Pardon the rough draft writing, since now have less than 24 hours to do at least 36 hours of productive work. I have to make this fast.
There are just some things you expect when you stay at a decent hotel: A clean room, hot water, amicable staff, and a parking spot.. Sadly almost none of those were right during my stay at Marriott LAX..
So every year my team at www.ani.me covers Anime Los Angeles, which is held at the LAX Marriott hotel. Every year the convention is held there and hotel has always been aware of that. This year we had 3 rooms, 2 under the convention group rate block and 1 room (mine) under a standard AAA rate. I had to manage my team coverage and panel at the convention but I also had a bunch of consulting work to do for a 4pm deadline on Monday. I figured by getting an extra room for myself, I could save drive time and get both coverage/panel work and consulting work done. The premise was that the cost of the extra hotel room was worth the hours of productive work.
Let me also say that I’ve stayed in a hotel nearly 100 nights in the past year alone and this was the most frustrating hotel stay I can remember. This is also the only hotel issue I’ve ever blogged about. To the credit of the few staff that did help, the issues were eventually solved but only after I proactively took initiative and only after adamant resistance each time.
Here’s what happened:
- Checked in late night Thursday January 5th: no problems.
- Woke up in middle of the night and got out of bed to step on a soaked carpet. Was too tired to care, washed feet, went back to bed.
Woke up, and noticed the floor was significantly more wet, called guest services, told them they had a possible under floor leak. They sent an engineer who told me a 5th floor pipe had leaked and they were working on it. Offered to bring in air movers to dry out the carpet.. and that housekeeping could towel carpet.. I said I have bad allergies and mold is a real issue, or worse if it was a sewage pipe issue. I also noticed the entire wall was soaked and deformed and needing to be torn out. Engineer agreed but said he couldn’t work on it while I was in the room.. I wasn’t staying in a torn up room or leaky room. He said to talk to front desk. Called Front Desk, and no new room but they offered to send housekeeping.. which wasn’t a solution. I went to the front desk in person and told the person there that the Engineer needed to tear open the wall and as such, he sent me to be moved to a new room.
Got moved to a new room, Pepe the bellhop helped me move and upon walking into new room, we both reacted to a heavy smoke smell, which eventually made my eyes itch. I made a comment about it and Pepe agreed that the room was pretty bad. He called the Front Desk from the room to try to get me moved again, but no response, so he left and went in person to get me to a different room. Came back 15 minutes later saying he wasn’t able to get me moved but they told him housekeeping would come spray the room. He suggested that I talk to a manager. I thanked him for his help, tipped him well for his effort and walked to the Front Desk again. Found an assistant manager Michael who recognized the issue, and moved me to another room with a small upgrade. Thanked Michael and finally moved into a non-smoky non-soaked room.
Morning = wasted all work time
Went to Front Desk again to check into other 2 rooms that I was paying for for my staff. Asked to add my staff names to room, and was told they could only add their names to request keys. Right after, when I finally get to sit down to start working, I get a call from my staff saying self parking was full and valet won’t let them park because the room is not in their name therefore they “are NOT a hotel guest” and cannot park.. Even though they are the ones actually staying in the other 2 rooms. I have to stop, walk out and deal with that in person. More wasted time. Also this happened separately to 2 other members of my staff, and all 3 times the attendants were rude. A 4th staff member had to park blocks away on the street. I don’t understand how with 3 rooms, why 5 people aren’t considered guests because the room is paid in my name.
Wake up to no hot water. Take a cold shower after hearing there is no estimated time to repair and I have a panel to host.
Ask for 30 to 60 minute late checkout for next day so I can get some work done before meeting and was told it was impossible. (Fair enough.)
4am-ish power goes out for a few and resets my devices..
Wake up, shower, pack all my stuff up, call bellhop to make regular checkout time.. and wait for OVER AN HOUR for bellhop to come. Bellhop gets to room and sees my 7 bags and 3 boxes (smaller boxes) of gear and am told they arbitrarily CANNOT ACCEPT THE BOXES FOR CHECK IN. Only the bags. I obviously can’t carry all the boxes myself, and can’t stay in room, so bellhop offers to take all my bags and boxes down to the lobby where I can “sit with it”. Um, no, I need the hotel to hold it so I can go work, meet with my team and continue coverage of the last day of the convention. Thankfully on the way to the lobby, I bump into Pepe who asked how things are and he solved the problem by allowing me to check in my small boxes.
3:30pm I go to get car from valet, and wait nearly 45 minutes, after giving ticket, with another bellhop (Slovakian guy), After waiting, the Slovakian bellhop is wondering where my car is, and so he goes to look into it, and comes out with my car keys, still in the booth. No one had gone to get it. Mind you, every person in front of me had left already. I thank him and tip him well and finally leave the hotel.
Here’s why I’m frustrated
Each time there was an issue, the hotel’s strong first response was never a solution. You can’t use air blowers to dry out a continuous leak. Neither does spraying a ton of air freshener make smokiness do away. It makes it smell nasty and more irritating. Also each time, it often took hours and pushing or luck to reach a solution. Which meant I was screwed out of work time, which was the whole reason I was paying for the hotel. I also had drastically less time to do my job at the convention itself.
Even worse, I felt that I only even got a response (though never a solution) because they saw my room was NOT a convention rate room. Often they would apologize for the convention crowd to me, as if that was some excuse or justification or something that needed apologizing for. They were much less helpful when I called for other things from the convention rate rooms of my staff.
All in all, I ended up wasting at least 6+ hours waiting or arguing with the hotel to convince them to solve problems that shouldn’t have even been questioned. Dealing with the hotel meant my team got much less covered and each time the hotel tried to get away with not solving the issue. If it weren’t for Pepe, Michael or the Slovakian Bellhop, or my not accepting their fake “fixes”, it would have been worse. Also, every one of my staff that drove up had to deal with rude parking attendants and issues with them being considered “guests” of the hotel.
In summary, worst hotel experience, with issues EVERY day and an adamant initial pushback to solve the issues. I will not be staying at a Marriott again, and will do whatever is possible to make sure none of my staff do either.
30 minutes of more wasted time writing this. Now I have to get back to not sleeping tonight to get all my work done..
To the credit of the @MarriottIntl social media team, they saw my tweets and promised to look into the experience. On a Sunday no less.I wonder what they will find/do/say.
Also, my staffer (who was in a convention block room), upon reading this, said that Pepe was the only bellhop who came to accomodate his bags, after calling 4 times and being told there would be someone coming in 5 minutes. On the last call, upon saying he called 4 times and was told 5 minutes each time, he was rudely told that he “would need to wait” because “all you guys” are checking out right now. All he needed to know on call #1 was an accurate time. Seriously Pepe needs to get a raise.
What I don’t get is why it was so bad this year? Last year, the staff was much more accommodating AND CONSIDERATE to the convention attendees.