Hotels that go out of their way to be awkward

Why is that? Why do some hotels with four or five stars and which should be falling over themselves to offer a good service get it so completely wrong?

Take the AC Carlton in Madrid, for example, which is part of the Marriott chain: What a complete lack of communication, common sense and interest.

“Just give us another wifi password making the customer happy and saving yourselves a lot of trouble and damage to your image – how hard can it be?”

This is where I stayed recently with Toni on our recent visit to Madrid. We booked the hotel through a third party agent at a very good price. We paid much less for much more. We got an excellent deal through Voyages Prive.

Everything about the hotel was great:

The room was spacious and comfortable with a very comfy bed, a nice shower and central heating.
The breakfast was excellent, especially the different selection of Spanish omelettes every day.
And the cleaning staff and restaurant staff were great.
The lounge area in the lobby was often busy and had a nice atmosphere doubling as a bar.

AC Hotel Carlton by Marriott

Everything that you could want regarding comfort, decoration, and amenities this hotel had it.

The location was not that central; it’s about a 20 minute walk to the Gran Via but the hotel is very close to the museum area and there are plenty of bars and cafes around there.

Advertised in the deal with Voyages Prive was bed and breakfast, upgraded room, free wifi in the room and a complimentary basket of fruit. We organised directly with Marriott Hotels through Twitter that we would have a double bed rather than two singles and they confirmed it to us.

Lack of Communication

When we arrived we were told that we were getting two singles. When we protested and explained that Marriott had already agreed to the double bed they changed us the room. This room was on a higher floor and the wifi up there was provided by an external company for which they would have to give us a password. The password could only be used for one device and we had four. So we needed four passwords. They said that we would have to share the password as they were not willing to give us another – not even one more, not even one each! Obviously this was unacceptable as we needed to work also. But the reception staff would not budge.

By this time there was a queue forming behind us so we left it and checked in. We contacted Marriott via Twitter again as they had been helpful before (although the hotel itself seemed to have no record of our double bed request) and asked them to intervene. All we wanted was another password for the wifi (there was a big pile of them behind the reception desk).

AC Hotel Carlton by Marriott

Rude hotel manager

The next day after breakfast we went to the reception and asked to speak to the manager.

The receptionist went into the office behind the reception and came back with a message from the manager. When we said something else she went back to the office and came back with another message.

The manager did not have the curtesy to come and speak to us even though we had specifically requested that he do so.

The receptionist told us (after one of her visits to the office where the manager was) that we had paid less for the room than the normal price and that was the reason they wouldn’t give us a password each for the wifi!

Is it really the customer’s problem how the hotel makes its money? All the customer wants is what is advertised.

Obviously after being told that because we’d got a good rate we didn’t exactly deserve the same treatment as other guests we were pretty outraged. We asked for an official complaining form, which they were more content to give us than a second wifi password.

AC Hotel Carlton by Marriott

Marriott steps in

Luckily, later that day Marriott got in touch with the hotel and apologised to us via Twitter, assuring us that when we returned to the hotel later we would have a password each. This was 24 hours after the initial problem. Absolutely unacceptable. However, we did get a different reception on our return; the attitude had changed completely and they couldn’t do enough for us.

And when we got back to the room, not only could we both use the internet but there was also a bowl of fruit waiting for us, which we had completely written off.

This started off as a little problem but due to such terrible customer service and irrational stubbornness it escalated and turned into a 24 hour battle.

Have you had to fight for your rights at a hotel? Let us know about it in the comments below.

Apart from this hiccup, we had a wonderful time in Madrid. Get some ideas here about what to do in Madrid…

The photos in this post are taken from AC Carlton by Marriott website.

Filed Under: featuredFive Star TravelmadridspainWhere I Am Right Now


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  1. Encarna says:

    Although I knew what happened to you via twitter I couldn’t imagine that t
    Kind of drama!!the worst of this experience is the rude manager…unacceptable!! And on top of that it is not your problem if you guys paid less…the hotel has to give the same service to all its guests!
    Kisses Lisa

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