked her why was I given a more expensive room when I had already made booking for the cheaper room; she gave me the excuse that the room was not yet ready upon my arrival.

I accepted that reasoning but I was not happy that the person who checked me in earlier never even informed me that he was going to give me the more expensive room. It wasn’t about the money, but more of the principal behind it. He could have at least informed me that the rooms I had booked earlier was not available upon my checking in, and asked me if it was okay for him to give me the more expensive room, or would I like to wait until the rooms I had booked earlier are ready. I could have chosen to wait. It’s a matter of courtesy.

Most hotels would usually give me the more expensive room but charge me the same rate of the room that I had booked as they could not get the rooms ready in time. That’s what you call good sales service.

When I requested that they charge me according my booking, he said that it is not possible, but he will be more than happy to move me into the cheaper room, and when I refused as I had already unpacked and was already on the way to dinner, he said that he will help me to pack and unpack again. Uurrghhh!

Why was it so difficult for him to just charge me the rate that I wanted as it was the hotel’s mistake to have put me up in a room that I did not book, without even the courtesy to inform me about it!

I gave up arguing when he insisted that I move room if I still insist on being charge the cheaper rate. Reason number two for taking my business elsewhere the next time I come to KK. *sigh*

Remember I told you earlier that I had given instructions for the bills to be charged on individual names? Well, I thought the person at the front desk understood my instructions as he nodded like he did understand, but, when we checked out the next day, a couple of the rooms had my name on it, which would make it difficult for the person staying in the respective rooms to make claims later on for lodging. Reason number three for taking my business elsewhere.

In the morning, before going out for my meeting, I told the front desk that I would like my bills to be ready when I check out at 5.30pm as I have a flight to catch. Again he nodded as if understanding my instructions.

When I got to the front desk at 5.20pm, guess what? The bill was not yet ready. The queue was long as many were checking out at about the same time. I had to wait for at least 30 minutes before they finally got my bills ready, and they also had to redo the bills for some of my colleagues who had my name on their bills.

It was a mad dash to the airport as we got caught in the traffic of office people leaving for home. Uurrghh! I almost panicked in case we might miss our flight! Reason number four for taking my business elsewhere.

Upon checking out, I spoke to the Assistant Manager and told him of my complains and the bad service the hotel was providing. I told him that he’s better do something about it, or, this will be my first and last stay at the hotel, and certainly I won’t be recommending this hotel to any of my friends. He nodded and said that he will take it up with the management.

I wonder whether it really matters to them as I am just one person complaining, and they could have hundreds more coming in daily.

If there is any reason why I would want to stay again at that hotel is if only they improve their service, or they are the only hotel available during my next trip, or because of its location. But then again, if because of location, I think I might try for Le Meridien next, since the hotel is only next door to Imperial International Hotel.

1 comment:

ShannyK-L said...

I'm utterly shocked at the service! I'd have inform you if the room isn't ready, invite you to wait at our bar nearby and offer you a non-alcoholic drink (if you were to check in late or really early in the morning) while you wait. Well that is what I normally do when I was working at the front desk.... :p

I think what went wrong here was communication break down between staffs at the front desk. No proper hand down to the next shift is a BIG problem. I myself encountered such problems then; a guest even insulted me even though its not my own doing... haiz... life's like that. take it easy and stay at Le Meridien next time.