Monday, 3 December 2012

Unreliable Marriott – book at your risk

It should have been a great birthday - a suite with a large room in the stadium hotel at The Marriott in Twickenham - to celebrate a 50th Birthday AND see England beat The All Blacks. The room was booked with the Marriott online service, with a no refund policy, supposedly giving both parties a guarantee of contract.

So imagine the disappointment on Friday evening, after a very long week at work, to arrive at the Marriott and to be given the wrong room! Surely a mistake??

A phone call to the "supervisor" on call at the hotel yielded "Oh Yes, I can see your booking. I don't know how that happened but the room you booked now has someone in it so there is nothing I can do!"

A frank discussion resulted in the supervisor saying he would reduce the price of the room - but as I pointed out, it would have been about that price if I had booked the smaller room in any case - hence there was no "gift" at all!

He also promised drinks to be sent up for free as an apology - no drinks arrived all weekend.

You may think this is whinging at that "sometimes things happen". But this is the second time this year. So why did I give Marriott a second chance?

In March, I arranged to rake my daughter to watch England as a special treat. I booked the room months ahead, paid for it up front with a no-refund policy, guaranteeing the room.
Forty-eight hours before-hand I was informed at 6pm at night (presumably to prevent a call back) that I was being downgraded to a double room!

After several terse communications, during which I pointed out that I was not going to be sharing a double room with my 19 year old daughter and after having to complain to the RFU itself, the room was re-instated with very bad grace. Four beers and a plate of old sandwiches was sent on that occasion as a "sorry" - no refund of course - but a lot of very nice words reassuring me that the same would never happen again.

Unfortunately I trusted the Marriott - and was let down this second time - the birthday weekend being ruined.

Of course I do not intend to stay at the Marriott again - my rugby at Twickenham will continue but I will not be putting money into the hands of a company that cannot keep to a contract and cannot look after its guests.

I am sure that being associated with the RFU and stadium, they will never be short of people willing to pay for rooms for the rugby and so my own small protest and withdrawal of custom will not make a difference.

However, if you are one of those booking your event with Marriott and, like me, you get let down with little or no warning, then you will not be the first.

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