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Saturday, July 02, 2005

Hilton at Gatwick International Airport

There are many hotels in the Crawley West Sussex area that cater to business travelers. Having an international airport in the area is a prime reason.

Usually I have no issues with where my company puts me up when it comes to hotel accommodations. I usually have a pleasant trip with no major problems.

Usually.

My stay at the Hilton started off just like any other business stay. I check in, get my room key, give my credit card for incidentals, order a paper for early morning reading, and inquire about the breakfast policy. After being told how to get to my room and declining help with my bags from the concierge, I made my way to my room.

The first thing I noticed about the room was the temperature, the room was freezing.
I adjusted the temperature so the I could not see my breath anymore. The next thing I noticed about the room was that it was a typical room. Two twin beds, a TV, a desk and chair with a telephone, a little table with a chair and a night stand between the beds that held another telephone.

It was an ok room.

The first night was fine, even with the choice of only 6 English speaking channels. One which was CNN.

Coming in from work the second day, I decided to make a call to my friend in Luton, figuring if I was there then I could always hop a train so we could have a good sit down to discuss things. This of course did not happen. My friend attempted to call me 4 times but could not get out of the menu to connect with my room. This is why I called him. We talked for approximately 19 minutes and I hung up the phone.

That morning I had found the the shower head leaked and that the air conditioner always gets turned to the coldest settings....My general good will toward the hotel was slowly being eroded.

When I went out for dinner with colleagues and stayed out until about 10:30 pm, I came back to find I was locked out of my room. And yes I did have a key. I went down to reception and they recut the key. I thought cool, I can go to sleep. No such luck, the key still didn't work. Proceeded to go down to reception again and have the key recut. Again it was a no go. Third trip down, the woman recut my key and had one of the concierge staff come up with me, and HE tried the key. STILL no go. So he let me in with a master key and said they would have someone look at the door in the morning. And he left with my key. I did ask how I was to get into the room, and he informed me to go to reception to get a new key after work.

I was not having fun anymore.

I had spoken to the concierge desk one of the days to complain about the temperature in my room, they called housekeeping and said that the temperature would not be adjusted from what I placed it at to be comfortable...And it always was. That was very annoying. I do not like freezing cold rooms.

On a hunch, when I went to reception to see if I could be let back in my room, I asked for a current bill. I was shocked to find that I owed GBP68.00!! Seems the four phone calls I made were VERY expensive from the hotel room. The strangest thing was, that the calls out of the country cost less then the calls I made to my friend's cell phone. I asked the manager to explain why this happened and she said it was an operator call. I didn't call an operator to dial the phone, it was direct dial. Then she said the rates are different to a cell phone then to a landline and the rates are clearly stated on each phone. I told her there was no such rate card in my room and I was not aware of the outrageous charges that were billed.
She tried to say it was standard in the industry, but I pointed out that I stayed in a local hotel and when calling I never incurred these charges. She said I was lucky.

She offered me a GBP10 as compensation as a credit only. I was insulted and extremely annoyed and I had had about enough of this hotel, but still had a night to go.

I can honestly say that the concierge servers were great, the reception people were borderline, and the manager was annoyingly dismissive to put it mildly. All in all, I will put in a recommendation that my company not pay the ridiculous prices at a hotel that claims to be 4 stars but acts like a 2 star chain.

2 Comments:

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